αἰκίζω + ἄνθος

Validation

No

Word-form

ἄκανθα

Transliteration (Word)

akantha

English translation (word)

thorn, prickle

Transliteration (Etymon)

aikizō + anthos

English translation (etymon)

to maltreat, to defile + flower

Author

Orion

Century

5 AD

Source

Idem

Ref.

Etymologicum, alpha, p. 176

Ed.

F. Sturz, Orionis Thebani etymologicon, Leipzig, Weigel, 1820

Quotation

Ἄκανθα· διὰ τὸ αἰκίζειν ἤγουν πλήττειν

Translation (En)

Akantha "thorn": because it maltreats (aikizein), that is, it beats

Comment

The etymology is only half formulated: the given etymon, αἰκίζω, is meant to account for the initial ἀκ-, and not for the -ανθα. The latter was understood as the name of the flower but it seemed so obvious that it was not mentioned in the explanation. The etymology implies a formal manipulation, dropping of the [I] and transformation of the diphthong into a simple vowel. The name of the plant is derived from its effect on man, as it damages the skin.

Parallels

Etym. Gudianum, alpha, p. 62 (Ἄκανθα· διὰ τὸ αἰκίζειν ἤγουν πλήττειν. ‖ ἢ παρὰ τὸ ἐν τῇ ἀκ⟦ῇ ἀνθεῖν, ἤγουν⟧ ἐν τῇ ὀξύτητι)

Modern etymology

Although the etymology ἀκ-ανθα "sharp flower" is sometimes advocated nowadays, the word is probably a loanword in Greek (Beekes, EDG)

Persistence in Modern Greek

MG still has άκανθα 1. as a learned word designating 'thorn' (the vernacular form is αγκάθι), 2. the acanthus, decoration of the corinthian column, 3. hard and accute protrusion in anatomy.

Entry By

Le Feuvre