I need a cynosure for my cynosure.
April 15, 2007 4:01 PM   Subscribe

Who said this quote: "Let faith be your cynosure to walk by"?

While looking up the word 'cynosure', I see it on every nearly online definition of the word. I get the feeling that it's an unattributed quote; whatever it is, I really love it. And if it is a quote, I'd like to find out more about it.
posted by spinifex23 to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Wikipedia's Cynosure entry omits it, understandably...
posted by unSane at 4:24 PM on April 15, 2007

Response by poster: I should have specified. I don't mean the fictional world 'Cynosure'.

It's a real word, and here's it's meaning:

"Noun 1. cynosure - something that provides guidance (as Polaris guides mariners); "let faith be your cynosure to walk by"
counseling, counselling, guidance, counsel, direction - something that provides direction or advice as to a decision or course of action
2. cynosure - something that strongly attracts attention and admiration; "if he was the cynosure of all eyes he didn't notice"
center of attention, center - the object upon which interest and attention focuses; "his stories made him the center of the party""
posted by spinifex23 at 5:25 PM on April 15, 2007

Well, google books brings up this:
A Concordance to the Poetical Works of John Milton
by John Bradshaw - 1965 - 412 pages
No preview available

No context, unfortunately.

I checked the OED and it's not a quotation there, however. The following are examples therein, for meaning 2, 'something which serves as a guiding principle, a "guiding star."':

1596 C. FITZGEFFREY Sir F. Drake (1881) 33 The Cynosura of the purest thought, Faire Helicé, by whom the heart is taught.
1649 BP. HALL Cases Consc. (1650) 9 For the guidance of our either caution or liberty..the onely Cynosure is our Charity.
1691 WOOD Ath. Oxon. I. 18 He hath written, The Rudiments of Grammar..the Cynosura for many of our best Grammarians.
1809 MRS. WEST Mother (1810) 225 Thy victor-flag Flames like a steady cynosure.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:26 PM on April 15, 2007

Blast, I've found a copy of the book (admittedly the 1890-something version) and it's not in there. Sorry for getting your hopes up.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:35 PM on April 15, 2007

The data looks like it's in (or from) the WordNet database. From reading their faq, it looks like they may write some of the definitions themselves.

You may have some luck contacting them to see where they got it from.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 12:13 AM on April 16, 2007

Response by poster: Hrm.

WordNet (and the like) seem to be really good at attributing their quotes, if that's what they're using as an example. So I'm going assume that the person who wrote the original definition made it up on the spot, and didn't get it from somewhere else.

Thanks all.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:55 PM on April 18, 2007

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