αὐχέω

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Word-form

αὐχήν

Transliteration (Word)

aukhēn

English translation (word)

neck, nape

Transliteration (Etymon)

aukheō

English translation (etymon)

to boast

Author

Orion

Century

5 AD

Source

Idem

Ref.

Etymologicum, alpha, p. 17

Ed.

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

Quotation

Αὐχήν, ἀπὸ τῆς ἄνω τῆς κεφαλῆς νεύσεως, ἐπὶ τῶν αὐθάδων, ἢ ἐπί τισιν αὐχούντων

Translation (En)

Aukhēn "neck": from the fact that the head moves above it, applied to arrogant people, or to those who boast (aukhountōn)

Comment

The name of the neck is derived from the verb meaning "to boast", because of their phonetic similarity and by allusion to the fact that someone proud of something has his head lead high. The semantic connection is found in the metaphoric meaning of the compound ὑψαύχην "holding head high", hence "proud, arrogant", on which Sophocles built ὑψαυχέω "to boast" (fr. 1106 TrGF), and conversely in μεγαλαύχην "how holds head high" in Olympiodorus, built on μεγαλαυχέω "to boast, to be arrogant" (Aeschylus). The starting point of the confusion is the Homeric compound ἐριαύχενες "with high neck", epithet of horses, which was soon understood as "proud" (Apollonius, Lexicon homericum p. 76 Bekker: ἐριαύχενας μεγαλαύχενας. ἐπίθετον δέ ἐστι τοῦ ἵππου).

Parallels

Etym. Gudianum Additamenta, alpha, p. 238 (idem); Etym. Genuinum, alpha 1432 (Αὐχήν· ὁ τράχηλος· εἴρηται παρὰ τὸ αὐχμήν αὐχήν, ὁ κατάξηρος τόπος τοῦ σώματος. ἢ παρὰ τὸ † ἔχω ὀχήν καὶ αὐχήν, ἐφ’ οὗ ὀχεῖται ἡ κεφαλή. ἢ παρὰ τὸ αὐχεῖν καὶ γαυριᾶν γίνεται αὐχήν· γαυριῶντες γὰρ καὶ ἐπαιρόμενοι ἀνατείνομεν αὐτόν· οὕτως δὲ καὶ τραχηλιᾶν τινας λέγομεν. οὕτως Μεθόδιος); Etym. Magnum, Kallierges, p. 174 (idem); Ps.-Zonaras, Lexicon, alpha, p. 342 ([Αὐχήν. ὁ τράχηλος. παρὰ τὸ ἀχμὴν, ὁ κατάξηρος τόπος τοῦ σώματος. ἢ παρὰ τὸ ὄχω, ὀχὴν καὶ αὐχὴν, ὑφ’ οὗ ὀχεῖται ἡ κεφαλή. ἢ παρὰ τὸ αὐχεῖν καὶ γαυριᾷν γίνεται αὐχήν. γαυριῶντες γὰρ καὶ ἐπαιρόμενοι ἀνατείνομεν αὐτόν.]); Scholia in Oppianum, Hal. 1.66 (μεγαυχέϊ· μεγάλα αὐχοῦντι ἐπί σοι, μεγάλου κλέους, ἐκ μεταφορᾶς τῶν ἵππων ἐχόντων μεγάλους καὶ εὐπρεπεῖς αὐχένας παρὰ τὸ αὐχεῖν, τοῦτο δὲ παρὰ τὸ ἔχω ἔχειν καὶ αὐχεῖν· ἐν αὐτῷ γὰρ ὀχεῖται ἡ κεφαλή· ἢ ἀπὸ τοῦ αὐχεῖν καὶ γαυριᾷν· γαυριῶντες γὰρ καὶ ἐπαιρόμενοι τὴν κεφαλὴν ὕψει ἐκτείνομεν); Scholia in Sophoclem, Aj. 298b (scholia recentiora) (αὐχὴν λέγεται ὁ τράχηλος. γίνεται δὲ παρὰ τὸ ἔχω, ὀχὴν καὶ αὐχήν. ἐφ’ οὗ ὀχεῖται ἡ κεφαλή. ἢ παρὰ τὸ αὐχεῖν καὶ γαυριᾶν· γαυριῶντες γὰρ καὶ ἐπαιρόμενοι ἀνατείνομεν τὰς κεφαλάς)

Modern etymology

Aeolic has ἄμφην (Theocritus). Probably from *h22mg̑h-ú- "narrowness", found in OCS ǫzъkъ "narrow". Cognate with Arm. awjik‘ "neck". Isolated within Greek (Beekes, EDG)

Persistence in Modern Greek

MG still has αυχένας as the name of the back part of the neck

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