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[414a] for otherwise courage would not be praised. The words ἄρρεν (male) and ἀνήρ (man) refer, like ἀνδρεία, to the upward (ἄνω) current or flow. The word γυνή (woman) seems to me to be much the same as γονή (birth). I think θῆλυ (female) is derived from θηλή (teat); and is not θηλή, Hermogenes, so called because it makes things flourish (τεθηλέναι), like plants wet with showers?

Hermogenes
Very likely, Socrates.

Socrates
And again, the word θάλλειν (flourish) seems to me to figure the rapid and sudden growth of the young. [414b] Something of that sort the namegiver has reproduced in the name, which he compounded of θεῖν (run) and ἅλλεσθαι (jump). You do not seem to notice how I rush along outside of the race-course, when I get on smooth ground. But we still have plenty of subjects left which seem to be serious.

Hermogenes
True.

Socrates
One of which is to see what the word τέχνη (art, science) means.

Hermogenes
Certainly.

Socrates
Does not this denote possession of mind, if you remove the tau and insert omicron between the chi and the nu [414c] and the nu and the eta (making ἐχονόη)?

Hermogenes
It does it very poorly, Socrates.

Socrates
My friend, you do not bear in mind that the original words have before now been completely buried by those who wished to dress them up, for they have added and subtracted letters for the sake of euphony and have distorted the words in every way for ornamentation or merely in the lapse of time. Do you not, for instance, think it absurd that the letter rho is inserted in the word κάαπτρον (mirror)? [414d] I think that sort of thing is the work of people who care nothing for truth, but only for the shape of their mouths; so they keep adding to the original words until finally no human being can understand what in the world the word means. So the sphinx, for instance, is called sphinx, instead of phix, and there are many other examples.

Hermogenes
Yes, that is true, Socrates.

Socrates
And if we are permitted to insert and remove any letters we please in words, it will be perfectly easy to fit any name to anything. [414e]

Hermogenes
True.

Socrates
Yes, quite true. But I think you, as a wise director, must observe the rule of moderation and probability.

Hermogenes
I should like to do so.

Socrates
And I, too, Hermogenes.


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