Said to be derived from the Greek antimonachos (bad for
monks). The tale is that Valentine once gave some of this mineral to
his convent pigs, who thrived upon it, and became very fat. He next
tried it on the monks, who died from its effects; so Valentine said,
“tho' good for pigs, it was bad for monks.” This fable is given by
Another derivation is anti-monos, (averse to being alone),
because it is found in combination with sulphur, silver, or some other
Littré suggests isthimmit, and connects it with stibium.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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