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Headword: *sifnia/zein
Adler number: sigma,510
Translated headword: to Siphnianize
Vetting Status: high
[sc. A verb used] in reference to those bringing their hands to their bottoms; just as "to Lesbianize" is said of those acting transgressively in sexual matters.
To Siphnianize and to Lesbianize [sc. are verbs formed] from the [name of the] island[s] Siphnos [and Lesbos], like "to Cretize" from Crete. And the [word] "Siphnian" [is] a guarantee of the same kind; for "to Siphnianize" [is] to touch the anus with a finger, while "to Lesbianize" [is] to act transgressively with one's mouth.
Greek Original:
*sifnia/zein: e)pi\ tw=n ta\s xei=ras prosago/ntwn toi=s i)sxi/ois: w(/sper *lesbia/zein e)pi\ tw=n paranomou/ntwn e)n toi=s a)frodisi/ois. *sifnia/zein kai\ *lesbia/zein, a)po\ th=s nh/sou *si/fnou, w(s kai\ to\ *krhti/zein. kai\ to\ *si/fnios de\ a)rrabw\n o(moi/ws: *sifnia/zein ga\r to\ a(/ptesqai th=s pugh=s daktu/lw|, *lesbia/zein de\ to\ tw=| sto/mati paranomei=n.
The headword verb occurs in fragments of Attic comedy: Comica adespota fr. 1142 Kock, now 942 K.-A. "The term...meant actually to poke [someone in the anus] with the finger; the purpose was the same as that of the gesture discussed...above" (J. Henderson, The Maculate Muse (New Haven 1975) 213) -- that is, "holding up the middle finger meant, as it still does, that the recipient of the gesture was a pathic".
The second paragraph here is also in Photius; and cf. Appendix Proverbiorum 4.73.
For Siphnos see also sigma 511.
Keywords: comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; gender and sexuality; geography; proverbs
Translated by: Ross Scaife ✝ on 11 May 1999@11:51:00.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified translation; added note and keyword) on 30 March 2001@09:56:44.
Catharine Roth (added italics) on 23 April 2006@19:59:42.
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 4 May 2011@07:28:20.
David Whitehead on 18 August 2011@06:13:01.
David Whitehead on 29 December 2013@06:21:56.
David Whitehead on 29 December 2014@03:35:08.
David Whitehead on 26 May 2016@03:44:51.


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