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Headword: Ἐσπάθα
Adler number: epsilon,3176
Translated headword: was using the spade
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning he/she/it] was wasting, and was devouring. Because of this he said [that she] was not idle.[1] [The term] 'to use the spade' [means] to spend unstintingly and is an expression in the orators. But in the present case[2] he used the word suitably. For in reference to woven garments we say that 'to use the spade' is to pack in the woof energetically so that it bunches up and, while using up a lot of woof, makes the textile turn out stronger. Thus 'to use the spade' is capable of both connotations. But that in the present case it has been applied to excess spending[3] is clear from the sequel: "myself, I would show her this cloak, as a pretext, and say 'wife, you certainly do use the spade.'"[4]
Greek Original:
Ἐσπάθα: κατανήλισκε, καὶ κατήσθιε. διὰ τοῦτο εἶπεν οὐκ ἀργὸς ἦν. σπαθᾶν δὲ τὸ ἀφειδῶς ἀναλίσκειν καὶ παρὰ τοῖς ῥήτορσιν εἴρηται. οἰκείως δὲ νῦν τῇ λέξει ἐχρήσατο. καὶ γὰρ ἐπὶ τῶν ὑφαινομένων ἱματίων λέγομεν σπαθᾶν τὸ ἄγαν κρούειν τὴν κρόκην, ὥστε προσκαθίζειν καὶ πολλὴν μὲν ἀναλίσκειν κρόκην, ἰσχυροτέραν δὲ ἀπεργάζεσθαι τὴν ὑφήν. δύναται οὖν τὸ σπαθᾶν ἐπ' ἀμφοτέρων νοεῖσθαι. ὅτι δὲ νῦν ἐπὶ τῷ πολλὰ δαπανᾶν παρείληπται, δῆλον ἐκ τοῦ ἐπιφερομένου: ἐγὼ δ' ἂν αὐτῇ θοιμάτιον δεικνὺς τοδί, πρόφασιν, ἔφασκον, ὦ γύναι, λίαν σπαθᾷς.
See also epsilon 3177, epsilon 3178.
[1] In Aristophanes, Clouds 53 (web address 1), where the headword occurs in the figurative sense "was being wasteful". The entry derives from the scholia to this passage; cf. sigma 898.
[2] That is, in the quotation which follows (see next note).
[3] A confusing statement that seems to contradict what has just been said. The point is that the use of the term in the quotation that follows is a pun: it has both the literal meaning and the figurative one.
[4] Aristophanes, Clouds 54-55 (web address 1).
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: clothing; comedy; daily life; definition; economics; gender and sexuality; imagery; poetry; rhetoric; science and technology; trade and manufacture; women
Translated by: William Hutton on 23 January 2008@03:43:24.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (another keyword; cosmetics) on 23 January 2008@04:17:34.
David Whitehead (more x-refs; tweaking) on 31 October 2012@08:27:38.
Catharine Roth (upgraded link) on 4 November 2012@23:43:22.
Catharine Roth (tweaked link) on 30 December 2017@01:21:47.


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