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  • A further etymology is from philo, to love, and melos, honey, because apparently nightingales love honey, or were believed to.

    March 21, 2009

  • Wow, lovely word AND lovely usage note! Thanks sionnach!

    February 23, 2007

  • A beautiful word, I think, meaning 'like, or pertaining to a nightingale'. Etymologically it derives from Philomela, a princess of Athens who was raped by her brother-in-law Tereus. He cut out her tongue to silence her; the gods transformed her into a nightingale, so that she could sing beautifully for ever.

    In Ovid's Metamorphoses Philomela's defiant speech is rendered as (in translation) "Now that I have no shame, I will proclaim it. / Given the chance, I will go where the people are, / Tell everybody; if you shut me here, / I will move the very woods and rocks to pity. / The air of Heaven will hear, and any god, / If there is any god in Heaven, will hear me."

    February 23, 2007