Sophrosyne

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Sophrosyne

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:52 pm

• sophrosyne •


Pronunciation: sê-frah-sê-nee • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass (no plural)

Meaning: Moderation, self-control, prudence, temperance. Antonym: hubris

Notes: This rare word expresses Hesiod's Golden Rule of ancient Greek life: ". . . moderation is best in all things." Sophron "of sound mind, moderate, temperate" is another rare word (though recognized by my spellcheck) that underlies today's word. It has a lexical family: the verb is sophronize "to imbue with self-control" and a sophronist is someone who seeks to regulate, moderate things.

In Play: John Gardner wrote in Wreckage of Agathon (1970): "Even when his ideas were crazy, the man had sophrosyne, as they used to call it in the old days." So, we should be able to come up with expressions more contemporary like: "Miles Overland's sophrosyne guided him through all the adventures of his life."

Word History: Today's Good Word is Greek, Ancient and Modern, derived from sophron "of sound mind, prudent, temperate", which is a combination of sos "safe, sound, whole" + phren "mind". Phren seems to have come from phrazomai "to become informed, to think, consider, imagine", the passive of phrazein "to tell, declare, inform", source also of Greek phrenitikos "frenzy, mental disease" derived from phrenitis "mind infection". English. with a litle help from French, trimmed down the Latin borrowing phreneticus to frenetic. Frantic is also a kinword. Phrasis "speech, phraseology", the noun from phrasein, was borrowed by Latin for its phrasis "diction", which made its way via French to English as phrase. (Let's now applaud Ben Travato for suggesting today's Good Word, a rare gem of a word that should be less rare.)
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Philip Hudson
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Re: sophrosyne

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Apr 08, 2021 11:43 pm

This is a new word to me. It has a nice sound. It has a meaning that I like. So, YES it is a good word.
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Re: Sophrosyne

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Apr 09, 2021 8:31 am

I just love it, too, Philip. I've tried to live by Hesiod's rule "everything in moderation" with emphasis on both the pronoun and the adjective. Now I have a word for it.
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Re: Sophrosyne

Postby damoge » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:17 pm

And since the word quote is from
John Gardner in Wreckage of Agathon (1970)
may I beg a boon?
From the same work, the word "seraboidal", I've got nowhere trying to find a definition, let alone an etymology.
Can anyone help?
My searches led to nothing at all, or the quote from the book that started me on my quest.
Would appreciate any and all leads!
Thanks in advance...
Debby M
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Slava
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Re: Sophrosyne

Postby Slava » Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:47 pm

My take on seraboidal: Having a design akin to that of a Serab rug.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.

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Re: Sophrosyne

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:57 pm

It only comes up one time on a Google search of trillions of web pages, linked to the John Gardner book.

"Like a serab" would be seraboid. I'm not sure about the -al, unless it is a back derivation from the adverb, seraboidally.

By the way, this spellcheck likes seraboid, seraboidal, and seraboidally. So, somebody out there must know these words.
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damoge
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Re: Sophrosyne

Postby damoge » Fri Apr 09, 2021 4:59 pm

Thank you thank you thank you, both!
Now I just need to get the book again and find the sentence...

Sigh (of great relief!)
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Re: Sophrosyne

Postby bnjtokyo » Fri Apr 09, 2021 7:57 pm

Apparently Hesiod was unaware of one of the axioms by which I cook: Too much garlic is just enough!

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Re: Sophrosyne

Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Apr 09, 2021 10:12 pm

My wife today told me her secret for making the best pimento-cheese in the world: too much pimento is enough. By the way, she roasts her own red bell peppers to make her pimento.
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Re: Sophrosyne

Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Apr 10, 2021 2:21 pm

The Good Doctor's wife makes pimento cheese. For you folks who think pimento cheese bought ready made is sufficient, "It ain't thata way for us southerners." It is a culinary art of high esteem in southern circle.
Most southern pimento cheese makers have a secret ingredient they will not reveal. A real southerner can tell the difference between Mrs. Goodword's pimento cheese and my pimento cheese. I am convinced hers are great and I wonder that she makes her own pimentos from red bell peppers. Such dedication. I happen to be the expert pimento cheese maker in my extended family. In non-COVID days it is the spread of choice for the day before Easter meal the gathered family enjoys. It has a secret ingredient. Mum's the word.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.

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Re: Sophrosyne

Postby damoge » Sat Apr 10, 2021 3:45 pm

Philip!
You put your mother in the cheese?

I was going to suggest that you and the Good Doctor each send us a sample, but ....
Everything works out, one way or another


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