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Headword: Βαβαί
Adler number: beta,5
Translated headword: babai!
Vetting Status: high
Translation:
An expression of surprise.
Greek Original:
Βαβαί: θαυμαστικὴ φωνή.
Notes:
= Synagoge beta1; Photius, Lexicon beta3, Hesychius beta102. Adler also cites Lexicon Ambrosianum 239 as a comparandum.
For this exclamation of astonishment or anger (the sort of word that grammarians refer to with the term σχετλιαστικόν ) see also beta 6; epsilon 2807 with notes 12 and 18 on Aristophanes, Acharnians 64 and Peace 248. For other uses of the term cf. mu 1419, tau 598, and, for the similar exclamation παπαῖ , pi 259. See Labiano Ilundain 2000 (below): 105-119.
In classical Greek it is generally used for comic or ironic effect, expressing amazement at, for instance, the luxury of Persian dress or at the odor of Megarian garlic. In late/Byzantine Greek, however, it is employed copiously to express genuine amazement or indignation. LSJ entry at web address 1.
Reference:
Labiano Ilundain, J. M. 2000. Estudios de las interjecciones en las comedias de Aristófanes. Amsterdam
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; poetry
Translated by: Anne Mahoney on 6 September 1998@18:45:06.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (added link and keywords) on 26 June 2001@23:17:22.
Robert Dyer (added references to Aristophanes and cross references) on 11 April 2002@16:57:56.
William Hutton (augmented and modified notes, added keywords, cosmetics, set status) on 14 February 2008@05:43:13.
David Whitehead (another x-ref; cosmetics) on 14 February 2008@08:08:55.
William Hutton (added bibliography) on 19 February 2008@10:12:38.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 18 May 2012@03:50:05.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 13 January 2015@23:30:18.

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