‘When I use a word’, Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’
In his recent note on Hipponax in this journal, Joseph Cotter first offers ‘a revised version of LSJ's definition’ of ὄρχις. At LSJ (incl. Revised Supplement, 1996), s.v. ὄρχις I, ‘… testicle Hippon. 92.3 W. …’, he would delete the Hipponactean citation and rewrite the second definition, under ΙΙ (‘plant so called from the form of its root …’), to read: ‘from similarity of shape, 1 glans penis, Hippon. 92 (95 Degani), 2. <plant> from the form of its root …’. Cotter derives his new definition from his reading of that Hipponactean line (= fr. 95.3 Degani), καί μοι τὸν ὄρχιν τῆς φαλ[ … , which he supplements with the name of a marsh bird, φαλ[ηρίδος, also redefined. This supplementary ‘coot’ is said to mean ‘cock’, so that the narrator of the fragment's description of (probable) treatment for sexual impotence tells how a Lydian woman ‘thrashed with fig-branch (4, κ]ράδηι συνηλοίησεν) the glans of my cock’. We are presented, then, with two previously unattested meanings of two nouns, ὄρχις and φαληρίς, and an accommodating correction of LSJ. What—I have asked Cotter—might Henry Liddell have thought of these innovations, familiar as he undoubtedly was with Humpty Dumpty's semantics!