Researching an answer for this question, I found a book of regulations of the University of Oxford, dating from the early 19th century. The title is:

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I cannot find the meaning of Parecbolae anywhere. L&S returns nothing. If you google that word, all you get are links to precisely that book! (which, being regulations of a university, was republished over many subsequent years).

I have no clue what it could mean, since clearly it's unrelated to parabola.

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    FWIW, 1) googling parecbola gives tens of excerpta & oxonienses. But I found this XVII century book with 3 occurrences, 2) L&S lists parectatus as a Greek borrowing. Both parec- and -bola seem like Greek roots to me. – Rafael Jul 6 at 14:34
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    @Raphael Yeah, it looked like para- with a mutated vowel but it's really an ellided para- + ek- (Gr. for ex-) + bolē (Gr. for bola). – lly Jul 7 at 6:57
up vote 13 down vote accepted

This is a word transliterated and adapted from Greek παρεκβολή (parekbolḗ), from πᾰρά (para-, "near", but here meaning "placed together") and ἐκβολή (ekbolḗ, "throwing out" but here meaning "something tossed off"), which together can be a "compilation of a set of critical remarks":

παρεκβολή, ἡ,
I. digression, lamb.Bab.8.
II. compilation of a set of critical remarks, as those of Eust. on Homer, Pindar, and Dionysius Periegeta, cf. eund. ad D.P.426; παρεκβολαὶ διαφόρων γραμματικῶν, title of Sch.D.T. in Cod.BMus.Add.5118.
Liddell, Scott, Jones

As the word sive ("or", "or also", "also called") indicates as well, the plural parecbolae is used here as a synonym of excerpta. The author names his work parecbolae, to which he adds excerpta as an explanation or translation for those who might not know the word parecbola.

It might be a fairly late adaptation, for I couldn't find any classical Latin sources. Parécbole is in a Portuguese dictionary: https://www.dicio.com.br/parecbole/ It's also used in a few other languages, amongst which English, but very rarely (Google search results). There is mention of a Parecbole by Eustathius of Thessalonica (a major Byzantine scholar), then the book from the question, and also a gloss describing the meaning of the word in general, through referring to the work by Eustathius. References to parecbolae on/from Aristotle by Theodorus Metochites (another major Byzantine scholar) can be found as well. Then there are a few more results (in addition, no doubt, to other uses of the word outside Google's limited reach).

  • Amazing! So who made the adaptation? Was it a relatively recent adaptation, given that it seems it did not exist in Classical Latin? – luchonacho Jul 6 at 15:33
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    @luchonacho: I have no idea, but it might be a fairly late adaptation, since we couldn't find any classical Latin sources. Parécbole is in a Portuguese dictionary: dicio.com.br/parecbole It's also used in a few other languages, amongst which English, but very rarely: google.com/… – Cerberus Jul 6 at 16:20
  • Not really rarely: all those uses seem to just be mentions of this particular book, making it less than a nonceword. The English cognate seems to be parecbasis & co. – lly Jul 7 at 7:03
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    @lly: Not quite: there is mention of a Parecbole by one Eustathius of Thessalonica, then the book from the question, and also a gloss describing the meaning of the word in general, through referring to the work by Eustathius. References to parecbolae on Aristotle by one Theodorus Metochita(s?) can be found as well, if you expand the search a little bit: google.com/… Then there are a few more results (in addition, no doubt, to other uses of the word outside Google's limited reach). – Cerberus Jul 7 at 14:55
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    @NickNicholas: Sorry! I'm ashamed to admit I know far too little about Byzantine literature (it was somehow never in the curriculum at uni). I was going to look up more information about them but I forgot. I've added your references to my answer. – Cerberus Jul 9 at 3:15

I think there is a clue in the sive which separates the word from excerpta.

Sive was once customarily used to mean 'or' when giving an explanatory sub-title to a more obscure name. For example, the well-known Gradus, popular in various editions and more or less contemporary with your Oxford University example, had the full title Gradus ad Parnassum, sive synonymorum et epithetorum thesaurus.

I deduce that parecbolae is just another word for excerpta. It would not necessarily be classical.

[On a point of information, Fellows of OU had at that time to be in holy orders of the Church of England, and must therefore swear to adhere to the Thirty-Nine Articles of religion referred to.]

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    Does it have a meaning in Greek, perhaps? – Rafael Jul 6 at 13:12
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    @Rafael A Greek origin sounds likely enough, but I have really no idea. – Tom Cotton Jul 6 at 13:23

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