Re: Unable to cut

Carl W. Conrad (
Tue, 17 Sep 1996 05:57:59 -0500

At 2:07 AM -0500 9/17/96, wrote:
>A student asked me what Greek word means "unable to cut." I'm not sure what
>the application is (a crossword puzzle?). Does anyone know of this Greek

After a little pondering it occurs to me that the reference MIGHT be to the
Democritean and later Epicurean word for "ultimately indivisible particle
of matter"--our own word "atom" derives from the Greek adjective used as a
substantive, ATOMOS, which derives from Alpha privative and TEMNW/TAMNW
(same root as in PERI-TOMH, "circumcision", "cut," hence "unable to be

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR