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Headword: Νόστος
Adler number: nu,501
Translated headword: homecoming
Vetting Status: high
In common use [meaning] "sweetening," in reference to foods.[1] As if from the return and coming back to one's home; from the sweetness of the homeland. For nothing is sweeter than one's fatherland, according to Homer.[2] But from νόστος in the customary usage comes νόστιμον "pleasant,"[3] and Eunostos, a certain god, they say, of milling. But the poetic νόστος comes from the [verb] νέω : as, "Now since I shall indeed not go home [...]." That is, I do not return.[4] There is also a verb νοστῶ , from which come compounds παλινοστῶ ["I return"] and ἀπονοστῶ ["I come home"].[5]
Greek Original:
Νόστος: παρὰ τῇ συνηθείᾳ ὁ γλυκασμός, ἐπὶ τῶν ἐδεσμάτων. ὡς ἀπὸ τῆς οἴκαδε ἀνακομιδῆς καὶ ἀναστροφῆς: παρὰ τὸ τῆς πατρίδος γλυκύ. οὐδὲν γὰρ γλύκιον ἧς πατρίδος, καθ' Ὅμηρον. ἐκ δὲ τοῦ κατὰ τὴν συνήθειαν νόστου καὶ νόστιμον, τὸ ἡδύ. καὶ Εὔνοστος, θεός τις, φασίν, ἐπιμύλιος. ὁ δὲ ποιητικὸς νόστος παρὰ τὸ νέω γίνεται. οἷον, νῦν δ' ἐπεὶ οὐ νέομαι γε. ἤγουν οὐκ ἐπανέρχομαι. ἔστι δὲ καὶ ῥῆμα νοστῶ, οὗ σύνθετα παλινοστῶ καὶ ἀπονοστῶ.
[1] The lexicographer is distinguishing between the "poetic" meaning ("homecoming") and the "common" meaning ("sweetening, flavor"). See already nu 500.
[2] Homer, Odyssey 9.34; cf. alpha 2571.
[3] The adjective νόστιμος meant both "able/likely to return home," and, in the case of plants, "yielding a high return, productive," or "nutritious, wholesome, palatable." See LSJ at web address 1 below, note on nu 500, and Chantraine's discussion.
[4] Homer, Iliad 18.101. For νέομαι , which does not occur in the active, see nu 133, nu 134, nu 293.
[5] See LSJ at web address 2 and web address 3 below. See also pi 102.
Pierre Chantraine, Dictionnaire étymologique de la langue grecque, 744-5
Pierre Chantraine, "Grec Νοστιμός ," Revue de Philologie 67 (1941) 129-133
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3
Keywords: definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; epic; food; religion
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 23 January 2001@13:56:39.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (added keyword; cosmetics) on 31 August 2002@11:14:24.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 17 June 2013@06:05:11.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics) on 18 June 2013@11:12:50.
Catharine Roth (more betacode) on 30 June 2013@01:12:49.
Catharine Roth (tweaked notes) on 18 September 2013@16:44:24.
Catharine Roth (typo) on 3 November 2013@23:23:17.


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