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Headword: *)epismh=|
Adler number: epsilon,2592
Translated headword: besmears
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning he/she/it] wipes on, scrapes on. But 'to smear' is to scrape off dirt. Some [say that it used] metaphorically from the [verb] to smear, that is to rub on, since smearing is an energetic sort of rubbing. And [that] perhaps the word bruise arose from this.[1] But others [say that] the expression is idiosyncratically recherché and that is is not to rub on, but to hit; to pound [is] to lambaste.[2] It is [also] abuse: from [the notion of] laying hold of the things being smeared.[3] Aristophanes [writes]: "for what evils does this man not besmear us with?"[4]
Greek Original:
*)epismh=|: e)pixri/ei, e)picu/ei. smh=cai de/ e)sti to\ to\n r(u/pon a)pocu/sai. oi( de\ metaforikw=s a)po\ tou= smh/xein, oi(=on e)pitri/bein, sfodra\n ga/r tina tri/yin kai\ th\n smh=cin ei)=nai. ta/xa de\ kai\ th\n smw/digga ei)rh=sqai a)po\ tou/tou. oi( de\ e)c e)/qous glwsshmatikh\n ei)=nai th\n le/cin kai\ mh\ ei)=nai e)pitri/bein, a)lla\ tu/ptein: skw/ptein to\ smw/xein. e)/sti de\ loidori/a: a)po\ tou= kaqa/ptesqai tw=n smwme/nwn. *)aristofa/nhs: ti/ ga\r ou(=tos h(ma=s ou)k e)pismh=| tw=n kakw=n.
This entry is derived from the scholia to a passage of Aristophanes (see note 4 below). Hesychius epsilon5195 bears numerous points of similarity.
See also rho 324, sigma 736, sigma 747.
[1] The thought seems to be that smearing smh=cis, qua 'energetic rubbing' could cause a bruise, a fact reflected in the similarity of the beginning of the word for bruise smw=dic; thus 'smearing' can be used metaphorically for 'bruising' or 'injuring'. Hesychius epsilon5195 also makes the connection between 'smearing' and 'bruise' and 'pound' (see next note).
[2] Again, the initial sm- at the beginning of the word for 'pound' (smw/xein) seems to be the point of departure for this thought. In the scholia this is ascribed to Diodoros, but the connection between smh/xw, smw/xein and smw=dic is posited elsewere in the grammatical literature (e.g. Etmologicum Magnum 721.20-28).
[3] Because the things being smeared are made of some objectionable substance which it would offend or injure the person smeared to be in contact with? Possibly it should be translated "attacking the people being smeared" or, just conceivably, "the tendency of the things being smeared to stick". The wording is quite ambiguous.
[4] Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae 389; "this man" is Euripides. See web address 1.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: biography; comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; gender and sexuality; imagery; poetry; tragedy; women
Translated by: William Hutton on 4 December 2007@07:25:38.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (another keyword; x-refs; tweaks and cosmetics) on 4 December 2007@09:36:24.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 18 October 2012@06:03:09.
David Whitehead (another x-ref) on 27 January 2014@07:36:37.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticule) on 14 October 2017@23:21:03.


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