In 2002, early bloggers started hunting for googlewhacks: "a pair of common words, like 'schadenfreude carburetor' that appear together on only one page in Google's index."
Turns out that there's nothing new under the sun. Classicists search corpuses for the elusive hapax legomenon: "a word that occurs only once in a text, an author’s oeuvre, or a language’s entire written record."
One of the most famous Shakespearean hapaxes is “honorificabilitudinitatibus,” meaning “able to achieve honors.” The word appears only in Act V, Scene 1 of Love’s Labour’s Lost and is the dative form of a medieval Latin word, “honorificabilitudinitas.” After Shakespeare, authors such as James Joyce and Charles Dickens incorporated it into their works as well.
It is estimated that there are thousands of hapaxes in the Bible. Greek and Latin literature allow us to translate many of the terms from the Septuagint or the Vulgate, the Koine Greek Old Testament and the Latin Bible, respectively. However, since the Old Testament is almost all we have of the ancient Hebrew language, hapaxes can be restrictive. The Song of Songs, which is the last section of the Tanakh and part of the Christian Old Testament, contains an especially high number of hapax legomena, forcing scholars to rely on the Greek version for translation hints. The Song of Songs is, at the surface, a story of love between a man and a woman, in which they describe their passion for each other. It has the greatest number of hapaxes in the Bible, rendering the book enigmatic and mysterious. For instance, in 4.13, the male compares the lady’s “selahim” to an orchard. The term is a hapax, but scholars have suggested “branches” as a translation, such that the text describes the woman’s body.
How Do You Decode a Hapax? (Also, What’s a Hapax?)
[Maya Nandakumar/Atlas Obscura]
Lobelia Sackville-Baggins is a Lord of the Rings Hobbit, one of the few, rare female characters in that series, and she's a nasty piece of work: a bitter enemy of Frodo and Bilbo, she is mostly depicted trying to either steal their stuff or buy it at deep discounts from them: she ends her days […]
Octavia Butler (previously), the brilliant Afrofuturist, McArthur Genius Grant-winning science fiction writer, died far, far too soon, leaving behind a corpus of incredible, voraciously readable novels, and a community of writers who were inspired by her example.
Scientists drilled into the Chixclub crater in the Gulf of Mexico to learn more about the end of the mesozoic era. They learned more than they expected, reports Katherine Kornei in The New York Times. The first day of the Cenozoic was peppered with cataclysms. When the asteroid struck, it temporarily carved a hole 60 […]
There’s reading for pleasure, and then there’s reading for fuel; absorbing the great ideas in nonfiction books so you can apply them in your own life. In today’s hectic pace, it can be difficult to find the time to do that reading – especially for the entrepreneurs and professionals who can benefit the most from […]
Breaking into the big leagues as a project manager isn’t done overnight, but there are principles that anyone can learn, and they’re applicable to nearly any business. No matter what your field, if there are multiple teams working toward a common goal, you’re going to need a roadmap. The Project Management Professional Certification Training Suite […]
On the one hand, nostalgia is “a corruption of the historical impulse,” according to William Gibson. On the other hand, “Super Mario Bros.” will never not be cool. Luckily, there’s a way to satisfy that retro gaming while still keeping an eye on the future: The GameShell Kit. This thing is simultaneously the last handheld […]