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crēta , ae, f. orig. adj., from 1. Creta,
I.Cretan earth, i. e. chalk, white earth or clay.
I. Prop., Plin. 35, 17, 57, § 195 sq.; Cato, R. R. 39, 2; Varr. R. R. 1, 7, 8 al.; “esp. used for cleansing garments,Plaut. Aul. 4, 9, 6.—Hence, trop.: “creta est profecto horum hominum oratio,” i. e. removes all trouble from the mind, Plaut. Poen. 5, 2, 10 sq.— “Also used as a cosmetic,Hor. Epod. 12, 10; Mart. 6, 93, 9; 8, 33, 17 al.; “for seals,Cic. Fl. 16, 37; cf. cretula, for marking the goal in a race-course, Plin. 8, 42, 65, § 160; “for the making of earthen vessels,Col. 3, 11, 9; Plin. 14, 20, 25, § 123 et saep.—Poet.: “rapidus cretae Oaxes,turbulent, Verg. E. 1, 66 Rib. (dub. al. Cretae; v. Forbig. ad loc.). —
II. From its whiteness is borrowed the trope for something favorable or lucky (opp. carbo), Hor. S. 2, 3, 246; imitated by Pers. 5, 108.
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