A Note on the Gender and Meaning of µίνθος

in Mnemosyne
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Mnemosyne

A Journal of Classical Studies

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1)

Both Chantraine (1999) and Frisk (1970) propose that µίνθη is a loanword from an unknown substrate which is also borrowed into Latin as ment(h)a ‘mint’. Kretschmer (1923, 105-7) gives some further etymological background. Chantraine ventures that µίνθος as “excrément humain” may have been created from µίνθη ‘mint’ “par antiphrase”. This is echoed by parallels in Byzantine etymologica: µήποτ’ οὖν ἡµεῖς µίνθον κατ’ ἀντίφρασιν τὴν δυσωδίαν καλοῦµεν, cf. n. 15.

17)

Eust. 1524.12 [= ed. Stallbaum 1825-6, 200]: µίνθος δὲ οὐ πάντως κόπρος ἡ παρὰ τῇ κωµῳδίᾳ, παρ’ ὑπόνοιαν, ‘Minthos (‘mint’), does not everywhere have the meaning ‘dung’ as it does in comedy, being used by insinuation’.

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