From: Warren Fulton (
Date: Fri Aug 28 1998 - 02:31:50 EDT

On August 27, 98 Michael Palmer answering Prof. AKM wrote:

> >Doesn't the problem arise from our having a technical definition for
> >"hurricane" that would have been inaccessible & irrelevant to our Greek
> >sources?
> Yes. I suspect strongly that this explains the broad use of LAILAPS in
> ancient Greek (Classical and Hellenistic), but it still seems a bit strange
> that LAILAPS would take on the specific meaning 'hurricane' in modern
> Greek. Do we have any modern Greek speakers on the list who would care to
> comment. Is the term really as specific as my dictionary claims?

I do a bit of sailing in the Aegean, but have never heard the word LAILAPS onany
Greek weather report, not even when they talk about how things are blowing
back in my home state of Florida. In fact, I learned the word LAILAPS just
yesterday, right here on the list.

The word you do hear a lot on maritime bulletins is QUELLA, which is a seaman's
term for "gale." Technically, a gale begins at wind speeds of 28 knots, but small
would do well to head for cover with ANEMOI SFODROI (Beaufort 7) or even
ANEMOI ISXUROI (Beaufort 6). Aristophanes' ANEMOS POLUS, though,
would be enough to scare me off. Aegean winds, so pleasant on land, can be
murder just a few miles offshore.

When you want to talk about actual hurricane-force winds these days in Greece, you
have to pull out your old friend TUFWN (MG TUFWNAS). This is the term I hear
a lot when I tell Greeks I'm from Florida.

Warren Fulton
Inlingua School of Languages
Vienna, Austria

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