It is characteristic of A. to use words that occur only once in Homer, and such a word is ἄρρητος. In Od. 14. 466 it describes the remark that is better left unspoken, ὅ πέρ τ' ἄρρητον ἄμεινον. But it has the distinction of occurring once also in Hesiod, and this time it is used of men without fame, ῥητοί τ' ἄρρητοί τε Διòς μεγάλοιο ἕκατι (Op. 4). It is clearly this line in Hesiod's proem that A. is echoing in his own, and in the same kind of sense, though, as Martin points out, A. ‘renverse en quelque sorte une expression d'Hésiode’. In the Phaenomena it is Zeus who is always being celebrated by men.
The idiom with ⋯⋯ν and negative is used by Plato, Lg. 793 b, οὔτε νόμους δεῖ προσαγορεύειν αὐτ⋯ οὔτε ἄρρητα ⋯⋯ν, and it may have been a familiar expression. But here in A., with the emphatic οὐδέποτε, it does seem rather contrived, and this may account for the fanciful explanation in the scholia that Zeus here represents the air we use every time we speak. The phrasing is certainly designed to give the maximum emphasis to ἄρρητον, which comes in enjambement at the beginning of the second line and is then followed by a strong sense pause. It is tempting, therefore, to suggest that the poet is indulging in a kind of pun on the sound of his own name, which usually has a long α in its first syllable and sometines η in its second: e.g. Call. Epigr. 27. 4 Ἀρήτου σύντονος ⋯γρυπνίη, and Leonidas, A.P. 9. 25. 1 γράμμα τόδ' Ἀρήτοιο δαήμονος. Other Hellenistic poets have contrived puns on the derivation oftheir names: Philodemusin A.P. 5. 115, Meleager in A.P. 12. 165, and Crates in A.P. 11. 218. 4. Closer to A. is the story recorded in the ancient biographical tradition of Antigonus complimenting the poet with the pun εὐδοξóτερον ποιεῖς τòν Eὔδοξον.