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An early-20th-century drawing of a Cicada orni, a species of cicada found in Greece and other places


From Ancient Greek τέττιξ (téttix), or perhaps a modern Greek descendant thereof.



tettix (plural tettixes)

  1. A cicada, especially in Greece.
    • 1776, Richard Chandler, “chapter LXXXII”, in Travels in Asia Minor: Or An Account of a Tour Made at the Expense of the Society of Dilettanti, 2nd edition, London: Sold by J[ames] Dodsley, J[ames] Robson, T[homas] Cadell, P[eter] Elmsley, and G. Robinson, London; and by D. Prince, Oxford, OCLC 221348775, pages 276–277:
      [T]he Tettix or Cicada in the day time is extremely troubleſome. It is a brown inſect reſembling a chafer, with wings much longer than its body, and thin like thoſe of a fly. It ſits on the buſhes and trees, making with its wings, as is affirmed by Heſiod, a very loud, ugly, ſcreaking noise. When one begins, others join, and the diſagreeable concert becomes univerſal; then a dead pauſe enſues; and then, as it were on a ſignal, it commences again. Dionyſius of Syracuſe ſignified his reſolution to burn and lay waſte the territory of a people, with whom he had a quarrel, when he ſaid, that, if they refuſed to comply with his demands, their Tettixes ſhould ſing on the ground.
    • 1974, Guy Davenport, Tatlin!: Six Stories, New York, N.Y.: Scribner, →ISBN:
      [T]hat Greek waste silent but for the risp of the tettix and the wash of listless wind through the spare grass.
    • 1989, Helen King, “Tithonos and the Tettix”, in Thomas M. Falkner and Judith de Luce, editors, Old Age in Greek and Latin Literature (SUNY Series in Classical Studies), Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, →ISBN, page 75:
      The woman who had lived on no food at all, however, recalls once more the insect into which Tithonos was transformed: the tettix, which was believed to exist without food or drink, or only on dew, or on dew and air.
  2. A cicada-shaped ornament for the hair.

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