Winged Words

Also found in: Idioms.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Winged Words


widely used apt words, figurative expressions, sayings of historical figures, short quotations, and names of mythological or literary figures that have become part of common usage. For example, “high-sounding nonsense” (M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin), “And who are the judges?” (A. S. Gribo-edov), “Hercules,” and “Oblomov.”

Winged words have their origin in classical and biblical myths, folklore, works of fiction, scholarly literature, journalism, memoirs, and speeches of political and social figures: “I came, I saw, I conquered” (Julius Caesar); “Appetite comes with eating” (F. Rabelais); “Administrative delight” (F. M. Dostoevskii); “From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step” (Napoleon). Certain winged words are not direct quotations from a definite source; rather, they are figurative expressions that are derived from a source and metaphorically convey its general sense: “forbidden fruit” (from biblical mythology), “Potemkin villages” (from 18th century memoirs). These expressions have long since lost direct ties with their original sources and with each historical period have acquired new meanings in conformity with the social and historical conditions of the time.

In their structure, winged words may be complete utterances such as “Après moi, le déluge” (Louis XV), phrases, or individual words that may be composed of the most varied syntactical elements, such as the word manilovshchina (Manilovism: smug complacency, inactivity, futile daydreaming; from Mani-lov, a character in Gogol’s Dead Souls). Winged words are the subject of studies of phraseology.


Mikhel’son, M. I. Russkaia mysV i rech’, Svoe i chuzhoe: Opyt russkoi frazeologii, vols. 1–2. No date or place of publication.
Zaimovskii, S. G. Krylatoe slovo. Moscow-Leningrad, 1930.
Maksimov, S. Krylatoe slovo. Moscow, 1955.
Ashukin, N. S., and M. G. Ashukina. Krylatye slova: Literaturnye tsitaty, Obraznye vyrazheniia, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1966.
Büchman, G. Geflügelte Worte, 30th ed. Berlin, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(39.) Boitani, Winged Words, 35, 46; and Nyenhuis, Myth and the Creative Process, 53, 44-46.
Yet there is no trace of catharsis when I tell myself: a philosopher, very nearly a poet; so naked with all his winged words, so uncomprehended, so popular.
feet and winged words, Achilles resembles most of all the goddess Iris,
the winged words as both allude to the brevity of life, but they are
Swift feet and winged words characterize Achilles, aligning him
winged words that come from the mouth of the wounded and dishonored man,
If the subject interests you Winged Words (Enitharmon, pounds 8.95), compiled by Catherine Reilly, which provided Ms Harvey with the structure for her programme, makes an excellent read.
"The rock cries out today, you may stand upon me,/but do not, hide your face." The winged words of Maya Angelou created a throb of exaltation across the land during the inauguration of President William Jefferson Clinton in January 1993:
Thus the three formulae "the fence of the teeth." "winged words," and "winged [or "wingless] speech" form a small constellation of interrelated metaphors in the vast galaxy of the Homeric formular system.
Thomson, "Winged Words": Durante, "Epea pteroenta"; Chantraine, Dictionnaire etymologique III 947.
Two days after the coup came the winged words of righteousness from Foggy Bottom.
Winged Words might also be read in conjunction with such autobiographical pieces of Native American authors as those in I Tell You Now (Swann and Krupat, 1987).