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Ivory (OT) (Reply)
2012-11-01 04:02 am (UTC)
Rather off-topic, I fear. I followed your link to the Wikipedia article about the gates of horn and ivory, and
I learned something new: the Greek word for "ivory":
Arthur T. Murray, translator of the original Loeb Classical Library edition of the Odyssey, commented:
The play upon the words κέρας, "horn", and κραίνω, "fulfil", and upon ἐλέφας, "ivory", and ἐλεφαίρομαι, "deceive", cannot be preserved in English.
1. ἐλέφας, transcribed into Roman letters, is
2. The root, as seen in the oblique cases, is, yes, ἐλέϕαντ-
3. The Oxford English Dictionary tells us, in the etymology of our word
Of the ultimate etymology nothing is really known. The Greek word is found in the sense ‘ivory’ in Homer and Hesiod; a loan from Asia Minor seems plausible, as this was a flourishing centre of the ivory trade in the second millenium. The resemblance in sound to Hebrew eleph ‘ox’ has given rise to a suggestion of derivation from some Phoenician or Punic compound of that word. Loans from Egyptian or Sanskrit are probably to be rejected on phonetic grounds.
I could go on, but this may already be too much.
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