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Headword: *nei=n
Adler number: nu,290
Translated headword: to swim
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] to dive/swim,[1] and to spin a thread.[2]
Arrian [writes]: "all those who were the lightest, and armed the lightest, and were the most adept at swimming, he ordered to start swimming on his signal."[3]
And elsewhere: "just as birds have been born to fly, and fish to swim, and deer to run, so they have no need of instruction."[4]
And Hesiod used nei=n, meaning to spin, in the [phrase] "and there a high-soaring spider spins threads". Some wrote "spins [nei=] threads" with an eta [nh=], as if it is truncated out of nh/qei ["he spins"]. But in this regard, analogy knows [the conjugated] nw=, nei=s, nei= [to be] original; hence nh/qw [is] a derived form; [as with] knw=, knh/qw ["scratch"], sw=, sh/qw ["sift"].[5]
Greek Original:
*nei=n: kolumba=n, kai\ to\ nh/qein kro/khn. *)arriano/s: o(/soi koufo/tatoi kai\ koufo/tata w(plisme/noi kai\ tou= nei=n dahmone/statoi, tou/tous e)knh/casqai keleu/ei a)po\ sunqh/matos. kai\ au)=qis: w(/sper ga\r oi( o)/rniqes i(/ptasqai kai\ nei=n i)xqu/es ai(/ te e)/lafoi qei=n, e)pei\ pefu/kasin, ou)de\n tou= didaxqh=nai prosde/ontai. tou= de\ nei=n, h)/toi nh/qein, xrh=sis par' *(hsio/dw| e)n tw=|, th=| ga/r toi nei= nh/mat' a)ersipo/thtos a)ra/xnhs. tine\s de\ to\ nei= nh/mata dia\ tou= h e)/grayan, w(s a)pokope\n e)k tou= nh/qei. plh\n kai\ ou(/tws h( a)nalogi/a to\ nw=, nei=s, nei= oi)=de prwto/tupon: e)c ou(= para/gwgon to\ nh/qw: to\ knw=, knh/qw, sw=, sh/qw.
[1] LSJ s.v. ne/w A; and see also nu 272, nu 292.
[2] LSJ s.v. ne/w B.
[3] Arrian, Indica 24.5.
[4] Julian, To Heraclius the Cynic 2 (Or.7, 206A).
[5] Hesiod, Works and Days 777 (web address 1). The speculation is not otherwise recorded. *nh/qw is indeed formed from ne/w as suggested. Philoxenos of Alexandria (first century BCE, see phi 394) promulgated a theory that the Greek vocabulary was derived from a core of monosyllabic verbs; see Dickey, 3.1.10 (p. 85), and cf. epsilon 1031.
Eleanor Dickey, Ancient Greek Scholarship: A Guide to Finding, Reading, and Understanding Scholia, Commentaries, Lexica, and Grammatical Treatises, from Their Beginnings to the Byzantine Period. American Philological Association Classical Resource Series. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; historiography; history; military affairs; poetry; trade and manufacture; zoology
Translated by: Nick Nicholas on 23 September 2009@06:52:23.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 23 September 2009@08:31:22.
Catharine Roth (expanded note, tweaked link) on 25 September 2009@01:19:53.
David Whitehead on 7 June 2013@07:08:52.
Catharine Roth (tweaked link) on 9 June 2013@00:36:19.
Catharine Roth (cross-reference) on 18 December 2013@01:18:45.


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