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Headword: Epi xurou
Adler number: epsilon,2498
Translated headword: on a razor
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] on the verge of danger,[1] at the very climax of the matter.[2]
"He was obviously vexed at the prediction, and the danger he was in was on a razor's edge, as the saying goes; the sailors and all the passengers were obviously not going to put up with delay on his part."[3] And elsewhere: "his power was on a razor's edge."[4]
Greek Original:
Epi xurou: epi kindunou, en autêi têi tou pragmatos epitasei. ho de perialgôn epi têi prorrêsei ên dêlos, epi xurou te akmês, to legomenon, ho toutou kindunos ôn, hoi te nautai kai hosoi perineoi ouk anexomenoi tês toutou mellêseôs dêloi êsan. kai authis: kai autou to kratos epi xurou akmês ên.
The illustrative quotations provided in this entry actually illustrate a slightly different figure of speech: e)pi\ curou= a)kmh=s ('on a razor's edge'), which was made popular by its appearance in Homer, Iliad 10.173 (web address 1), a passage cited by the Etymologicum Magnum in its entry on e)pi\ curou= (see n. 2 below). See also xi 162.
[1] This gloss is shared by Hesychius epsilon5023, which diverges from the current entry in other respects.
[2] Up to this point the entry = Synagoge epsilon711 (Lexica Segueriana 231.5), and the beginning of the entry at Etymologicum Magnum 362.24-25 (cf. Etymologicum Genuinum alpha337 and Etym.Magn. 49.14-5).
[3] Aelian fr.84 Hercher, 87b Domingo-Forasté. Both editors collate this passage with other quotations from the Suda referring to trouble at sea: epsilon 1720, sigma 637, epsilon 3230, pi 1204, epsilon 3230.
[4] Aelian fr.129 Hercher, 132 Domingo-Forasté. Both editors follow a variant reading in this quotation: au)to/ for au)tou=, yielding the sense "the power [or government] itself was on a razor's edge." Adler does not report this variant in her apparatus.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; daily life; definition; epic; imagery; politics; proverbs; religion; science and technology; trade and manufacture
Translated by: William Hutton on 27 November 2007@05:41:59.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (another x-ref; more keywords; cosmetics) on 27 November 2007@06:13:02.
David Whitehead on 16 October 2012@09:54:44.
William Hutton (corrected reference in note 2) on 30 August 2013@15:59:00.


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