[PLUG-announce] October PLUG Meeting: Open

Levi Pearson levipearson at gmail.com
Mon Oct 11 16:35:33 MDT 2010


On Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 4:08 PM, Charles Curley
<charlescurley at charlescurley.com> wrote:

> I don't object to Mr. Limbaugh (though I would probably have my
> disagreements with him if I ever heard him), I object to sycophancy.

Fun etymological digression:

The word sycophant derives from the Greek "sykophantes", which means
"one who shows the fig."  One theory says that "showing the fig" was a
rude gesture they would make with a hand that vaguely resembles a fig,
which was symbolic of female genitalia.  The Greek politicians would
publicly hold themselves aloof from such gestures, but would privately
encourage their followers to taunt their opponents.  Some things never
change.

On the other hand, another theory says that the term literally
referred to someone who accused another of stealing figs, and that its
general meaning was that of someone who makes malicious, unfounded
accusations in order to profit from the maligning of their target.
This is probably the more accurate theory, as I've seen some actual
citations of Greek literature for it, but they're both pretty
interesting.

        --Levi


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