philoxenia

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Dr. Goodword
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philoxenia

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:19 pm

• philoxenia •


Pronunciation: fi-lahk-see-ni-ê • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Cordiality, eagerness to show hospitality, to be welcoming.

Notes: We have an Anglicized version of this word, philoxeny, which has the same meaning. Someone who is hospitable and cordial is a philoxenist.

In Play: While this word is rather archaic, it is still useful. Hospitality refers to the character of the reception, not that of the person: "Charity Ball is philoxenia personified; all are welcome in her home." Neither hospitality nor cordiality fits there or here: "Sheridan was amazed at the philoxenia of the Greeks on his visit to that country".

Word History: Greek has a word with two meanings that are very odd fellows; xenos means both "stranger" and "guest". Today's Good Word is a compound noun taken from classical Greek, comprising phil- "love" + xen- "guest" + -ia, an abstract noun suffix. We may interchange the Greek roots of today's compound noun and come up with xenophilia, another legitimate word based on the other meaning of xenos, "love of strange (foreign) things and people". The PIE word that xenos came from, ghost-ti- must have had the same two meanings, for it developed in the Indo-European language family both ways. On the one hand, we find English guest and host and German Gast "guest". On the other, we find Latin hostis "enemy", the ultimate source of the English borrowing hostile. (We owe George Kovac for another catch along the outskirts of the English vocabulary, which he is wont to troll.)
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LukeJavan8
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Re: philoxenia

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Feb 06, 2020 2:06 pm

Way to troll, George. Great word: stranger and guest in same
word.
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bnjtokyo
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Re: philoxenia

Postby bnjtokyo » Sun Feb 09, 2020 10:39 am

I find it interesting that a simple change in word order (syntax) changes the meaning (semantics). Are there other examples in Greek? Are these changes predictable? Are there similar examples in English?

damoge
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Re: philoxenia

Postby damoge » Sun Feb 09, 2020 9:17 pm

I like both forms of the word, but more especially the reverse of this one. Would that that word had more application today.
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Re: philoxenia

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:38 pm

Phobophobia seems to be a palindromic compound noun.
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