Južnoslovenski Filolog (2008-01-01)

Idioms containing the lexeme obraz

  • Šipka Milan

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2008, no. 64
pp. 561 – 569


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The present paper addresses a group of idioms such as imati (ili nemati) obraza, pogaziti obraz, osvjetlati obraz and others, which refer to moral reactions and values of shame, honor, righteousness, etc. The question being discus sed in relation to these idioms is why they contain the lexeme obraz 'cheek', which, when used on its own, has a secondary (extended) sense of 'honor', 'righteousness'. As a result of a meticulous analysis the author concludes that those senses stem from the fact that one who commits something shameful usually blushes in his / her cheeks, which makes a cheek a mirror of such feelings of morality. The extended sense of the lexeme obraz developed in such a manner, which in turn conveyed to the idioms containing that lexeme.