Homer nods

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Derived from the quote by Horace in Ars Poetica (c. 18 BC), indignor quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus ("I become annoyed when the great Homer is being drowsy"). The English translation "Homer nods" has become standard following Pope (1709), but is due to Dryden (1677).

Phrase[edit]

Homer nods

  1. (idiomatic) Even a great person makes mistakes.
    • 1677 "Horace acknowledges that honest Homer nods sometimes" (Dryden, Preface to The State of Innocence[1])
    • 1709. Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism (poem):
      Those oft are stratagems which errors seem, Nor is it Homer nods, but we that dream. ([2]Essay on Criticism)
    • 1713 "He knows that Homer nods sometimes, and that Faults are found in the best writers." (N. Rowe, A Defence of M. de La Bruyère p. p. 102)
    • 2009. James Taranto, Wall Street Journal, When Pigs Flu, April 27, 2009 [3]:
      And Homer nods: The Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles played in this year's NFC championship, not NFL championship as we said in a Friday follow-up (since corrected).

Translations[edit]