Plagiarism

The first century Roman poet Martial used the Latin word plagiarius to complain that another poet had kidnapped his verses.

Plagiarius: kidnapper, seducer, plunderer, one who kidnaps the child or slave of another.

Anglicized by Johnson in 1601.

Plagiary, adjective. 1. Stealing men; kidnapping. 2. Practicing literary theft.

Based on the Indo-European root *-plak, “to weave” (seen for instance in Greek plekein, Bulgarian “плета” pleta, Latin plectere, all meaning “to weave”).

Listen Fates, who sit nearest of gods to the throne of Zeus, and weave with shuttles of adamant, inescapable devices for councels of every kind beyond counting.

Neith.

Frigg.

Brigantia.

If, while riding a horse overland, a man should come upon a woman spinning, then that is a very bad sign; he should turn around and take another way.

Wonderful, wonderful, yet again the sword of fate severs the head from the hydra of chance.

When shall we three meet again

In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

As we, or mother Dana, weave and unweave our bodies from day to day, their molecules shuttled to and fro, so does the artist weave and unweave his image.

In the 19th century there was a literary scandal when the leading Sterne scholar of the day discovered that many of the quintessentially Sternean passages of Tristram Shandy had been lifted from other authors.

Typically, a passage lamenting the lack of originality among contemporary writers was plagiarised from Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy.

Now academics call the plagiarism “intertextuality.”

When the hurlyburly’s done,

When the battle’s lost and won.

Urðr.

Verðandi.

Skuld.

Olaudah Equiano was born in 1745 in Eboe, in what is now Nigeria. When he was about eleven, Equiano was kidnapped and sold to slave traders headed to the West Indies.

When our women are not employed with the men in tillage, their usual occupation is spinning and weaving cotton, which they afterwards dye, and make it into garments.

“I did so, sir, for my sins,” said I; “for it was by his means and the procurement of my uncle, that I was kidnapped within sight of this town, carried to sea, suffered shipwreck and a hundred other hardships, and stand before you to-day in this poor accoutrement.”

Persephone.

Europa.

Ganymede.

Plagiarism begins at home.

Nothing is said which has not been said before.

Originality: Judicious imitation.

Perhaps the efforts of the true poets, founders, religions, literatures, all ages, have been, and ever will be, our time and times to come, essentially the same—to bring people back from their present strayings and sickly abstractions, to the costless, average, divine, original concrete.

Hippolyta.

Helen.

Rapunzel.

I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal My words every one from his neighbor.

“There are in English often long trains of words allied by their meaning and derivation” (Samuel Johnson)

There are in English often long trains of words allied by their meaning and derivation; as, to beata batbatoona battlea beetlea battledoreto batterbatter, a kind of glutinous composition for food, made by beating different bodies into one mass. All these are of similar signification, and perhaps derived from the Latin batuo. Thus taketouchtickletacktackle; all imply a local conjunction from the Latin tangotetigitactum.

From two are formed twaintwicetwentytwelvetwinstwinetwisttwirltwigtwitchtwingebetweenbetwixttwilighttwibil.

The following remarks, extracted from Wallis, are ingenious but of more subtlety than solidity, and such as perhaps might in every language be enlarged without end.

Sn usually imply the nose, and what relates to it. From the Latin nasus are derived the French nez and the English nose; and nesse, a promontory, as projecting like a nose. But as if from the consonants ns taken from nasus, and transposed that they may the better correspond, sn denote nasus; and thence are derived many words that relate to the nose, as snoutsneezesnoresnort,snearsnickersnotsnivelsnitesnuffsnufflesnafflesnarlsnudge.

There is another sn which may perhaps be derived from the Latin sinuo, as snakesneaksnailsnare; so likewise snap and snatchsnibsnubBl imply a blast; as blowblastto blastto blight, and, metaphorically, to blast one’s reputation;bleatbleak, a bleak place, to look bleak, or weather-beaten, blackblaybleachblusterblurtblisterblabbladderblewblabber lip’tblubber-cheek’tblotedblote-herringsblastblazeto blow, that is, blossombloom; and perhapsblood and blush.

In the native words of our tongue is to be found a great agreement between the letters and the thing signified; and therefore the sounds of the letters smaller, sharper, louder, closer, softer, stronger, clearer, more obscure, and more stridulous, do very often intimate the like effects in the things signified.

Thus words that begin with str intimate the force and effect of the thing signified, as if probably derived from στρωννυμι, or strenuous; as strongstrengthstrewstrikestreakstrokestripestrivestrifestrugglestroutstrutstretchstrait,strictstreight, that is, narrow, distrainstressdistressstringstrapstreamstreamerstrandstripstraystrugglestrangestridestradale.

St in like manner imply strength, but in a less degree, so much only as is sufficient to preserve what has been already communicated, rather than acquire any new degree; as if it were derived from the Latin sto; for example, standstay, that is, to remain, or to prop; staffstay, that is, to oppose; stopto stuffstifleto stay, that is, to stop; a stay, that is, an obstacle; stickstutstutterstammerstaggersticklestickstake, a sharp, pale, and any thing deposited at play; stockstem,stingto stingstinkstitchstudstuncheonstubstubble, to stub up, stump, whence stumblestalkto stalkstepto stamp with the feet, whence to stamp, that is, to make an impression and a stamp; stowto stowto bestowsteward, orstowardsteadsteadystedfaststablea stablea stallto stallstoolstallstillstallstallagestagestill, adjective, and still, adverb: stalestoutsturdysteadstoatstallionstiffstark-deadto starve with hunger or cold; stonesteel,sternstanchto stanch blood, to staresteepsteeplestairstandard, a stated measure, stately. In all these, and perhaps some others, st denote something firm and fixed.

Thr imply a more violent degree of motion, as throwthrustthrongthrobthroughthreatthreatenthrallthrows.

Wr imply some sort of obliquity or distortion, as wryto wreathewrestwrestlewringwrongwrinchwrenchwranglewrinklewrathwreakwrackwretchwristwrap.

Sw imply a silent agitation, or a softer kind of lateral motion; as swayswagto swayswaggerswervesweatsweepswillswimswingswiftsweetswitchswinge.

Nor is there much difference of sm in smoothsmugsmilesmirksmite; which signifies the same as to strike, but is a softer word; smallsmellsmacksmothersmart, a smart blow properly signifies such a kind of stroke as with an originally silent motion, implied in sm, proceeds to a quick violence, denoted by ar suddenly ended, as is shown by t.

Cl denote a kind of adhesion or tenacity, as in cleaveclayclingclimbclamberclammyclaspto claspto clipto clinchcloakclogcloseto closea cloda clot, as a clot of blood, clouted cream, a cluttera cluster.

Sp imply a kind of dissipation or expansion, especially a quick one, particularly if there be an r, as if it were from spargo or separo: for example, spreadspringsprigsproutsprinklesplitsplinterspillspitsputterspatter.

Sl denote a kind of silent fall, or a less observable motion; as in slimeslideslipslipperslysleightslitslowslackslightslingslap.

And so likewise ash, in crashrashgashflashclashlashslashplashtrash, indicate something acting more nimbly and sharply. But ush, in crushrushgushflushblushbrushhushpush, imply something as acting more obtusely and dully. Yet in both there is indicated a swift and sudden motion not instantaneous, but gradual, by the continued sound, sh.

Thus in flingslingdingswingclingsingwringsting, the tingling of the termination ng, and the sharpness of the vowel i, imply the continuation of a very slender motion or tremor, at length indeed vanishing, but not suddenly interrupted. [31]But in tinkwinksinkclinkchinkthink, that end in a mute consonant, there is also indicated a sudden ending.

If there be an l, as in jingletingletinkleminglesprinkletwinkle, there is implied a frequency, or iteration of small acts. And the same frequency of acts, but less subtile by reason of the clearer vowel a, is indicated in jangletangle,spanglemanglewranglebrangledangle; as also in mumblegrumblejumble. But at the same time the close u implies something obscure or obtunded; and a congeries of consonants mbl, denotes a confused kind of rolling or tumbling, as in ramblescamblescramblewambleamble; but in these there is something acute.

In nimble, the acuteness of the vowel denotes celerity. In sparklesp denotes dissipation, ar an acute crackling, k a sudden interruption, l a frequent iteration; and in like manner in sprinkle, unless in may imply the subtilty of the dissipated guttules. Thick and thin differ in that the former ends with an obtuse consonant, and the latter with an acute.

In like manner, in squeeksqueaksquealsquallbrawlwraulyaulspaulscreekshriekshrillsharpshrivelwrinklecrackcrashclashgnashplashcrushhushhisse,  fisse,  whistsoft,  jar,  hurl,  curl,  whirl,  buz,  bustlespindledwindletwinetwist, and in many more, we may observe the agreement of such sort of sounds with the things signified; and this so frequently happens, that scarce any language which I know can be compared with ours. So that one monosyllable word, of which kind are almost all ours, emphatically expresses what in other languages can scarce be explained but by compounds, or decompounds, or sometimes a tedious circumlocution.

(From Samuel Johnson’s A Grammar of the English Tongue).