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Headword: Πτίλον
Adler number: pi,3027
Translated headword: down, plume
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] a softer/rather soft feather.[1]
Also [sc. attested is] 'downless' [ones], meaning unfeathered [ones].[2]
People who had a hard time vomiting used to use a feather for vomiting.[3]
Of feathers, some are called plumes, some feathers, some speed-feathers. Aristophanes in Birds [writes]: "[Peisetairus:] I have never seen a more ridiculous thing ever! [Euelpides:] What are you laughing at? [Peis.:] At your speed-feathers. Do you know what you look like most dressed up in feathers? Like a goose painted up on the cheap." Meaning like a goose painted cheaply.[4]
Greek Original:
Πτίλον: πτερὸν ἁπαλώτερον. καὶ Ἄπτιλα, τὰ ἀπτέρωτα. εἰώθασι δὲ οἱ δυσεμεῖς πτερῷ χρῆσθαι πρὸς τὸ ἐξεμέσαι. τῶν πτερῶν τὰ μὲν καλεῖται πτίλα, τὰ δὲ πτερά, τὰ δὲ ὠκύπτερα. Ἀριστοφάνης Ὄρνισιν: ἐγὼ μὲν πρᾶγμά πω γελοιότερον οὐκ εἶδον οὐδὲ πώποτε. ἐπὶ τῷ γελᾷς; ἐπὶ τοῖς σοῖς ὠκυπτέροις. οἶσθ' ᾧ μάλιστ' ἔοικας ἐπτερωμένος; εἰς εὐτέλειαν χηνὶ συγγεγραμμένῳ. ἀντὶ τοῦ εὐτελῶς γεγραμμένῳ χηνί.
[1] = Synagoge pi761, Photius pi1476 Theodoridis. The headword -- probably quoted from Aristophanes: see n. 3 below -- and the gloss are both neuter singulars, nominative/accusative; cf. Hesychius pi4233 (in the plural, and with a slightly different gloss). Adler also cites Lexicon Ambrosianum 1464 and a scholion to Lycophron, Alexandra 25, where the headword appears in the plural (although the scholia in Scheer's edition do not have anything particularly apposite).
[2] An adjective derived from the headword noun, here in the neuter plural nominative/accusative. Presumably derived from a literary attestation. The only surviving instances are obscure: (?)Eutecnius, Paraphrase of Oppian's Cynegetica 32; ps.-Julian, Epistle 191; and Gregory of Antioch, Epitaphion 1.
[3] Derived from a scholion to Aristophanes, Acharnians 584, where rather than the headword the word πτερόν ('feather') occurs. The headword does occur soon afterwards (lines 585, 588) and in the context acts as a synonym of πτερόν .
[4] Aristophanes, Birds 801-805, with comments from the scholia. The headword appears, in the plural, in the scholiast's comments (here translated 'plumes') but not in the quotation from Aristophanes. ['If mentioning a goose had any particular point here, we do not know it': Dunbar ad loc.']
Keywords: art history; clothing; comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; food; medicine; poetry; stagecraft; zoology
Translated by: William Hutton on 27 September 2013@18:28:17.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (tweak, status) on 28 September 2013@15:16:14.
David Whitehead (expansions to two notes; tweaks and cosmetics) on 29 September 2013@04:18:53.
David Whitehead on 22 October 2013@10:19:20.


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