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Headword: Φλᾶν
Adler number: phi,518
Translated headword: to crush
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] to bruise, to beat.[1]
"[...] to crush its own [sc. the wild beast's] most hostile head."[2]
Aristophanes [writes]: "friends are so irksome, those that appear on the spot whenever one fares well: for they nudge you and beat your shins, each one making a case for some favor."[3] Also, "won't you go and be hanged?"[4]
Greek Original:
Φλᾶν: θλᾶν, τύπτειν. φλᾶν τὴν ἑαυτοῦ δυσμενεστάτην κάραν. Ἀριστοφάνης: ὡς χαλεπόν εἰσιν οἱ φίλοι, οἱ φαινόμενοι παραχρῆμ' ὅτ' ἂν πράττῃ τις εὖ: νύττουσι γὰρ καὶ φλῶσι τἀντικνήμια, ἐνδεικνύμενος ἕκαστος εὔνοιάν τινα. καί, οὐκ ἐς κόρακας ἐρρήσετε;
The headword, illustrated by the first quotation given, is the present active infinitive of the contract verb φλάω , I crush; see generally LSJ s.v.
[1] The glosses, from the verbs θλάω and τύπτω , respectively, are both present active infinitives; see LSJ s.vv. The headword is identically glossed in Photius' Lexicon (phi216 Theodoridis); cf. Etymologicum Gudianum phi551.59, Etymologicum Magnum 795.35 (Kallierges), and De Stefani, p. 66. (Different glossing in Hesychius phi267 s.v.)
[2] From the iambic canon on Epiphany (Nauck 2.25, p. 112) attributed to Saint John of Damascus (c.676-750; Louth, p. 5). The gruesome metaphor employed, crushing the head of a wild beast, is imagery for overcoming temptation and evil.
[3] Aristophanes, Plutus [Wealth] 782-5 (web address 1): soon after the whole world's distribution of wealth has been reversed, Chremylus delivers this gripe about his poor farmer friends comprising the chorus. [In her critical apparatus Adler reports that ms F omits the Aristophanic extracts from the entry; that mss AV omit γὰρ (for), they nudge you; that ms A reads φιλῶσι , which is probably an error; and that the last participial phrase here and then the rest of the entry is omitted by ms G.]
[4] Aristophanes, Peace 500 (web address 2): Hermes issues this imprecation (literally, go to the crows) to the men of Megara. [Adler reports that some of the manuscripts struggled with the second person plural, future indicative ἐρρήσετε (you will be gone (slowly, to your peril)); that ms A reads ἐρήσετε (which is otherwise unattested) and places αι above the final epsilon to suggest the emendation ἐρήσεται , he/she/it will inquire; and that here ms V transmits εὑρήσεται , he/she/it will discover.]
E.L. De Stefani, "Per le fonti dell' Etimologico Gudiano," Byzantinische Zeitschrift, vol. 16, 1907, pp. 52-68
A. Nauck, 'Iohannis Damasceni Canones iambici cum commentario et indice verborum ex schedis Augusti Nauck editi,' Bulletin de l'Académie impériale des sciences de St.-Pétersbourg, Nouvelle Série IV, 1894, pp. 105-129
A. Louth, St John Damascene: Tradition and Originality in Byzantine Theology, New York: Oxford University Press, 2002
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: agriculture; Christianity; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; ethics; imagery; meter and music; poetry; religion; zoology
Translated by: Ronald Allen on 3 March 2012@02:29:47.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (upgraded links, set status) on 3 March 2012@17:26:04.
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 4 March 2012@04:20:47.
Catharine Roth (tweaked note 4) on 4 March 2012@11:33:18.
David Whitehead on 13 December 2013@03:52:12.
David Whitehead (coding) on 31 May 2016@05:36:40.


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