Re: stop, cease, desist, cut it out, break it off, cork it

Carl W. Conrad (
Sat, 28 Sep 1996 14:37:08 -0500

At 2:05 PM -0500 9/28/96, wrote:
>I'm only halfway through my e-mail (so have not seen all the other answers
>yet), but this one's too much fun to pass up. My two cents' is STHTE (2 aor.
>imper/subj of hISTHMI), because hISTHMI has the meaning of ceasing motion
>in the intransitive forms, and my guess is that using the plural would be
>more polite than singular (otherwise STHQI). Other words like PAUE etc. are
>probably too vague or inappropriate to the context. In class we've toyed
>with ELAUNW because it is tempting (as a joke) to make it refer to driving
>a car, but that's really a very different concept.

Just curious, Don: why would the plural be more polite? Is it because the
sign is addressing all drivers at once? or because there are more drivers
per vehicle than one? Or because, as in modern European languages, the 2nd
p. sg. is either contemptuous or too intimate--and would that have any
bearing upon ancient usage?

Secondly, apart from the fact that an automobile is indeed a different
vehicle from a chariot, since ELAUNW does get used for chariot in ancient
Greek, would it really be inappropriate in reference to an auto? I think
that "car" does come through the French "char" from Latin CURRUS, doesn't

It is a fun question indeed.

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