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Headword: *knw/dontos
Adler number: kappa,1882
Translated headword: of a spear's tooth, of a sword
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] of the point of a sword, of the [part] sharp for slaying [kai/nein].[1] From the part [i.e. by synecdoche][2] it means a sword. "How will I draw off this bitter sword, o pitiable [one], the killer through which you left your last breath?"[3]
Greek Original:
*knw/dontos: th=s a)kmh=s tou= ci/fous, th=s o)cei/as ei)s to\ kai/nein. a)po\ de\ tou= me/rous to\ ci/fos dhloi=. pw=s a)pospa/sw pikrou= tou=de knw/dontos, w)= ta/las, u(f' ou(= fone/ws a)/r' e)ce/pneusas;
An approximation of Sophocles, Ajax 1024-1026 (from which the present headword, in the genitive case, is extracted: see web address 1), with scholion.
[1] Literally, knw/dontes are the teeth of a hunting spear, which were generalised to refer to swords. The ending is o)/dwn "tooth"; LSJ s.v. knw/dwn explains the initial kn- by referring to Lithuanian kándu "bite". The Sophoclean scholion (to line 1025) continues "sharp in slaying like a tooth; for it is being compared to sharp teeth".
[2] The scholiast and the Suda realise that the word is related to "tooth", which is why the Suda correctly posits synecdoche ("from the part"): naming the whole (sword) from a part (point of sword). The scholiast, more literally, has "from the point" (i.e. the synecdoche is from the point of the sword to the whole sword).
[3] The original has "how will I draw you[r corpse] off from this bitter gleaming sword[point]"?
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; imagery; military affairs; science and technology; trade and manufacture; tragedy
Translated by: Nick Nicholas on 21 December 2008@19:49:52.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 22 December 2008@04:22:51.
David Whitehead on 5 March 2013@07:14:58.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 9 March 2013@00:08:30.
Catharine Roth (tweaked translation and note, added a link) on 30 September 2019@15:42:40.


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