(Greek, a-ornis, “without a bird”). A lake in Campania,
so called from the belief that its sulphurous and mephitic vapours
killed any bird that happened to inhale them. Poets call it the
entrance to the infernal regions; hence the proverb, The descent to
Avernus is easy, but coming back again is quite another matter,
meaning that all bad habits are easily acquired, but very hard to be
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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