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#168297 - 05/17/07 07:48 PM The origin of the word/name Penelope
Penelope E. Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/17/07
Posts: 1
Long ago in a college course on classical mythology, the professor--Dr. Leichty (but that may be misspelled)--discussed the origins of the name Penelope. According to him, it derived from an earlier story about the birth of the woman who would later be the wife of Odysseus. Briefly, the story was that her father considered her to be an unwelcome newborn and decided, according to the custom of that ancient place, to "dispose" of the baby by flinging her far out off the island's high cliffs to fall to the rocks edging the sea far below. To his surprise, a flock of "small purple pin-striped ducks," of a breed that nests in the seaside cliffs, suddenly flew up in a tight formation, caught the falling child on their backs, and bore her back to the cliff top, depositing her at the feet of her astonished father. Being no fool, he decided that this child must be a favorite of the gods and should be brought up accordingly. She was given the name Penelope because, I was told, that was the archaic Greek name for the breed of little ducks that had rescued her.

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#168310 - 05/18/07 05:15 PM Re: The origin of the word/name Penelope [Re: Penelope E.]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
Hello Penelope,

I have several things on the subject for you:

Online Etymology
1. Penelope
fem. proper name, name of the faithful wife in the "Odyssey," from Gk. Penelopeia, probably related to pene "thread on the bobbin." Used as the type of the virtuous wife (1581) as it was in Latin.
2. Bobbin
1530, from Fr. bobine, small instrument used in sewing or tapestry-making, probably connected with bobbinet "cotton net," or perhaps from L. balbus (see babble </index.php?term=babble>) for the stuttering, stammering noise it made.

Webster Online Dictionary
3a. (Greek mythology) the wife of Odysseus and a symbol of devotion and fidelity; for 10 years while Odysseus fought the Trojan War she resisted numerous suitors until Odysseus returned and killed them.
3b. A genus of guans (turkey-like arboreal birds valued as game and food birds).

First two are from online Etymology.
Three, a + b are from Webster Online.


There seem to be some incoherences.

Etymology leaves out the bird connection at all and
Webster's Dictionary mentions a different kind of bird.

There seems to be some melting together of things, both in the definitions and the story.
I can't think of any ducks that live in trees. Or are there?

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#168379 - 05/21/07 04:36 PM Re: The origin of the word/name Penelope [Re: BranShea]
Maven Offline
member

Registered: 04/27/07
Posts: 120
Loc: California
Penelops are a species of duck, and do not live in trees. There is some connection, maybe, since it was thought that ducks were monogamous. But, depending on how much faith you have in Wikipedia entries:

Quote:

Her name is close to the Greek word for duck but is usually understood to be a combination of the Greek word for web or woof (πηνη) and the word for eye or face (ωψ), very appropriate for a weaver of cunning whose motivation is hard to decipher.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penelope
_________________________
tempus edax rerum

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#171425 - 11/17/07 04:10 AM Re: The origin of the word/name Penelope [Re: Maven]
R. Eastcourt Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/01/07
Posts: 99
Loc: Hungarian Gypsy
Penelopes Web, A work that never progresses. Penelope, the wife of Ulysses, being importuned by several suitors during her husband's long absence, made reply that she could not marry again, even if Ulysses were dead, till she had finished weaving a shroud for her aged father-in-law. Every night she pulled out what she had woven during the day, and thus the shroud made no progress toward completion.-Greek Mythology.
The French say of a work "never ending, still beginning," c'est l'ouvrage de Penelope.


I prefer Penelope Lapham, a vivacious, but not too pretty daughter of Silas Lapham (1812-1887). Ultimately, Penelope wins the love of her sisters' suitor, despite her sister's skin-deep beauty. This unintentional conquest brings painful complexity to herself, and anguish to her sister. Finally, she yields to her sister's magnaminity, and to the persuasions of her suitor, Tom Corey. Ultimately, Penelope weds Tom.
This is from W.D. Howelles, The Rise of Silas Lapham (1887).

I hope this helped.

Tom


Edited by R. Eastcourt (11/17/07 04:34 AM)

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#171430 - 11/17/07 10:08 AM The origin of Pierre Menard [Re: R. Eastcourt]
varaha Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/22/04
Posts: 19
Loc: Mt Meru
Howelles

What a coinkydinky. There was another book, also called The Rise of Silas Lapham, that was written by a William Dean Howells but published two years earlier.

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#171433 - 11/17/07 11:16 AM Re: The origin of Pierre Menard [Re: varaha]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
The dingycoinky is a that it is William Dean Howells' The rise of Silas Lapham 1885. Hi, never mind.

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#171446 - 11/18/07 12:03 PM Re: The origin of Pierre Menard [Re: varaha]
R. Eastcourt Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/01/07
Posts: 99
Loc: Hungarian Gypsy
Originally Posted By: varaha
Howelles

What a coinkydinky. There was another book, also called The Rise of Silas Lapham, that was written by a William Dean Howells but published two years earlier.


How serendipitous! As I was searching my source I found a wonderful print of Mr. Pecksniff, " architect and land surveyor". -C Dickens, Martin Chuzzelwit(1843)

Yes, I had too many e's. My source is: The Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D, Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction, and the Drama, vol.v, M C M I I

The entry on page 181, under Penelope Lapham footnotes, -W. D. Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham, (1887).

Perhaps the good Reverend made a mistake and Wikipedia is correct.

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#171447 - 11/18/07 12:09 PM Re: The origin of Pierre Menard [Re: BranShea]
R. Eastcourt Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/01/07
Posts: 99
Loc: Hungarian Gypsy
Originally Posted By: BranShea
The dingycoinky is a that it is William Dean Howells' The rise of Silas Lapham 1885. Hi, never mind.


Duplicitous word fungo!! I love it!!

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#171448 - 11/18/07 12:42 PM Re: The origin of Pierre Menard [Re: R. Eastcourt]
varaha Offline
stranger

Registered: 08/22/04
Posts: 19
Loc: Mt Meru
Perhaps the good Reverend made a mistake and Wikipedia is correct.

Perhaps, but my reference was the William Dean Howells Society chronology page. (I see that Wiipedia agrees with them, and they could be correct part of the time if only by chance.) And, for what it's worth, my dead-tree, 11th edition Britannica (1910) gives 1885 as the publication date, but then they could very well be wrong, too. Caveat lector!

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#171449 - 11/18/07 01:46 PM Re: The origin of Pierre Menard [Re: varaha]
R. Eastcourt Offline
journeyman

Registered: 11/01/07
Posts: 99
Loc: Hungarian Gypsy
Ye Gads, Ebenezer! This is bigger than the bofus!

The editor is Marion Harland. I would supply a link but I am too lazy to learn how to do this. Besides, it's a Wiki.


Edited by R. Eastcourt (11/18/07 02:10 PM)

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