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Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.


Postby sardith » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:43 pm

Okay, I have some questions about this word, 'sophrosyne'.

For instance, in the first 3 places I looked for information, I found 3 different ways to pronounce it. I find that curious.

Then, it has been suggested by dictionaries and reference links, that 'sophrosyne' is the opposite of 'hubris', and I am wondering, "Why is it that most everyone is familiar with hubris, and I would venture to guess that most people don't know what sophrosyne is?" How does one word get so much 'traction' compared to another? :?

Also, please Dr. Goodword, give this word a turn in your column, because, I'd love to hear what you have to say about it. Its holistic concept is a bit difficult to grasp, and I love the way that you explain words.

Thanks Doc,
Sardith :)
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Postby Slava » Thu Apr 07, 2011 7:16 pm

You sure do come up with some interesting words.

As to why hubris is so much stronger in the language, I'd go for two reasons. 1 being that it's quite new as an English word, 2 being that it basically doesn't exist in reality. Hubris is much, much, more common. Perfect self-control, not so common.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
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Postby Audiendus » Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:37 pm

"Levelheadedness" is the nearest English equivalent I can think of.
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Postby sardith » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:44 pm


I must say, that compliment has made my evening!

From this link: ... rosyne.htm
I have seen a definition that I wondered about. Can you let me know your thoughts? (It is bolded)

The Dictionary of the History of Ideas says sophrosyne comes from an adjective Homer uses saophrōn 'of sound mind' for which reason the line from Juvenal: mens sana in corpore sano 'healthy mind in a healthy body' is sometimes used to clarify what sophrosyne is all about.

Sardith :D
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Postby MTC » Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:05 am

Yup, sardith, that's a beauty. I'm going to put it in my collection right here.
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