Greek and Latin Roots: Part II - Greek

Greek and Latin Roots
for Science and the Social Sciences



















Sixth Edition (Adapted)
Copyright © Estate of Peter L. Smith




Preface to 5th Edition

It was at the end of the 1980s that I decided to produce an in-house manual for what was then called Classical Studies 250. At that time, the price of our commercial textbook had already soared beyond fifty dollars, and was still climbing. If only for economic reasons, a course manual seemed to make excellent sense.

But cost considerations were not the only factors. Although I regarded our former textbookEli E. Burriss and Lionel Casson, Latin and Greek in Current Use, 2nd edition (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1949). as the best of its kind on the market, it was over forty years old, and was hardly ideal for the Canadian undergraduate of the 1990s. Moreover, it contained too much detail for a thirteen-week course, and had some inaccurate and confusing features.

Probably all of us who teach language and etymology courses get the itch to construct a textbook that perfectly matches our own approach. A successful course manual will obviously reflect the instructor’s methodology and academic priorities. However, a good one should also be well organized, clearly written, and interesting to read. That adds up to a tall order, and I can only hope that I’ve approached the goal.

I invite every student to offer criticisms and suggestions for change. Because this work has now gone through several editions, most of the glaring errors should have been caught; but there is still bound to be room for improvement.  If any explanation is puzzling or confusing, please let me know. If more examples or more exercises are needed, that lack can be remedied. There are now also computer exercises available in the University Language Centre.

Part I of the book covers Latin material. Part II—shorter in length, but no less challenging—deals with Greek. Each section is designed to provide roughly six weeks of instruction, before and after Reading Break.

Students can rest assured that these materials are being sold at cost, with no financial profit to the author or the Department. Indeed, preparation expenses have been absorbed by the Department, and the price reflects only the actual cost of printing and distribution.

Peter L. Smith
University of Victoria
November 1997 (5th Edition)



The legacy of Professor Peter L. Smith at the University of Victoria is great. Born in Victoria, Peter graduated high school with the highest marks in the province and took his undergraduate degrees at Victoria College and the University of British Columbia. Having won the Governor General’s Award he attended Yale University where he wrote his PhD focused on the Roman poet and teacher of rhetoric Ausonius. He then had a brief teaching year in Ottawa, but by the early 1960s Peter was home again and began his professional career as a teacher and administrator with the newly formed University of Victoria. In addition to his Classical scholarship, which focused on Latin lyric poetry and drama, Peter wrote a history of the university, A Multitude of the Wise: UVic Remembered (1994) reflecting on the many transformations he witnessed here as UVic became a world-renowned university. Peter had an exacting but jovial manner that students and colleagues can never forget. His demand for excellence impressed anyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.

The Department of Greek and Roman Studies is extremely happy to have assisted the University of Victoria library staff with the publication of this textbook which served one of the many popular courses Peter taught for our Department. This book would not be possible without the help and support of Peter’s family, and we gratefully acknowledge his wife Mary Jean, his son Dr. Daniel Hinman-Smith, and daughter Sarah Smith.

The open-access publication of this book in digital format, freely available, follows very much in character with Peter’s efforts to enrich the educational life of students of British Columbia. This book serves as a lasting memorial to one of the University of Victoria’s most revered teachers and friends.


Dr. Brendan Burke
Associate Professor and Department Chair
Department of Greek and Roman Studies
University of Victoria


Chapter 15: The Greek Language

§97. The Legacy of Greek

Chapter 15: The Greek Language

In a course on classical roots in English, there are several good reasons to examine the Latin influence first, despite the historical priority of Greek. A primary consideration is the fact that Latin—directly, or through French—has had a far greater impact on standard English vocabulary, at every level of usage. In learning Latin roots, we are often just meeting old and familiar friends in a slightly different guise. Greek, in contrast, is likely to seem rather more exotic, since much of its influence has been felt in technical or academic areas of English usage. To be sure, there is a large stock of common, everyday Greek words in English, as we saw at the very beginning of the course (Part I, §3 and §16). But many of these came into English only after they had been borrowed first by the Romans, in order to fill semantic gaps in Latin. When they entered English, they followed the pattern of Latin loan-words, and you will therefore understand their English form better if you know some Latin.By the same token, it is often essential to know some French in order to understand the final stage in a complex transmission from Greek to Latin to French to English. Although the French influence may appear neglected in the following chapters, that is a deliberate oversimplification that will not seriously misrepresent the historical facts. A familiarity with Latin will now help you in another way. Greek and Latin are strikingly parallel in many aspects of their morphology—noun and adjective declensions, for example. Even though they belonged to different branches of the Indo-European family, the two languages developed side by side as Mediterranean neighbours, so it isn’t surprising that they share common characteristics. This convenient fact means that we can survey many basic features of Greek word formation without laboriously repeating all the steps that we took in the early chapters of Part I.

In tracing Greek vocabulary to its source, we’ll usually be going back in time to a period before the great age of Rome. As the extant evidence of an historical culture, the ancient Greek language is centuries older than Latin. A recognizable form of Greek was spoken and written in the era of the Mycenaean Bronze Age, some 1500 years before the birth of Christ and the rule of Augustus Caesar. Documents from this palace civilization of the second millennium BC, the celebrated “Linear B tablets,” were discovered only in our century, and were revealed in the 1950s to be an early form of the Greek language. The Hellenic world lapsed into illiteracy during the so-called “Dark Age” that followed the collapse of the Bronze-Age kingdoms; but the art of writing Greek was re-invented when a new system of alphabetic symbols was borrowed from the Phoenicians (see §98).

From the 8th to the 4th centuries BC, before Rome emerged as a major force in the Mediterranean world, the Greek city-states enjoyed an astonishing level of intellectual and cultural energy. This was a 400-year period that began with the epic poet Homer, whose Iliad and Odyssey are among the supreme works of world literature, and closed with Aristotle and Alexander the Great—a teacher and his pupil whose combined influence on human history can hardly be overstated.

Any mention of ancient Greece will likely conjure up the image of Athens, the most dynamic and often the most dominant—if not always the most gentle—of the Greek city-states. This democratic polis was the birthplace of all the major dramatists, and enjoyed an unparalleled period of creativity under the great statesman Pericles, in the 5th century BC. Thanks to the fame of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, Athens became also the city most renowned for philosophical and intellectual studies. Still, it would be a serious mistake to equate ancient Greek culture with this one community. The classical city-states extended from Asia Minor and the Black Sea in the east to Sicily and southern Italy in the west. The epic poems of Homer had likely been composed in Ionia (western Turkey in our day); the historian Herodotus, the mathematician-philosopher Pythagoras, and the physician Hippocrates—to name just three great pioneers—all came from that same general area on the eastern fringe of the Greek world. In contrast, such towering figures as Empedocles and Archimedes lived and worked in Sicily, a Greek sphere of influence far to the west.

It would be another grievous error to suppose that Greek civilization ended with Alexander the Great. Many of the intellectual accomplishments reflected today in English vocabulary can be traced to the Hellenistic Age, the period between the death of Alexander and the Roman supremacy. Though Athens continued to play a prominent role in these later centuries, a more important centre of creativity and scholarship was Alexandria, the multicultural capital city from which a Macedonian-Greek dynasty ruled Egypt. Even under Roman rule, the eastern Mediterranean world continued to speak Greek as its first and common language, and Greece still provided traditional intellectual leadership. Centuries later (in AD 330), Byzantium on the Bosporus was chosen by Constantine as the new capital of the Roman Empire; and Constantinople (“Constantine’s polis,” modern Istanbul) became the focal point of a Byzantine civilization that endured until its fall to the Turks in AD 1453. Therefore Greek culture and the Greek language can be viewed as an unbroken continuity extending even to our own day. In considering the Greek linguistic influence on English, however, we are dealing mainly with the archaic, classical and Hellenistic Greek world that preceded the Roman conquest. It was the legacy of this creative period that Rome absorbed and then transmitted to medieval and modern Europe.

In the centuries between Homer and Archimedes, the Greeks had invented almost all the major genres of ancient poetry (most notably, epic, lyric, and drama), and had pioneered such branches of prose literature as history, philosophy, and rhetoric—including specialized vocabulary to express the theoretical and practical aspects of these disciplines. Art and architecture, of course, were areas of major achievement that also had extensive special vocabularies. The same is true of astronomy and mathematics, two fields in which the Greeks excelled. Music and athletics—kindred activities, as many believed—were given conspicuous status in Greek education and society. Medicine, a traditional art whose discovery was credited to the god Asclepius, became a true scientific discipline in the 5th century BC, thanks to Hippocrates and his followers; and Greek physicians still enjoyed international esteem at the time of Galen, in the second century AD.

After the Romans conquered the Mediterranean world, they so absorbed Greek ideas and Greek values that the fusion of cultures is generally viewed as one civilization (called “Greco-Roman,” if not simply “Hellenic”). Because all educated Romans were bilingual in Latin and Greek, hundreds of useful Greek words were taken over and adapted to Latin morphology. These words came especially from fields where the Greeks had shone: the literary and visual arts, philosophy, pure science, mathematics, and medicine.

It was the Romans who passed the cultural legacy of Hellenic civilization to western Europe. In the Middle Ages, the knowledge of Greek declined drastically in the west, and the direct influence of Greek was almost non-existent. However, when Renaissance scholars re-discovered ancient Greek texts, the languages of Europe began to acquire new loan-words from classical Greek. In the medical and biological sciences, in particular, Greek has been the primary source of technical vocabulary every since. The knowledge explosion of the 20th century has greatly intensified this process of linguistic borrowing.

§98. The Greek Alphabet

Chapter 15: The Greek Language

Although the Greek alphabet may seem at first glance to be alien and incomprehensible (“It’s all Greek to me!”), we must realize that it is the origin of our own Roman alphabet, which evolved in central and southern Italy as the result of Greek and Greco-Etruscan influence. Speakers of English generally need only a few days’ practice before becoming perfectly comfortable with the Greek alphabet, which is really very much like our own.

The Greek ALPHABET, so called from the names of its first two letters, was itself adapted from the Phoenician alphabet, probably in the eighth century BC. (This was a rather remarkable adaptation, considering the fact that Phoenician was a Semitic language outside the Indo-European family.) In the early centuries of this new literacy, Greek letter-symbols varied from one regional dialect to the next, including some forms that would later disappear—most notably, a prototype of Q that was called a koppa (Ϙ). Eventually, however, there evolved an alphabet of 24 letters, all written in capitals. The lower-case letter system, which is the more important for our purposes, is a convention that we owe to Byzantine Greek scribes and the pioneer printers of the Renaissance.

Greek Letter  Letter Name Transliteration Examples
A α alpha a δραμα drama
B β bēta b βαθος bathos
Γ γ gamma g γραφη graphē
Δ δ delta d δημος dēmos
E ε epsilon e πεταλον petalon
Z ζ zēta z τραπεζα trapeza
H η ēta ē ἡλιος hēlios
Θ θ thēta th θεατρον theatron
I ι iōta i ἰδιος idios
K κ kappa k  (c) καρδια kardia
Λ λ lambda l λογος logos
M μ mu m μανια mania
N ν nu n ἀντι anti
Ξ ξ xi x ἀξιωμα axiōma
O ο omicron o μονος monos
Π π pi p πολις polis
P ρ rhō r ἀγορα agora
Σ σ  ς sigma s στασις stasis
T τ tau t τραυμα trauma
Υ υ upsilon u  (y) ὑβρις hubris
Φ φ phi ph φιλια philia
X χ chi kh  (ch) χαρακτηρ kharaktēr
Ψ ψ psi ps ψευδω pseudō
Ω ω ōmega ō σωμα sōma


§99. Notes on Letter Formation

Chapter 15: The Greek Language

The following lower-case Greek letters are not likely to cause much trouble, since they closely resemble some printed or written form of their Roman counterparts. They are presented in two different fonts, to demonstrate that their shape can vary according to taste:


You will have noticed that sigma (= s) has two forms: σ at the beginning or in the middle of a word (INITIAL or MEDIAL sigma) and ς at the end of a word (FINAL sigma).

Here are the more difficult or confusing lower-case letters:


Notice these letters that descend below the base-line:


§100. Notes on Classical Greek Pronunciation

Chapter 15: The Greek Language


Alpha (α) and iota (ι) were pronounced very much like Latin a and i (long or short).

Epsilon (ε) and omicron (ο) were always short vowels in Greek, like Latin ĕ and ŏ—very much like the English vowels in get and got.

Eta (η) and omega (ω) were always long vowels, like Latin ē and ō—something like the English sounds in gate and goat. THESE TWO VOWELS SHOULD ALWAYS BE TRANSCRIBED as ē and ō, in order to distinguish them from epsilon and omicron.

Upsilon (υ) was not pronounced like Latin u, but rather like the u in French pur or German grün. The Romans transliterated it as y (i.e., capital upsilon).


β, γ, δ, κ, λ, μ, ν, ξ, π, σ (ς), τ much like English
ζlike dz in English adze
ρlightly trilled (?); at the beginning of words, aspirated as hr or rh
θan aspirated τ = (th), like th in English coathook
φan aspirated π = (ph), like ph in English uphill
χan aspirated κ = (kh), like kh in English backhoe
ψalways pronounced like ps in English capsule, even at the start of words


If a word begins with a vowel, a BREATHING MARK is placed above it to indicate whether or not that vowel is ASPIRATED—that is, whether or not there is an h sound at the start of the word.If a word begins with a diphthong, the breathing mark is placed over the second letter of the diphthong; e.g., αἰ, αὐ, εἰ, εὐ, οἱ, οὑ, υἱ. If the word begins with a capital vowel, the breathing mark is placed to the left of the capital; e.g., ʼAθηυη, ʽOμηρος = Athēnē, Homēros (E Homer). If there is an h sound, the ROUGH BREATHING mark is used (ʽ as in ἡλιος = hēlios). If there is no h sound, the SMOOTH BREATHING mark is used (ʼ as in ἀγορα = agora). One or the other must be present on all such words. Because rho is aspirated at the beginning of words, initial rho is written ῥ as in ῥυθμος = ruthmos or rhythmos.

§101. Transliteration and Latinization

Chapter 15: The Greek Language

The transfer of a Greek word, letter for letter, from the Greek alphabet to the Roman alphabet, is called TRANSLITERATION. The most precise method of doing so was shown earlier in this chapter, by means of the equivalencies in §98. For most letters of the Greek alphabet, the suggested equivalents create no problems: transliterations such as δραμα = drama, βαθος = bathos, and γραφη = graphē are perfectly straightforward, given the principles of pronunciation that we have now examined. However, when we have to deal with the Greek letters κ, χ, ῥ, and υ, we may start to wonder. If we are to be as exact as possible, we ought to transliterate καρδια as kardia, καρακτηρ as kharaktēr, and ῥυθμος as ruthmos. But wouldn’t our English derivatives from these three words suggest the transliterations cardia, charactēr, and rhythmos? In fact, these three alternative versions are perfectly acceptable transliterations, preferred by many authorities. Historically, the Latin language rendered Greek kappa (κ) by the consonant c, chi (χ) by the two Roman letters ch, and aspirated rho (ῥ) by rh; as we saw in §100, Latin represented Greek upsilon (υ) by the Roman letter y. In pondering what to do with these four Greek letters, we must come to terms with the whole question of LATINIZATION, a broader issue which complicates the process of exact transliteration. It is the Latinized spelling of Greek words that will often determine the form of our English derivatives.

The problem can be neatly illustrated by taking a few Greek proper names, either historical or mythological. An exact transliteration of Σωκρατης and Περικλης ought to produce kratēs and Periklēs; but because the Latin language knew these two men as Socrates and Pericles, their names have been spelled with a c for over 2,000 years. Nonetheless, there are Greek purists who prefer the English spellings Sokrates and Perikles, however pedantic that may seem. What are we to do with Aἰσχυλος — Aiskhulos or Aischylos or Aeschylus? The first version is an exact transliteration; the second can also be described as a transliteration, using Roman alphabet conventions (χ = ch, υ = y); but the third is a full-blown LATINIZATION, where a Greek diphthong (αι) has been spelled as its Latin counterpart (ae), and where the Greek noun ending -ος has been rendered by the equivalent Latin declension form (-us). Examine the following cases, and observe how the Latinized form has affected the traditional English spelling:

 ʼAχιλλευς  Akhilleus  Achilleus  Achilles  Achilles
 Mυκηναι  Mukēnai  Mykēnai  Mycenae  Mycenae
 Tηλεμαχος  Tēlemakhos  Tēlemachos  Telemachus  Telemachus
 Θουκυδιδης  Thoukudidēs  Thoukydidēs  Thucydides  Thucydides
Oὐρανος Ouranos Ouranos Uranus Uranus
 ʼAπολλων  Apollōn  Apollōn  Apollo  Apollo
 ʽHφαιστος  Hēphaistos  Hēphaistos  Hephaestus  Hephaestus
 ʽPοδος  Rodos  Rhodos  Rhodos (-us)

From this small sampling it will be obvious that Latinization went far beyond the four simple conventions that we noted above (κ = c, χ = ch, ῥ to rh, and υ = y). In modifying the spelling of Greek words that they brought into Latin, the Romans were mainly trying to represent, in an accurate and familiar form, the sounds that they heard in Greek. For example, the Greek diphthong αι sounded to them exactly like their own Latin diphthong ae, whereas the Greek diphthong ου apparently sounded very much like the Latin vowel u. In addition, the ending of a Greek noun might be adapted to the parallel Latin noun declension. Occasionally, the Latin version evolved into a completely new word: thus the Romans knew the Homeric hero ʼOδυσσευς (Odysseus) as Ulixes or Ulysses, and changed the name of his fellow-warrior Aἰας (Aias) to Aiax (E Ajax); similarly, they transformed the Queen of Troy from ʽEκαβη (Hekabē) to Hecuba, and they came to know the great ʽHρακλης (Hēraklēs) as Hercules. Today, in a Greek context, we usually refer to him as Herakles or Heracles; in a Roman context, the name is Hercules.

There was one special circumstance where the Greek consonant gamma (γ) was represented not by Roman g, but by Roman n—a surprising change, one might suppose. Again, however, the Romans were simply using phonetic spelling. In classical Greek, whenever gamma occurred before another palatal consonant (γ, κ, χ, or ξ), it was nasalized, changing in sound from [g] to [ŋ]. The principle can be illustrated as follows:

G ἀγγελος L angelus
G ἐγκωμιον L encomium
G κογχη L concha
G λαρυγξ L larynx

The exact transliteration of the four Greek words would be aggelos, egkōmion, kogkhē, and larugx. These precise versions, however, are almost unreadable and unpronounceable in the Roman alphabet. Even a purist might here be tempted to use the n convention, and write angelos, enkōmion, konkhē and larunx. It would be standard and acceptable to transliterate the last two as konchē and larynx.

If you are asked to give a TRANSLITERATION of a Greek word, you can normally use your own judgement in choosing between the exact and the conventional Roman alphabet options.Major English-language reference works differ in their preference for exact or conventional Greek transliteration. Very few dictionaries favour a rigidly exact system, though professional Greek scholars are increasingly moving in that direction. Under no circumstances, however, should you change diphthong spellings or word endings. By doing so, you would be definitely crossing the boundary between TRANSLITERATION and LATINIZATION. Try to keep the two procedures separate.

When we examine Greek noun declensions, we’ll see how Latinization affected the word-endings of Greek words adopted into Latin. For reference purposes, here is a summary of changes caused by the LATINIZATION OF GREEK DIPHTHONGS:

αι ai   >   ae G αἰθηρ, δαιμων L aethēr, daemōn
αυ no change αὐτογραφος autographus
ει ei   >   ī
ei   >   ē
εἰκων, εἰρωνεια


īcōn, īrōnīa


ευ no change εὐχαριστια eucharistia
οι oi   >   oe ἀμοιβη, Φοιβος amoeba, Phoebus
ου ou   >   ū μουσα, ʼEπικουρος mūsa, Epicūrus


§102. Exercises, Chapter 15

Chapter 15: The Greek Language

A.WITHOUT USING ANY LATIN SPELLING CONVENTIONS, transliterate EXACTLY from the Greek alphabet to the Roman. Mark long vowels wherever appropriate.

1. ἀγων ______________________________
2. χορος ______________________________
3. σκηνη ______________________________
4. γενεσις ______________________________
5. ἐξοδος ______________________________
6. ψυχη ______________________________
7. κλιμαξ ______________________________
8. κωλον ______________________________
9. θωραξ ______________________________
10. μαθηματικα ______________________________
11. μητροπολις ______________________________
12. φαινομενον ______________________________
13. λαβυρινθος ______________________________
14. χρυσανθεμον ______________________________
15. ζωδιακος ______________________________
16. παθητικος ______________________________
17. ὀλιγαρχια ______________________________
18. ὁριζων ______________________________
19. δυσπεψια ______________________________
20. Σισυφος ______________________________
21. ’Αφροδιτη ______________________________
22. ’Ωκεανος ______________________________
23. Εὐριπιδης ______________________________
24. ‘Ομηρος ______________________________

B. Transliterate from the Roman to the Greek alphabet, marking all breathings:

1. barbaros ______________________________
2. katharsis ______________________________
3. aretē ______________________________
4. mimēsis ______________________________
5. turannos ______________________________
6. moira ______________________________
7. aristeia ______________________________
8. parenthesis ______________________________
9. antithesis ______________________________
10. katastrophē ______________________________
11. rhododendron ______________________________
12. xenophobia ______________________________
13. arakhnophobia ______________________________
14. kharaktēr ______________________________
15. exēgēsis ______________________________
16. orkhēstra ______________________________
17. prōton ______________________________
18. phusikon ______________________________
19. hubris ______________________________
20. Sophoklēs ______________________________
21. Gorgias ______________________________
22. Dēmosthenēs ______________________________
23. Alexandros ______________________________
24. Hellēspontos ______________________________

For Key to Exercises (Greek), see Appendix III.


Chapter 16: The Greek Noun (Declensions 1 and 2)

§103. An Overview of the 1st and 2nd Declensions

Chapter 16: The Greek Noun (Declensions 1 and 2)

At the start of Chapter 15 (§97), it was mentioned that Greek morphology (word formation) is often closely parallel to Latin. If you recall the patterns of the 1st and 2nd noun declensions in Latin—or if you are prepared to review them now—you will find the transition to Greek relatively easy. For historical reasons, we must be aware of these linguistic correspondences, since they explain the form that many Greek nouns assumed after they had been Latinized in the Roman alphabet.

Here is a table that summarizes the 1st and 2nd declension noun endings in Latin and Greek. The Greek 2nd declension, as you can see, is precise and straightforward in its correspondence with its Latin counterpart. The 1st declension is rather more complicated, and its various endings will not make much sense until we have looked at a few examples.

1st Declension 2nd Declension
Gender Feminine Masculine Masculine Neuter
LATIN a (-a) -us -um
GREEK or -α -ης -ος -ον

Except to help remember declension categories, you needn’t worry very much about NOUN GENDER. However, you will recall that almost all native Latin 1st declension nouns in -a are feminine. In Greek, we’ll see that the -η and -α types are always feminine, but that there are quite a few nouns in -ης, a masculine word-ending. These were sometimes Latinized as 1st declension masculine loan-words in –a. The grammatical gender of the 2nd declension is parallel in both languages: most nouns in -us (Latin) or -ος (Greek) are masculine, and all nouns in -um (Latin) or -ον (Greek) are neuter.

In both the 1st and 2nd declensions, a noun BASE is identified by removing its characteristic ending. In this respect, Greek is exactly analogous to Latin.

§104. Greek Nouns of the First Declension

Chapter 16: The Greek Noun (Declensions 1 and 2)

There are Greek nouns of the 1st declension that appear in English without change in form (other than conventional transliteration into the Roman alphabet). Some are proper names derived from Greek mythology: Aphrodite (’Αφροδιτη), Hera (‘Ηρα), Athene or Athena (’Αθηνη, ’Αθηνα), Daphne (Δαφνη, Apollo’s beloved, transformed into a laurel), Penelope (Πηνελοπη or  Πηνελοπεια, wife of Odysseus), Lethe (Ληθη, the river of forgetfulness). A few others are English common nouns: mania (μανια, “madness”), orchestra (ὀρχηστρα, “dancing place”), psyche (ψυχη, “spirit,” “soul”), acme (ἀκμη, “[highest] point”).A strange doublet of acme is acne, that dread scourge of the adolescent complexion. Although the etymology is obscure, acne seems to have evolved as a corruption of the correct spelling. More often, however, Greek nouns entered English after Latin adaptation; their derivative forms may also include suffixes from Greek and/or Latin.

Here is a sampling of 1st declensions nouns ending in -η and -α:

GK. NOUN TRANSLITERATIONThese vocabulary tables will use the following conventional transliterations: κ > k, χ > ch, υ > y, and initial ῥ > rh. ENG. MEANING ENG. DERIVATIVE
γη (base gē-) earth geography
κεφαλε kephalē head cephalic
μορφη morphē form morphology
τεχνη technē art, skill technical
φωνη phōnē voice, sound phonograph
ψυχη psychē breath, spirit, soul psychology
γλωσσα glōssa tongue gloss, glossary
     (γλωττα)      (glōtta) (polyglot)
καρδια kardia heart cardiac
μουσα mousa muse music, musical
σφαιρα sphaira ball, globe spherical

Ancient Greek was a language with many dialects—a reflection of the geographical and political fragmentation of early Greek society. In the epic dialect of Homer and Hesiod, the word for “earth” was γαια (gaia), often personified as Γαια (Gaia) or “Mother Earth.” In Attic (Athenian) dialect, however, the word was γη; and this is the form in which it has influenced English vocabulary. The forms γλωσσα and γλωττα also reflect variations in dialect. In its Latin usage, glossa came to mean an “unusual word”; to gloss a text, therefore, was to explain an unusual word, and a glossary (< L glossarium) was a place in which to find unusual words.

The last two words on the list illustrate the pervasive influence of Latin. From Homer and his successors, Roman poets inherited the concept of the Muse as the source of literary inspiration. (Indeed, there were nine separate Muses, the daughters of Mnēmosynē [Μνημοσυνη], whose name meant “Memory.”) By a standard principle of Latinization (diphthong ου > ū, §101), Greek μουσα became Latin mūsa, and the English root mus- can thus be said to have a Greco-Latin pedigree. Similarly, the Romans borrowed the Greek word σφαιρα as Latin sphaera, with the minor adaptation of diphthong αι > ae.

Among 1st declension Greek masculine nouns in -ης”, many are proper names like Σωκρατης, Περικλης, ’Αριστοφανης, Θουκυδιδης (Socrates, Pericles, Aristophanes, Thucydides). Here are several common nouns that received predictable treatment in Latin:

G ναυτης nautēs “sailor” > L nauta
χαρτης khartēs “sheet of papyrus” chartaLike other Greek 1st declension nouns in -ης, χαρτης was masculine in gender. It is unusual that the Latin adaptation charta should be a feminine noun; nauta, cometa, and planeta are all masculine.
κομητης komētēs “long-haired” [star] comēta
πλανητης planētēs “wanderer” planēta

An Argonaut (< ’Αργοναυτης) was a sailor on Jason’s fabulous ship, the Argo. By analogy, we have the modern coinages cosmonaut and astronaut (a “universe-sailor” and a “star-sailor,” respectively). Latin comēta and planēta entered French as comète and planète, whence their English forms comet and planet.

§105. The Greek Adjective-forming Suffix -ικος (> E -ic)

Chapter 16: The Greek Noun (Declensions 1 and 2)

Before going any further, it will be helpful for you to learn how the Greek language turned nouns into adjectives. Earlier in the course, we saw that this was quite a complex problem in Latin—it formed the subject matter of a whole chapter (Part I, Chapter 5). You may be relieved to discover that the principle is much simpler in Greek.

The straightforward rule for turning a Greek noun into an adjective is to add -ικος to the noun base; this will produce an English derivative in -ic:

κεφαλη “head” κεφαλικος “pertaining to the head” > E cephalic
φωνη “voice” φωνικος “pertaining to the voice” phonic
ψυχη “soul” ψυχικος “pertaining to the soul” psychic
μουσα “muse” μουσικος “pertaining to the muse” music

There is only one exception to this rule, and it is phonetically consistent. If the noun base ends in the vowel iota (ι), the adjective forming suffix is not -ικος but -ακος; in this case, the English derivative will end in -ac:

καρδι-α “heart” καρδι-ακος “pertaining to the heart” > E cardiac

As you have perhaps noticed already, there is an odd complication to this otherwise very easy rule. Because of the profound influence of Latin on all English vocabulary, our English adjectival derivatives from Greek nouns often display the suffix -al, which you will shrewdly (and correctly) identify as the legacy of the Latin suffix –alis. Thus the Greek adjective σφαιρικος (“like a ball”) has acquired an extra syllable in assuming its English form spherical. Educated ancient Romans would have shunned such redundant hybrids; the extra suffix has usually been added by speakers of English. But sometimes there was a good historical reason for the additional element; for example, once the feminine adjective musica (> E music) had become a Late Latin noun, the adjective musicalis (> E musical) made perfectly good sense. In English, it is not uncommon to find the pure Greek derivative co-existing with its hybrid counterpart. Thus the 1st declension Greek noun λυρα (“lyre”) has two English adjectival derivatives: lyric (< G λυρικος) and lyrical, with the hybrid Latin suffix added. Both words appear to have entered English in the same year (1581). The similar English pair of adjectives comic and comical are derived from a 2nd declension Greek noun (κωμος); comical is actually the older of the two English words.

§106. Greek Nouns of the Second Declension

Chapter 16: The Greek Noun (Declensions 1 and 2)

When we first met Latin masculine nouns of the 2nd declension, we noticed a good many (like circus, focus, and stimulus) that have come into English without any change in form. There are extremely few unchanged derivatives from the Greek -ος declension, though the English word cosmos (“universe”) is very close to its Greek etymon, κοςμος. This is only because the noun κοςμος was not used as a Latin loan-word. When the Romans borrowed nouns of this type, they consistently adapted the ending to the Latin 2nd declension -us, and made other standard changes in spelling:

G χορος khoros “dance,” “chorus” > L chorus
ἰσθμος isthmos “neck of land” isthmus
Οὐρανος Ouranos “Sky” [a god] Uranus
ὑμνος humnos “festive song” hymnus
θρονος thronos “elevated seat” thronus

In the English derivatives hymn and throne, we can recognize common patterns of Anglicizing Latin words that we first met in Part I, §14.

Here are some useful 2nd declension Greek nouns in -ος:

ἀνθρωπος anthrōpos man (= human) anthropology
βιος bios life biology
γαμος gamos marriage bigamy
δακτυλος daktylos finger dactyl
δημος dēmos people demography
θεος theos god monotheism
κυκλος kyklos wheel, circle cycle
λιθος lithos stone lithograph
νεκρος nekros
corpse necropolis
ξενος xenos
stranger xenophobia
οἰκος oikos
house ecology
ὀφθαλμος ophthalmos
eye ophthalmologist
τοπος topos
place topic
χρονος chronos time chronicle

Most of the compound derivatives—words with endings like -logy, -graphy, and -phobia —will be explained in the next chapter. Notice the English adjectives dactylic, cyclic, ophthalmic, topic, and chronic; these are all regular derivatives from Greek forms in -ικος. (English cyclical and topical show the extra Latin suffix.)

ζωον zōon animal zoology
θεατρον theatron viewing-place theatre
κεντρον kentron
sharp point, goad centre
μετρον metron measure metre, metric
νευρον neuron sinew, [nerve] neurology
ὀργανον organon
tool, instrument organ
ὀστεον osteon bone osteopath
πτερον pteron feather, wing pterodactyl


§107. Interesting Words

Chapter 16: The Greek Noun (Declensions 1 and 2)

There are some Greek 1st declension nouns that have entered English with only a minimum of change. Though it comes through French from Latin zona, our word zone is derived ultimately from Greek ζωνη (zōnē), “belt,” “sash,” “girdle.” The word πληθωρη (plēthōrē) meant “fullness” or “satiety”; we use its Latin adaptation plethora to describe a superabundance or excess of something—as in “Canada has had a plethora of Royal Commissions.” The shellfish κογχη (Latin concha) is the source of the English conch. The precious resin μυρρα (L myrrhaWhen double rho occurred in the middle of a word, the first ρ was unaspirated and the second ρ carried a rough breathing: μυῤῥα. This combination of sounds was represented in Latin by he letters -rrh-.) was the myrrh given by the Magi to the infant Christ. And the χιμαιρα, a goat-lion-serpent monster of Homeric legend, has lent its name to the English chimera (or chimaera), a “wild fancy,” and chimeric(al), “fanciful.”

Because the Greeks began the tradition of western drama, it should be no surprise that a great many theatrical words are of Greek origin. So far, we have seen theatre (θεατρον), orchestra (ὀρχηστρα), and chorus (χορος). We could add the 1st declension noun σκηνη (skēnē), the stage building that served as the backdrop for early Attic tragedies; the Romans adapted this as scaena (not an exact transliteration), and of course the word became scene in English.Our word scenario is an Italian derivative of the Latin scaenarium. The area in front of the skēnē was known as the προσκηνιον (proskēnion), a word that was regularly Latinized as proscenium. The English word actor is a pure Latin agent noun (Part I, §73). The Greek word for “actor” was ὑποκριτης (hypokritēs), a 1st declension masculine noun that meant “answerer”—because the actor replied to the words of the chorus. If someone plays an actor’s role in real life, he may be considered a hypocrite.

Two common Greek nouns that generated an amazing number of English derivatives were the 1st declension χαρτης (“sheet of papyrus”) and the 2nd declension δισκος. From the first came chart, card (< L charta), charter (< L chartula), cartel (< Ital. cartello), carton, cartoon (< Ital. cartone), cartouche and cartridge (< Ital. cartoccio). From δισκος came discus, disc, disk, dish, desk, and dais.

Greek neuter nouns of the type θεατρον, κεντρον, and μετρον became theatrum, centrum, and metrum in their Latin adaptations. After French transmission, these Latin words assumed an English spelling in –re: theatre, centre, and metre. Since the time of Noah Webster’s reforms, however, the words have had an –er ending in American usage. Originally, κεντρον denoted a sharp spur or goad; it was the Greek equivalent of the Latin stimulus. From the sharp point of the compass, it acquired the force of “centre,” the only meaning that it carried in its Latin form centrum. The English word concentric (“having a centre together with”) uses the Latin prefix con- and the standard Greek adjectival suffix.

The noun ἀνθρωπος denotes a human beinglike Latin homo (cf. homo sapiens). In the long tradition of the English language, this generic concept has always been rendered by the word man—an ambiguous term, since man means also the male human being (Greek ἀνηρ, ἀνδρος; Latin vir). Quite understandably, modern feminist concerns have brought this usage into disrepute, and we are urged to replace the generic man with human (and mankind with humankind). However worthy the motive, it will be hard to purge the English language of a strong Germanic word so steeped in literary and popular tradition.

The 2nd declension noun ξενος (xenos, “stranger”) is one of the oldest and most highly charged words in the Greek language. From the time of the prehistoric Bronze Age that is reflected in the epic poems of Homer, the stranger was viewed as someone under the protection of the god Zeus, and a person who must be treated with the utmost cordiality and respect. Reverence for strangers became a central feature of the creed of hospitality that has continued to be a powerful force in Greece through some four millennia of human history. As a result of this attractive belief, the word ξενος came to mean not only “stranger,” but also “guest” and “host” (= L hospes, hospitis). The reciprocal guest-host relationship is characterized by what the Greeks still call philoxenia (“love of strangers,” “hospitality”); it is an attitude that leaves no room for xenophobia.

The word χρονος (khronos, “time”) has many English derivatives—chronic,The Greek adjective χρονικος is etymologically parallel to the Latin temporalis, in the sense that they both mean "pertaining to time." The English derivatives chronic and temporal are not exact synonyms, but they do retain this etymological kinship. We can find other such pairs of bilingual Greek-Latin parallels; for example, G phonic and L vocal, which both mean "pertaining to the voice." More surprising, perhaps, is the etymological kinship between G psychic and L animal (or spiritual?). chronicle (< χρονικα), chronology, chronometer (“time-measure”), and the like. In its form and pronunciation, this Greek word was very close to the unrelated name of the god Κρονος (Kronos), father and predecessor of the Olympians Zeus, Hera, and Poseidon. Kronos, divine king of the generation of Titans, had assumed heavenly power through a singularly violent act: in league with his mother Gaia (Earth), he castrated his father OuranosAs we have already seen, this Greek name was adapted in Latin as Uranus. The Roman god who was the counterpart of Kronos gave his name to another planet in our solar system-Saturnus or Saturn. (Sky), emasculating this unfortunate deity by means of a sickle. As Greek mythology evolved, Χρονος and Κρονος became confused and conflated, and the symbolic representation of Time acquired the iconography of the divine Titan. This, we think, is the origin of that wicked scythe in the hands of Father Time. He’s a Grim Reaper, indeed; any man who sees him coming would be wise to run in the opposite direction!

§108. Exercises, Chapter 16

Chapter 16: The Greek Noun (Declensions 1 and 2)

A.In order to test your knowledge of Greek capital letters, exactly transliterate the following proper names. Mark long vowels wherever appropriate.

1. ‘ΕΛΛΑΣ  ______________________________
2. ΖΕΥΣ  ______________________________
3. ΔΗΜΗΤΗΡ  ______________________________
4. ‘ΗΡΟΔΟΤΟΣ  ______________________________
5. ΣΑΠΦΩ  ______________________________
6. ΚΥΚΛΩΨ  ______________________________
7. ΠΑΝΔΩΡΑ  ______________________________
8. ’ΗΧΩ  ______________________________
9. ΝΑΡΚΙΣΣΟΣ  ______________________________
10. ’ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ  ______________________________
11. ΜΑΘΘΑΙΟΣ  ______________________________
12. ΜΑΡΚΟΣ  ______________________________
13. ΛΟΥΚΑΣ  ______________________________
14. ’ΙΩΑΝΝΗΣ  ______________________________

B.Write the following words in the Roman alphabet, spelling them as they would appear after regular adaptation into Latin (i.e., the “Latinized” forms):

1. σταδιον  ______________________________
2. ἀμοιβη  ______________________________
3. Βακχος  ______________________________
4. γαγγραινα  ______________________________
5. Οἰδιπους  ______________________________
6. κρανιον  ______________________________
7. Δαιδαλος  ______________________________
8. Λιβυη  ______________________________

For Key to Exercises (Greek), see Appendix III.


Chapter 17: Compound Words in Greek

§109. General Principles of Greek Compounds

Chapter 17: Compound Words in Greek

Before reading this chapter, you may wish to review Part I, §91 and §92, where compound words were first introduced in the Latin section of our course.

The fact that we are dealing with Greek compounds at such an early stage is a signal of their greater importance in English vocabulary, relative to Latin. English words that contain two separate Latin bases (deification, manufacture, carnivora, etc.) represent only a small fraction of the thousands of Latin derivatives in our language. However, English words with multiple Greek bases probably comprise our largest category of Greek derivatives. The Greek language itself was unusually rich in compounds, and those who have turned to Greek for modern borrowings have exploited that word-building capacity. Greek compounds are especially prominent in the technical language of biology, medicine, and other scientific disciplines. They may combine various parts of speech: noun + noun, adjective + noun, noun + verb, etc. Perhaps you already know the etymological meanings for many of these compounds—words like dermatology, democracy, or pyromania; but you may need a little help with examples such as rhododendron or nephrolithotomy.

One important principle to notice is the use of the CONNECTING VOWEL omicron (ο = English o), which is as much the norm in Greek as the connecting vowel -i- is the rule in Latin. Notice the role of this connecting vowel o to link the base elements in the Greek compounds just mentioned:

dermatology dermat-o-logy “study of the skin”
democracy dem-o-cracy “government by the people”
pyromania pyr-o-mania “fire madness”
rhododendron rhod-o-dendron “rose tree”
nephrolithotomy nephr-o-lith-o-tomy “cutting (removal) of kidney stones”

The connecting vowel is present for reasons of euphony: it is needed to permit a smooth phonetic transition from one base to the next. It is not required, therefore, when the second base begins with a vowel, as in the word hierarchy (hier-archy, “sacred rule”). Also there are some words where (for various reasons) the final vowel of the first word-base is retained; a good example is agoraphobia (agora-phobia, “fear of the market-place”). The final -e (epsilon) of the adverb τηλε (tēle, “far,” “far off”) is kept in compounds like tele-phone (“far voice”), tele-pathy (“far feeling”), and the Greek-Latin hybrid tele-vision (“sight from afar”).

The hyphenated word-divisions in the last paragraph represent a very simple method of compound WORD ANALYSIS. Probably the most important step in understanding the structure of these Greek compound derivatives is getting the hyphens in the right place.In normal usage, we use the hyphen to divide a word into syllables; here we are dividing the word into morphological components. Don't confuse the two procedures. That isn’t always as easy as it may seem. Because you know that βιος means “life,” you may be tempted to assume that biology can be analysed as bio-logy, “the study of life.” However, the 2nd declension noun βιος loses its -ος ending in yielding the base βι-; and therefore the English compound should be divided as bi-o-logy. That is the reason why zoology (zō-o-logy) ought not to be pronounced “zoo-ology.” Sometimes the division points in a Greek compound can be very surprising. If you asked a random group of intelligent people to divide the word helicopter into its elements, most of them would probably assume it was a heli-copter, whatever that meant—a “sun-beater,” maybe? In fact, this Greek compound derivative is a helic-o-pter, a “spiral wing” (from ἑλιξ, ἑλικ-ος, “spiral,” the connecting vowel omicron, and πτερον, “wing”). It was a precise and ideal name for that type of aircraft; amazingly enough, the word came into English way back in 1872, via the French hélicoptère.

§110. Some Common Greek Combining Forms

Chapter 17: Compound Words in Greek

The main objective of this chapter will be to introduce several standard forms that are often combined with other bases in English compounds derived from Greek. By learning a handful of these elements, we can demystify literally hundreds of English words. With even the limited Greek noun vocabulary now at our disposal, we’ll then have a precise understanding of many specialized compounds that might previously have seemed obscure or incomprehensible.

The following list of word-building elements consists, for the most part, of noun or verb bases to which have been added the abstract noun suffix -ια (-ia). The form -logia, for example, can be explained as λογ- + -ια. Unlike μανια, which existed as an independent noun, -λογια was used only as a combining form in Greek—always in the second position, as in θεολογια (the-o-log-ia, E theology). Quite clearly, -λογια should not be described as a suffix, though its derivative –logy may have assumed the status of a virtual suffix in the English language.The same can be said of -graphy. A word like βιογραφια, which actually existed in ancient Greek, consists of the two bases βι- and γραφ-, the connecting vowel -ο-, and the abstract noun suffix -ια. Thus the derivative can be analysed as bi-o-graph-ia. However, most English compounds of this type were never Greek words, and look silly if written in the Greek alphabet.

In this list, the declension number of the noun base is often identified as (1), (2M), (2N), and (3); the 2nd declension is subdivided into -os (2M) and -on (2N) types.

1. -logia > English -logy: “study of”; “science of”
(1) ge-o-logy, cardi-o-logy, morph-o-logy, phon-o-logy, psych-o-logy, techn-o-logy
(2M) anthrop-o-logy, bi-o-logy, chron-o-logy, dendr-o-chron-o-logy, cosm-o-logy, ec-o-logy, necr-o-logy, ophthalm-o-logy, the-o-logy, top-o-logy
(2N) etym-o-logy, neur-o-logy, zo-o-logy
(3) anth-o-logy (here -logia means “collection”), dermat-o-logy, ethn-o-logy, gynec-o-logy, odont-o-logy
This is a brief sample of a huge class of compound derivatives.
2. -graphia > English -graphy: “writing”; “art or science of writing”
(1) ge-o-graphy
(2M) bi-o-graphy, dem-o-graphy, cosm-o-graphy, lith-o-graphy, top-o-graphy
(3) phot-o-graphy, chromat-o-graphy
cf. -graphos (> E -graph): cardi-o-graph, phot-o-graph
-gramma (> E -gram): cardi-o-gram, tele-gram
3. -metria > English -metry: “measurement”; “art or science of measurement”
(1) ge-o-metry
(2M) chron-o-metry
(3) phot-o-metry
cf. -metron (> E -meter): chron-o-meter; bar-o-meter, therm-o-meter
4. -nomia > English -nomy: “law”; “system of laws”
ec-o-nomy (< οἰκος); gastr-o-nomy (also agronomy, astronomy)
5. -mania > English -mania: “madness”
pyr-o-mania (also bibliomania, dipsomania, egomania, kleptomania, megalomania, monomania, nymphomania)
cf. -maniakos (> E -maniac, both adjective and noun)
6. -philia > English -philia: “love”: necr-o-philia, hem-o-philia
cf. -philos (> E -phile): angl-o-phile, franc-o-phile, bibli-o-phile, ped-o-phile
phil-: phil-anthropy, phil-o-logy (“love of words”), phil-o-sophy, phil-hellene
7. -phobia > English -phobia: “fear”
acr-o-phobia, agora-phobia, hom-o-phobia, hydr-o-phobia, necr-o-phobia, xen-o-phobia, claustr-o-phobia (L hybrid, < claustrum, “closed place”)
cf. -phobos (> E -phobe), “fearer”: angl-o-phobe, franc-o-phobe, xen-o-phobe
8. -skopos > English -scope: “instrument for viewing”
fluor-o-scope, gyr-o-scope, hor-o-scope, micr-o-scope, peri-scope, stere-o-scope, tele-scope, steth-o-scope, spectr-o-scope
cf. -skopia (> E -scopy): tele-scopy, arthr-o-scopy, etc.
9. -archia > English -archy: “rule”
hier-archy, patri-archy, matri-archy, mon-archy, olig-archy
cf. -archēs or -archos (> E -arch), “ruler”: patri-arch, mon-arch, etc.
arch- or archi-  (“chief”): arch-angel, archi-tect, archi-pelago
10. -kratia > English -cracy: “power,” “government,” “rule”
arist-o-cracy, dem-o-cracy, gynec-o-cracy, techn-o-cracy, the-o-cracy
cf. -kratēs (> E -crat): arist-o-crat, aut-o-crat, dem-o-crat, plut-o-crat, techn-o-crat, the-o-crat

You should not expect to understand at once all the examples given above. Those that are based on 3rd declension nouns will obviously make better sense after Chapter 18. Others involve adjective bases to be studied in Chapter 19.

§111. Interesting Words

Chapter 17: Compound Words in Greek

Appropriately enough, the “study of humankind”—anthropology—appears to be the earliest of the “-ologies” to have entered the English language, in 1593. Originally, it was used to describe human enquiry in the broadest sense; its modern application to a more limited field dates from about 1860. There are now hundreds of academic disciplines and other studies that use this Greek word-building element, -λογια. If you are confronted with one that is unfamiliar to you, the challenge, of course, will be to identify the etymological meaning of the element that precedes the “-ology.” Even in the 20th century, the tradition is generally maintained that this element should be derived from Greek; recent hybrids like the jewellers’ gemmology (< L gemma) are rather exceptional.

You have met the noun base of metrology, the study of weights and measures. The study of causes, either medical or mythical, is aetiology (etiology).G αἰτια (“cause”) > L aetia; English usage varies on the further reduction of the diphthong ae > e. Of particular interest to theologians and philosophers is eschatology, the study of last things—such as death and final judgement. Here are a few other examples that have a good Greek pedigree:

dendrology the study of trees ombrology the study of rain
limnology the study of lakes penology the study of punishment
herpetology the study of reptiles oenology the study of wine
eremology the study of deserts cartologyFrom its Latinate spelling, this form might be identified as a hybrid; if strictly Greek, it ought to have been chartology. The word is modelled on cartography (1859), which was also spelled chartography. the study of maps

Compounds ending in -meter (< G μετρον) are measurement devices. The first element of barometer means “weight” or “pressure”; the instrument measures air pressure. Although their measurement function differs, the hybrid speedometer is an etymological equivalent of a tachometer. What does an anemometer measure? A sphygmomanometer?

Many of us suffer from phobias. The film Arachnophobia popularized one such affliction, named after ἀραχνη or ἀραχνης, the 1st declension Greek word for “spider.” According to an aetiological myth, Arachne was an arrogant young weaver, who was changed into a spider because of her foolish wish to rival the goddess of weaving, Athena. Though phobias are a serious matter, some of the descriptive labels are tongue-in-cheek. You may have encountered tris-kai-deka-phobia, a morbid fear of the number thirteen. Laurence J. Peter (author of The Peter Principle) defined papyrophobia (< G παπυρος, L papyrus) as “an abnormal desire for a clean desk.” (In a brilliant play on pyromania, he also coined the word papyromania, “the compulsive accumulation of papers.”) Other facetious and improbable coinages have included zonasphalophobia (“fear of seat-belts”), opsogalactophobia (“fear of omelettes”), and even pectocarpochylophobia (“fear of Jello”).

To judge by Greek compound derivatives, the opposite of love (φιλ-) may be either fear (φοβ-) or hate (μισ-).The parenthetical forms are the Greek roots, which may occur in both noun and verb bases. For our purposes, we needn’t worry whether the source of the compound was a noun or a verb. Thus we have the antonyms anglophile and anglophobe—one who loves or fears the English. Often the phil- element comes first, as in philharmonic, “loving harmony” (ἁρμονια), philhellene, “lover of Greece,” and philanthropist, “lover of humanity.” The opposite of philanthropist is misanthrope. An aberration as old as time (alas!) is misogyny, male hatred of women (root γυν-). There now exists a counterpart word misandry, female hatred of men (root ἀνδρ-). It would be a better world if all members of both sexes practised philanthropy (φιλανθρωπια).

§112. Exercises, Chapter 17

Chapter 17: Compound Words in Greek

A.Write in Greek the 1st or 2nd declension noun that forms the first element in each of the following compounds, and provide its English meaning:

e.g., phonology φωνη voice
1. anthropology  ____________________   ____________________
2. geometry   ____________________   ____________________
3. demography   ____________________   ____________________
4. theosophy   ____________________   ____________________
5. ecology   ____________________   ____________________
6. ophthalmology   ____________________   ____________________
7. organology   ____________________   ____________________
8. cardiography   ____________________   ____________________
9. technocracy   ____________________   ____________________
10. zoology   ____________________   ____________________
11. psychometric   ____________________   ____________________
12. osteopathy   ____________________   ____________________

B.Using a dictionary if necessary, give the etymological meaning of the following:

e.g., lithography stone writing
1. etymology  ______________________________
2. chronometry  ______________________________
3. bibliomania  ______________________________
4. economy  ______________________________
5. telescopy  ______________________________
6. oligarchy  ______________________________
7. necromancy  ______________________________
8. philosophy  ______________________________

For Key to Exercises (Greek), see Appendix III.


Chapter 18: The Greek Noun (Declension 3)

§113. Stem and Base in the Greek Third Declension

Chapter 18: The Greek Noun (Declension 3)

Because the Greek 3rd declension is quite closely parallel to its Latin 3rd declension counterpart, you will understand why nouns of this class may have bases that are not apparent from their nominative (vocabulary) forms—cf. rex, REG-is and nomen, NOMIN-is, where the Latin bases are capitalized. In Latin, the noun stem that precedes the -is ending of the genitive case is regularly used as the BASE for all derivative words. In Greek, where the 3rd declension genitive ending is -ος, this same situation usually prevails; see, for example, the noun ἀνηρ, ἀνδρ-ος (base andr-), “man”, which we met in §111. However, we’ll find an occasional 3rd declension Greek noun with a base that differs from its stem—e.g., ὑδωρ, ὑδατ-ος (base hydr-), “water”; and there will be others that have two alternative bases—e.g., γυνη, γυναικ-ος (base gyn- or gynaik-), “woman.” Here the best advice is to remember the combining form(s) and not worry too much about the original Greek word.

§114. Greek Nouns of the Third Declension

Chapter 18: The Greek Noun (Declension 3)

To a greater extent than in the 1st and 2nd declensions, the Greek 3rd declension contains many words that appear in English in exact or conventional transliteration. Some of these are proper names from religion and mythology: Ζευς, Προμηθευς, ’Οδυσσευς, ’Ατλας, Τιταν, Καλυψω, Κυκλωψ, Στυξ = Zeus, Prometheus, Odysseus, Atlas, Titan, Calypso, Cyclops, Styx. Many 3rd declension common nouns have also entered English without adaptation: μαρτυρ, νεκταρ, λαρυγξ, κλιμαξ, ἀρωμα, κωμα, πολις, μητροπολις, πυλων, κυδος, ὑβρις = martyr, nectar, larynx, climax, aroma, coma, polis, metropolis, pylon, kudos, hubris. (Both these lists could be extended substantially.)

What follows is a fairly daunting word-list; perhaps you can subdivide it into two or three instalments for learning purposes. If only one Greek word is listed, that will be the nominative (vocabulary) form, which provides an obvious base or combining form. If two Greek words are given, the second will be the genitive singular (= base + -ος).

ἀηρ aēr air aerodynamic
πυρ pyr fire pyromania
ὑδωρ hydōr (hydr-) water hydraulic
δαιμων daimōn god, spirit demonic
χειρ cheir hand chiropractor
πους, ποδος pous, pod- foot podiatrist
γαστηρ, γαστρος gastēr, gastr- stomach gastronomy
ὀδους, ὀδοντος odous, odont- tooth orthodontic
ῥις, ῥινος rhis, rhin- nose rhinoceros
φως, φωτος phōs, phōt- light photograph
ἀνηρ, ἀνδρος anēr, andr- man polyandry
γυνη, γυναικος gynē, gynaik- woman gynecology
παις, παιδος pais, paid- child p(a)ediatric
γερων, γεροντος gerōn, geront- old man gerontology
πολις polis city acropolis
ἀλγος algos (alg-) pain neuralgia
βαρος baros (bar-) weight barometer
ἐθνος ethnos (ethn-) nation ethnic
ἠθος ēthos (ēth-) custom, character ethos
αἱμα, αἱματος haima, haimat- blood haemophilia
δερμα, δερματος derma, dermat- skin hypodermic
ὀνυμα, ὀνυματος onyma, onymat- name synonym
(ὀνομα, ὀνοματος) (onoma, onomat-) onomatopoeia
σωμα, σωματος sōma, sōmat- body psychosomatic
χρωμα, χρωματος chrōma, chrōmat- colour chromosome

First, a few comments on English spelling. You have learned that the Greek diphthong αι became regularly adapted in Latin as ae. That convention is reflected in the derivatives of γυναικ- (gynaik– “woman”), παιδ- (paid– “child”), and αἱμ- (haim-, “blood”). What can be confusing is that this ae may be either maintained in English or reduced further to e. The full development is illustrated in the progression from G δαιμων to L daemon to E demon.In the semantic area, this word is a fine example of PEJORATION or deterioration of meaning (§15), since the original Greek word had a very positive denotation—a divinity or spirit (Socrates’ inner voice). Thus there are two correct spellings for the medical specialist who treats children—paediatrician or pediatrician. If you look under “Physicians and Surgeons” in the Victoria Yellow Pages, you will find both spellings used (probably revealing the geographical or educational origin of the specialist). The same is true of gynaecology or gynecology, haemorrhage or hemorrhage. In Canadian usage, there is an overwhelming trend towards the simpler e spelling. The only problem with this simplification is that it can sometimes create minor confusion. A perfect example is the Greek root παιδ- (paid-, “child”). If it is kept as paed-, the etymology of its derivatives will be abundantly clear; if, however, it is reduced to ped– (as is customary in North America), it becomes identical in form to the unrelated Latin root for “foot.” Because of Latin derivatives like pedal and pedicure—and the hybrid pedometer (an instrument to measure walking speed)—one may run the risk of associating orthopedic (orthopaedic) with feet, or of wrongly viewing pedophilia as some kind of foot fetish. Other derivatives of παιδ- include pedagogue (G παιδ-αγωγος, “child-leader” > L paedagogus), pedagogy, encyclopedia,The word encyclopedia (still often spelled encyclopaedia in the U.K.), is derived from G παιδεια (paideia < παις), “education” (of children). The compound meant “circular (i.e., complete) education.” pederast (“child-lover,” now almost completely supplanted by pedophile, a word that dates only from 1951), and pedodontist (< παιδ-οδοντ-ιστης,We'll be meeting the suffix -ιστης many times. A 1st declension masculine ending, it may be viewed as the Greek counterpart of the Latin AGENT SUFFIX -or. Occasionally a Greek noun in -ιστης was adapted as a 1st declension Latin noun in -ista. Whether or not there was an intermediate Latin form, the suffix appears in English as -ist. a dentist who works on children’s teeth). Notice, by the way, that the first -o- of ped-odont-ist is not a connecting vowel, since it begins the base form that means “tooth”; we should similarly divide the words orth-odont-ist and peri-odont-ist.

The first noun in Table 18.1, ἀηρ, became the Latin loan-word aēr, after exact transliteration; this was the source (through Old French) of English air. To make it clear that this Latin word has two syllables, we may wish to use the diaeresisThe word diaeresis looks as if it might have been derived from ἀηρ. That is not the case; however it is a Greek derivative, from δια + αἱρειν (“to take apart”). mark, spelling the form as aër. When the word aerial first entered the English language, it was pronounced “a-er-i-al.” If the initial two letters had evolved from the Latin diphthong ae, the modern English spelling would likely have become “erial.” Our word airplane was originally (1866) adapted from French as aeroplane, and may still be spelled that way; the form was apparently intended to mean “air wanderer” (cf. planet), though its second element soon became associated in usage with the more obvious plane (< L planus).

The alternative bases of γυνη, γυναικος (gun- and gunaik- ) are apparent in the contrast between mis-o-gyn-y or andr-o-gyn-ous, on the one hand, and gynec-o-logy, on the other. Words like σωμα and χρωμα may have two combining forms; see English chrom-o-some, as opposed to chromat-ic and pysch-o-somat-ic. Again, phos-phorus (< φωσφορος, “light-bearing”) can be contrasted with phot-o-graph. Greek was unlike Latin in this capacity to use two different forms of the same noun in forming derivatives or compounds. The phenomenon does represent a complication in English word analysis.

If your physician is a foot specialist, (s)he is perhaps a podiatrist (“foot healer”). However, if the medical practice is concerned with hands and feet, the doctor will be a chiropodist (< χειρ-ο-ποδ-ιστης). Some other medical specialties from Table 18.1 are gynecology, gerontology, dermatology, and haematology.

§115. Some Noun-forming Suffixes in Greek

Chapter 18: The Greek Noun (Declension 3)

Though the topic doesn’t logically belong in a chapter on the 3rd declension noun, this may be a convenient place to introduce a few casual comments on noun-forming suffixes in Greek—in this case, suffixes that turn nouns of all three declensions into other nouns.

The 2nd declension neuter suffixes -ειον and -αιον (-eion, –aion) were regularly used in Greek to create derived nouns that meant “a place for.” They correspond in this sense with the Latin nouns in –arium that we met in Part I, §38. Even though Latin had a way of expressing this concept in its native vocabulary, that language sometimes borrowed Greek forms in -ειον and -αιον, adapting them in a predictable fashion as Latin forms in –eum and –aeum. This may be illustrated as follows:

Μουσα Μουσειον Mouseion “a place for the Muses” Museum
’Ορφευς ’Ορφειον Orpheion “a place for Orpheus” Orpheum
Μαυσωλος Μαυσωλειον Mausōleion “a place for Mausolos”A tyrant in Caria on the east coast of the Aegean Sea, Mausolos (L Mausolus) became famous in death for his magnificent tomb in Halicarnassus (ca. 350 bc). One of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, this monument gave our language a generalized term for a grandiose tomb—mausoleum. Mausoleum
Κολοσσος [Κολοσσειον] [Kolosseion] “place for the Colossus”The Colossus of Rhodes, a gigantic statue of Apollo erected ca. 280 BC, was another of the Seven Wonders of antiquity. The word Κολοσσειον was not used in ancient Greek, but is the hypothetical source of the Latin word Colosseum, applied eventually to the huge Flavian Amphitheatre in Rome (ca. 80 AD). The historically correct spelling is Colosseum, but the form Coliseum has become an acceptable alternate. Colosseum
’Αθηνη ’Αθηναιον Athēnaion “a place for Athena” Athenaeum

There is no need to devote much space to the topic of Greek DIMINUTIVES, as we did in Latin (Part I, Chapter 7). That is not because the diminutive was unimportant in Greek; on the contrary, ancient Greek was very rich in suffixes that could connote smallness or endearment. The reason why the question can be summarily treated is because Greek diminutives have had a very minor effect on English vocabulary. One such suffix was -ιον (-ion), which appears in G ποδ-ιον (“little foot”), regularly adapted as L podium, our English podium. If you are interested in musical theory, look up the etymology of the Italian term appoggiatura (< Vulgar Latin *appodiare), which involves a little step. Another Greek diminutive suffix was -ισκος, the origin of the -isk in asterisk (ἀστηρ, ἀστερος, star; ἀστερ-ισκος, “little star”). This suffix explains the etymology of obelisk (“little spit”), which today is either a tapered pillar or a reference mark (†).

§116. Interesting Words

Chapter 18: The Greek Noun (Declension 3)

The word hydraulic combines the noun base hydr- (“water”) with the noun base aul- (αὐλος, “pipe”), adding the standard -ικος suffix. (An αὐλος was also a pipe played by a musician—a kind of ancient double oboe.) In Canadian usage, hydro has become a virtual synonym for electricity; the second element of hydro-electric is derived from ἠλεκτρον, Greek for “amber” (a substance in which static electricity was first observed).Greek ἠλεκτρον appears in English in three separate forms: electron, electrum (Latin spelling), and electre (French spelling). The first term has been adopted by physics, the last two by metallurgy. The term hydrophobia was commonly used as another name for rabies, because those who are afflicted with this disease suffer convulsions if they try to swallow water. Browse in your dictionary to discover many other English words that begin with hydr-.

Biologists will recognize πους, ποδος as the source of many names that end in -pod. A gastropod (gastr-o-pod), logically enough, is a “stomach foot”; this is a class of molluscs that includes snails, slugs, and limpets. A cephalopod (e.g., squid, octopus, cuttlefish) has “feet on its head.” An arthropod is an animal with an articulated foot (< ἀρθρον, “joint”); the phylum Arthropoda includes insects, arachnids (spiders) and crustaceans. The octopus just mentioned is a Latinized adaptation of ὀκτω-πους, “eight-feet.” The Greek form of this word makes it obvious why one should not pluralize octopus as octopi—though that incorrect plural is gaining respectability in English. The legendary Greek hero Oedipus (Οἰδι-πους) had a name that was generally thought to mean “Swollen-Foot” (he suffered from a limp, the result of a mysterious childhood injury). In his tragedy Oedipus Tyrannos (Οἰδιπους Τυραννος), Sophocles puns upon the hero’s name, suggesting that the real etymology may be “Know-Foot.” If Oedipus acquires true self-knowledge, he will realize that the secret of his identity is to be found in his own foot, deformed when he was abandoned in infancy by his parents, the King and Queen of Thebes.

An acropolis (“top city”) was a Greek fortified hill, and a necropolis (“corpse-city”) was an ancient cemetery. A metropolis was a “mother-city” (μητρ-) that continued to play a protective role toward its colony or colonies; the meaning has changed today, of course. A cosmopolis is a “world-city,” and a cosmopolite (κοσμοπολιτης, kosm-o-poli-tēs) a “citizen of the world.” We heard that Japan had planned a utopian city in the sky, to be known as Aeropolis 2001. This excellent Greek coinage is offset, unfortunately, by another less happily named Japanese utopian community that was apparently to be called Undergroundopolis.

§117. Analysing Greek Compound Words

Chapter 18: The Greek Noun (Declension 3)

When we first looked at WORD ANALYSIS, in Part I, §43, we saw that it involved “breaking up” a word into its component parts; this, as we’ll soon discover, is what ἀνα-λυσις means in Greek.

When we were dealing with Latin derivatives, it was usually possible to start with a hypothetical reconstruction of the Latin etymon; for example, we might trace the English collaboration from a Latin source-word collaboratio, which could then be identified and explained, element by element. This same element-by-element explanation is desirable in analysing Greek derivatives; but it will seldom be a good idea to invent an original Greek compound form. Indeed, complex English words derived from Greek are more often than not modern inventions, and they would look ludicrous in the Greek alphabet. If you know that our word began life as a Greek compound—that metropolis, for instance, was a Greek word μητροπολις —then give that Greek form, by all means. Otherwise or when in doubt, it’s probably better merely to explain the component parts; and you can display your knowledge of Greek, if you wish, in identifying these separate elements.

Here are a few typical examples of how you might perform this exercise. You are encouraged to develop your own way of conveying this information, as clearly and as succinctly as possible.

pterodactyl < G pter-o-dactyl: pter– (πτερον, “wing”) + –o– (connecting vowel) + –dactyl (δακτυλος, “finger”)
photography < G phōt-o-graphy: phōt– (φως, φωτος, “light”) + –o– (connecting vowel) + –graphy (-γραφια, “writing”)
psychologist < G psych-o-log-ist: psych– (ψυχη, “soul”) + –o– (connecting vowel) +
log– (-λογια, “study”) + –ist (-ιστης, agent noun suffix)



Chapter 19: Greek Adjectives and Adverbs

§118. Greek Adjectives: 1st and 2nd Declension Type

Chapter 19: Greek Adjectives and Adverbs

It is an oversimplification to say that classical Greek adjectives are exactly parallel in morphology to their Latin cousins. After learning the Latin types, however, you will find the Greek system quite familiar. There is one group of Greek adjectives whose forms are drawn from the first and second declensions (cf. L magnus, magna, magnum), and another whose forms belong wholly or in part to the third declension (cf. L fortis). Rather than worry about details of grammar that concern only the serious student of Greek, we can concentrate on the roots and combining forms of these adjectives, in order to see how they affect English vocabulary.

Just as the Latin adjective meaning “equal” had the three forms aequus (M), aequa (F), and aequum (N), so its Greek semantic counterpart had the three forms ἰσος (M), ἰση (F), and ἰσον (N). For simplicity’s sake, we’ll ignore gender distinctions and use only the masculine form ἰσος, whose base is obviously ἰσ- (is-). Here is a useful group of Greek 1st and 2nd declension adjectives:

ἀκρος akros top(most) acropolis
αὐτος autos self autograph
ἑτερος heteros other heterodox
ὁμος homos same homomorphic
ἰσος isos equal isometric
ὀρθος orthos straight, right orthodontic
νεος neos new neologism
παλαιος palaios old palaeography

You will surely be able to provide many other English derivatives from the adjectives in this list. The base aut- has given us autonomy (“self rule”), autobiography (aut-o-bi-o-graphy, “self-life-writing”), automaton, automatic, autopsy, autochthonous,The exotic specimen aut-o-chthon-ous means “[sprung] from the earth itself”; the second element is chthōn- (χθων, “earth”), a base that appears in E chthonic or chthonian, “pertaining to the earth.” The ancient Athenians liked to call themselves autochthonous, implying that they had always inhabited the land of Attica. Today we would be more likely to use the Latin equivalents, aboriginal or indigenous. and the Latin hybrid automobile—shortened to auto. Alongside acropolis we can place such words as acrophobia (acr-o-phobia, “fear of the top”—i.e., fear of heights), acrobat (a “top walker”), and acronym—literally, “top name” (acr-onym), where the top or end letters of a series of words are combined to provide a convenient label. Nowadays we are exposed to a plethora of acronyms, like NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), radar (RAdio Detecting And Ranging), and that most sinister and ironic word AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). There’s nothing new about acronyms, however. It has been almost two millennia since the early Christians devised a secret acronym to identify their faith: this was the Greek word ΙΧΘΥΣ (“fish”; cf. ichthyology), or a stylized drawing of a fish, used in antiquity as a graffito and still seen on modern bumper stickers. If you are puzzled by the acronym, here is its explanation:

’Ιησους Iēsous Jesus
Χριστος Christos Christ (“the Anointed”)
Θεου Theou Of God
Υἱος Huios The Son
Σωτηρ Sōtēr Saviour

Table 19.1 has some pairs of adjectives with opposite meanings (antonyms). In Greek, ἑτερος (“other”) and ὁμος (“same”) were often opposed, as reflected in the modern adjectives heterogeneous (“other in kind”) and homogeneous (“same in kind”). Here the -geneous element goes back to Greek γενος (“race,” “kind”), but the English words bear the marks of Latin adaptation. The adjectives heterosexual and homosexual are modern hybrids, using the Latin 4th declension noun sexus and the Latin suffix -alis. A curious recent coinage is homophobia; its etymological meaning (“fear of the same”) is vague, but we all recognize it as denoting fear or suspicion of homosexuals. Occasionally the opposite of hetero– may be ortho-, as in heterodox and orthodox—“other opinion” and “straight (correct) opinion.” The scholar’s word for “straight” (or correct) spelling is orthography. The semantic concepts of “old” and “new” are often contrasted by palaeo– and neo-; the most familiar pair, perhaps, are Palaeolithic and Neolithic, describing the Old Stone and the New Stone Ages. The Greek adjective base ne– has become so familiar that neo- now enjoys a life of its own as an English combining form: neo-Nazi, neo-Fascist, etc.

§119. Greek Adjectives: 3rd Declension Type

Chapter 19: Greek Adjectives and Adverbs

As mentioned earlier, Greek and Latin adjectives are not exactly parallel in morphology. Some Greek adjectives are exclusively 3rd declension, whereas others combine features of the 3rd and 1st declensions. In the following list, do not worry about declension numbers; you will actually find some more adjectives of the 1st and 2nd declension pattern, which are included here because of semantic relationships. If there is anything unusual about an adjective’s combining form(s), the base or bases are shown in parentheses.

μεγας megas (mega-) great, large megaphone
            (megal-) megalomania
μακρος makros long, (large) macrocephaly
μικρος mikros small microscope
πας pas (pan-, pant-) all
pantheon, pantomime
πολυς polys (poly-) (much), many polygamy
ψευδης pseudēs (pseud-) false pseudonym

The first three adjectives on this list can cause some confusion in meaning. In Greek, the opposite of μεγας is μικρος; so megaphone has a semantic contrast with microphone, and mega- (M) is the opposite of micro- (m) in the metric system (SI). Because of their closeness in form, however, the elements macro- and micro– have become associated as opposites meaning “large” and “small” (e.g., macroscopic and microscopic). As in the case of neo- and pseudo-, the connecting vowel is now viewed as an integral part of the combining form (e.g., macroeconomics, microanalysis). What is understood by the words microcosm and macrocosm? Is it logical that a microskirt should be shorter than a miniskirt?

There’s a rich supply of English derivatives from the adjectival bases pan- and pant- (“all”). A pantheon is a temple for “all the gods”; a pantomime (pant-o-mime) was an ancient theatrical performance that was “all mime”—though its modern British descendant has an abundance of words. We have extended the ancient term panhellenic (“involving all the Greeks”) to forms like pan-American and pan-Pacific. A truly inspired derivative is the Miltonic coinage pandemonium (< παν- + δαιμων + -ιον, “a place for all the demons”). In Greek, this suffix -ιον (-ion) is sometimes used to mean “a place for someone,” as in the noun Παλλαδιον (Palladion), a place for Pallas Athena—source of the Latinized theatre name Palladium. If you’re feeling energetic, you can look up the etymologies of panacea, pancreas, panegyric, and panoply. But whatever you do, don’t panic. That powerful emotion is aroused by a direct human encounter with the shepherd god Pan. His name is not connected with πας, despite a movement in late antiquity to view him as a quasi-Christlike figure who embraced “all” goodness.

§120. Greek Adverbs

Chapter 19: Greek Adjectives and Adverbs

This topic can be dismissed even more summarily than it was on the Latin side (Part I, §30). Although Greek had no shortage of adverbs (verb modifiers), not many are important in English vocabulary. At this point in the course, we’ll pass over the adverb εὐ (“well”), since it will be treated later as a combining prefix (eu-). Two adverbs worth noticing are τηλε (tēle, “far”) and παλιν (palin, “back,” “again”). The first has the obvious derivatives telephone, telegraph, telepathy, and television. The second appears in the English words palindrome (a “running back”The -drome part of palindrome comes from Greek δρομος (“running,” “race-course”), which occurs also in hippodrome (ἱππος + δρομος, “race-course for horses”) and velodrome (< F < L velox, “swift”).) and palingenesis (“being born again”), a synonym for reincarnation (Latin) or metempyschosis (Greek). Palindromes are those ingenious sentences that read the same in both directions. Among the most familiar are “Madam, I’m Adam” (allegedly the first words spoken in the Garden of EdenTo which the demure lady replied laconically (and palindromically): “Eve.”); Napoleon’s apocryphal “Able was I ere I saw Elba”; and that brilliant slogan devised for U.S. Presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt: “A man, a plan, a canal—Panama!” The most incredible (and the most contrived) is attributed to the late British poet W. H. Auden: “T. Eliot, top bard, notes putrid tang emanating, is sad. I’d assign it a name: gnat dirt upset on drab pot toilet.”

§121. Interesting Words

Chapter 19: Greek Adjectives and Adverbs

Table 19.1 contains the Greek derivative neologism (νεος, “new” + λογος, “word” + -ισμος, noun-forming suffix), a newly coined word or expression. Conservative word-lovers are usually leery of neologisms, which occur often in trendy bureaucratic usage—forms like privatize and priorize, for example. In contrast, adventurous English stylists are delighted to see new words added to the language, provided that they enrich the possibilities for communication (and that is an important proviso). Sometimes neologisms are deliberately facetious, like the delicious coinage affluenza (“an affliction brought on by suddenly having too much money”). If you want to keep abreast of new developments, you’ll find a whole book on the subject—Longman’s Dictionary of Contemporary English.

A close relative of acronym (§118) is acrostic (ἀκρος, “top” + στιχος, “line”), a poem or other composition in which the first letters of each line, when read vertically, form an independent word. There have been times in literary history when convoluted ingenuity of this sort—crossword puzzle skills, applied to poetry—have been highly treasured.

There are other common Greek adjectives with which you should have a nodding acquaintance. Close in meaning to ἑτερος (“other”) is ἀλλος (“another”). It is found in the linguistic term allophone, which is a nondistinctive variant of a phoneme (e.g., the English sounds [ph] and [p] in pin and spin). In Quebec, the word allophone (“another voice”) has a very different meaning: it is applied to those whose first language is neither French (francophone) nor English (anglophone). A Greek synonym for ραλαιος (“old”) is ἀρχαιος (“ancient”); thus the kindred disciplines of palaeontology (palae-ont-o-logy, “the study of old existing things”The element -ont- is derived from οντα (“existing things”), the present participle of the Greek verb that means “to be.”) and archaeology (archae-o-logy, “the study of ancient things”). Palaeozoic (US Paleozoic, “pertaining to old life”) and Mesozoic (< μεσος, “middle”) are two geologic eras. That adjective meaning “middle” occurs in Mesopotamia, “the land in the middle of the rivers” (Tigris and Euphrates). The word sophomore combines two Greek adjectives that are opposite in meaning: σοφος (“wise”) and μωρος (“foolish,” “dull”). A paradoxical and contradictory expression like “wise-foolish” or “bittersweet” may be called an oxymoron (ὀξυς, “sharp” + μωρος (“dull”). Perhaps you have a favourite unintentional oxymoron, like “military intelligence” or “jumbo shrimp.”

The possibility of etymological confusion is acute in derivatives of κενος (“empty”), κοινος (“common”The “common” Greek dialect of late antiquity—the language of the Greek New Testament—is known as the κοινη (koinē), a feminine adjective form.), and καινος (“new” or “recent”)—all of which may appear in English as cen-. In North American dictionaries, you will find the spellings cenotaph (“empty tomb”), cenobite (“one who lives a common life”—a type of monastic regimen), and Cenozoic (“pertaining to new life”—the most recent geologic era). In British practice, as reflected in the Oxford English Dictionary, the etymological distinctions are made clearer by the historically accurate and distinctive spellings cenotaph, coenobite, and Caenozoic.

If you want a challenging experience in etymology, consult a geological time scale in any encyclopedia. You will learn, for example, that the Cenozoic era—the last 65 million years on earth—is divided into seven epochs: Holocene (“whole new”), Pleistocene (“most new”), Pliocene (“more new”), Miocene (“less new”), Oligocene (“little new”), Eocene (“dawn new”Greek “dawn” is ἠως; the prehistoric ancestor of all horses was the eohippus (“dawn horse”).), and Paleocene (“old new”). The last is an excellent oxymoron.

§122. Exercises, Chapter 19

Chapter 19: Greek Adjectives and Adverbs

A.For each of the following words, change the first element so as to create a word that is either exactly opposite or strongly contrasted in meaning:

e.g., microcosm macrocosm
1. palaeolithic ______________________________
2. polygamous ______________________________
3. orthodox ______________________________
4. cacophony ______________________________

B.Using a dictionary if necessary, give the ETYMOLOGICAL MEANING of the following:

e.g., palaeography old writing
1. autodidact ______________________________
2. orthodontist ______________________________
3. isochromatic ______________________________
4. heterophyllous ______________________________
5. macropterous ______________________________
6. polydactylism ______________________________
7. neophyte ______________________________
8. panacea ______________________________

C.Using the format given in §117, write out ANALYSES for the following English words:

1. stereophonic ___________________________________________________
2. megalomania ___________________________________________________
3. heterogamy ___________________________________________________

 For Key to Exercises (Greek), see Appendix III.


Chapter 20: Numerals in Greek and Latin

§123. Greek and Latin Number Concepts

Chapter 20: Numerals in Greek and Latin

First, let us make it clear that we are not talking about number symbols in Greek and Latin—for example, the “Roman numerals” I, V, X, L, C, D, and M—interesting though that topic may be. What this chapter will consider are the actual words developed in the Greek and Latin language to identify and describe numbers. There is some advantage in viewing both languages in the same chapter. All Indo-European number words tend to have a cognate relationship, and that in itself may be revealing. Also, by looking at Greek and Latin side by side we may be able to clarify points of confusion in English, so as to determine which of our number words are descended from one or the other of these classical languages.

As you learned in Part I, Table 2.2, the Latin noun for “number” is numerus—and that is the source of our English word number. The regular Latin ADJECTIVE, therefore, is numeralis (“pertaining to number”), though we use its English derivative numeral more often as noun than adjective. It is an easy step from numerus to the DENOMATIVE verbs (§76) numerare and e-numerare (> E numeration, enumerate).

A cardinal number (< cardo, cardinis, “hinge”) may be considered to be in a pivotal position; in a variety of semantic areas, cardinal came to have the general meaning “chief” or “important.” An ordinal number, in contrast, stands in a “row” or “rank” (ordo, ordinis); its etymology makes it easy to remember this adjectival label that is attached to numbers like “first,” “second,” and “third.”

The Greek equivalent of Latin numerus was ἀριθμος (arithmos), a word that has not given us a simple English noun. Our word arithmetic derives from G ἀριθμητικη, which is short for ἡ ἀριθμητικἠ τἑχνη (hē arithmētikē tekhnē, “the numbering art”). In a later chapter, we’ll see that ἀριθμη-τικος is a standard adjective form, derived regularly from the verb ἀριθμειν (base ἀριθμη-), “to number,” “to count.”

We already know that geometry was originally “earth measurement.” Among the other branches of mathematics (< μαθη, “things learned”), algebra is a loan-word from Arabic (< al-jabr), and trigonometry will be explained later in this chapter.

§124. A Table of Greek and Latin Number Words

Chapter 20: Numerals in Greek and Latin
1, 2, 3
1st, 2nd, 3rd
Other1 Cardinal Ordinal Other
1/2 demi-2 semi- hemi-
1 un(i)- prim- singul- hen- prot(o)- mon(o)-
1-1/2 sesqui-
2 duo secund- bi-, bin- dy- deuter(o)- di-
3 tri- terti- ter-, tern- tri- trit(o)- tri-
4 quadr(i)-
quart- quarter(n)- tetr(a)-
5 quinqu(e)- quint- quin- pent(a)-
6 sex- sext- sen- hex(a)-
7 septem- septim- septen- hept(a)-
8 octo- octav- octon- oct(o)-,
9 novem- non- noven- enne(a)-
10 decem-
decim- den- dec(a)-
100 cent(i)- centesim- centen- hecaton: HECT(O)-3
1000 mill(i)- millesim- millen- chili(o): KILO-3


1 The “other” Latin numeral forms include adverbs (“twice,” ”thrice,” etc.) and distributives (“one each,” “two each,” etc.). Note these additional sequences:

primarius, secundarius, tertiarius, quartilis, . . . decimalis
singularis, binarius, ternarius, quaternarius, quinarius, . . . centenarius, millenarius
simplex, duplex, triplex, quadruplex, quintuplex (“twofold,” “threefold,” etc., < plicare)

The Latin word for “half” was dimidium, which became demi- through French. The regular combining prefix in Latin was semi- (not an independent word). In musical notation, a 64th note is a hemidemisemiquaver—the shorter the note, the longer the word.

3 The forms DECI-, HECT(O)- and KILO- are metric prefixes, adopted from French. In the metric system (SI = Système International), units of measure are divided by Latin prefixes, and multiplied by Greek. See §128.

§125. Latin Number Words in English

Chapter 20: Numerals in Greek and Latin

You will observe that there are a few English number words that closely reflect original Latin number words. These include duo, cent (along with percent); prime, second, quart; and single. Modern month names, from September to December, are adapted without change from their Latin counterparts—though there seems to be something wrong with the arithmetic of the Roman calendar.The reason why September was called “Seven-month” and not “Nine-month” is that the original Roman year began in March, rather than January.

In general, however, Latin number vocabulary has entered the English language as COMBINING FORMS, which—in the Latin language itself—were sometimes quite different from the independent number words. The Latin cardinal number “four,” for instance—quattuor—is of no relevance to English; but the Latin combining form quadr- has been very useful. Similarly, the Latin word “two” (duo) is far less essential to English than the form bi-. Therefore the numerical vocabulary of §124 consists mainly of combining forms, as you may infer from the hyphens following most items. Remember that Latin generally uses the connecting vowel -i- to link a combining form with another word base (see Part I, §92; for example, un-i-verse, cent-i-pede). That standard principle will usually apply, though there are some exceptions—primo-geniture (an adverbial first element) and quadr-u-ped (the archaic connecting vowel -u- was sometimes used with quadr-).

The best way to see these principles at work may be to look at several parallel English words that use Latin combining forms for “one” and “two” (un- and bi-):

un-i-cameral bi-cameral one or two chambers (camera)
un-i-lateral bi-lateral one or two sides (latus, later-is)
un-i-lingualThis form coexists in English with the Greco-Latin hybrid monolingual. bi-lingual one or two tongues or languages (lingua)
un-i-corn bi-corneThe bicorne is the Napoleonic cocked hat. There is also an English adjective bicornuate. one or two horns (cornu, 4th decl. N)
un-i-foliate bi-foliate one or two leaves (folium)
un-i-nucleate bi-nucleate one or two “little nuts” (nucleus)
un-i-cycle bi-cycle one or two wheels (G κυκλος)

As these examples suggest, numerical prefixes often draw our attention to contrasts; unilateral decisions may be opposed to those that are bilateral or multilateral. (Although Latin mult– and Greek poly- [πολυ-] are not, strictly speaking, number words, they play an obvious role in compounds of this type.) A biped may be contrasted with a quadruped or a multiped—not to mention a centipede or a millipede. In the muscle names biceps, triceps (upper arm), and quadriceps (thigh), the -ceps element is derived from L caput (“head”). Numerical compounds are conspicuous in geometry, of course: triangle and quadrangle derive from L angulus (“corner,” “angle”).Thus a rect-angle has the etymological meaning of “straight corner.”

We could list many more English words containing the Latin combining form bi-: bifocal, bicultural (v. multicultural), bicuspid (L cuspis, “point)), bifurcate (denominative, from L furca, “fork”), and bigamy (hybrid, from G γαμος, “marriage”). If the second element begins with a vowel, one may meet the related Latin combining form bin-The Latin distributive adjective bini meant “two by two,” “two at a time,” like the animals in Noah’s Ark.: binocular, binaural. However, biovular —more easily read if spelled bi-ovular—is a term that describes the origin of fraternal twins.

Among the “other” Latin numeral words given in §124 (and note 1) we find the direct source of English primary, secondary, tertiary, quartile, decimal, singular, binary, ternary, centenary, and millenary. The commemorative terms centenary (100), sesquicentenary (150), and bicentenary (200) are used to mark significant dates in the history of cities and nations. Unlike those words, the adjectives centennial, sesquicentennial, and bicentennial are based on a modified form of the Latin noun annus, “year.” A millennium (adjective millennial) is a period of a thousand years. Even well-educated people often leave out an -n- in spelling the word millennium; don’t confuse it with millenary.

The root of Latin singuli (“one at a time,” E single) was combined with the root plic- (“fold”) to produce L simplex (< *sin-plic-s). So duplex, triplex, etc. In English as in Latin, twofold (duplex) and threefold (triplex) do not mean “folded twice” and “folded three times.” If you are being quite literal, a flat object folded twice has four parts, not two. Thus a large sheet of paper that early printers called a folio (L folium, “leaf”), became known as quarto, if folded twice, and octavo, if folded three times. In strict logic, Latin simplex (“onefold”) has no fold at all. The regular abstract nouns were simplic-itas and duplic-itas (E simplicity, duplicity, multiplicity). In medieval Latin, the 3rd declension adjective simplex developed a 2nd declension variant simplus, source of E simple. (So duplus, triplus > duple, triple.)

§126. Greek Number Words in English

Chapter 20: Numerals in Greek and Latin

Greek ordinal adjectives regularly use the connecting vowel omicron: E prototype (prot-o-type, “first imprint”), Deuteronomy (deuter-o-nomy, “second law”). This same linking vowel is found in derivatives of mon– (μονος, “only,” a quasi-numerical form that often provides the concept of “one”): monolithic, monomorphic, monomania, monopoly. Of course, no linkage is needed if the second base begins with a vowel: protagonist (πρωτ-αγων-ιστης, “first combatant”The protagonist was the leading actor in a Greek tragedy; there was also a deuteragonist and usually a tritagonist. In any modern dramatic situation, there can be only one protagonist; sometimes people refer to “the two protagonists,” when they probably mean “the two antagonists.”), monocular (G mon– + L oculus + L –aris). Unlike the ordinals, most Greek cardinal numbers have stems or bases that already end in vowels, and therefore do not show that omicron link: dyarchy (“two rule”), tripod (“three foot”), pentameter (“five measure”), Decalogue (δεκα + λογοι = Ten Commandments).

Relative to Latin, Greek number words have had limited influence on English, being perhaps most familiar in the fields of plane and solid geometry. Here are two such groups:

-γωνον (γωνια, gōnia, “angle”) > E -gon: tetragon, pentagon, hexagon, octagon, trigonometry (τριγωνομετρια, tri-gōn-o-metria, “triangle measure”);

-ἑδρον (ἑδρα, hedra, “seat,” “base”) > E -hedron: tetrahedron (a three-dimensional solid), hexahedron (e.g., a cube), octahedron, dodecahedron (12), polyhedron.

Students of literature will recognize the words dimeter, trimeter, pentameter, hexameter, all of which combine numerals with metron to count the “measures” in a verse of poetry. A triptych (πτυχη, “fold”; = L triplex), is an altarpiece or other work of art in three sections. Since antiquity, the Olympic games have had a pentathlon (ἀθλον, “contest”; cf. ἀθλητης, E athlete); today we have a heptathlon and a decathlon.

§127. Interesting Words

Chapter 20: Numerals in Greek and Latin

From L unus came the abstract noun unitas (“oneness”), whence E unity. There was a Latin synonym unio, source of E union—and, believe it or not, of onion. L unicus gave us unique. The Latin noun quadra (“square”) clearly shows its numerical origin; English square, squad, and squadron are all well disguised derivatives of vulgar Latin *exquadra. The poet Horace popularized the term sesquipedalian, used humorously to describe words “one and a half feet” in length. Number systems based on twelve are called duodecimal, from L duodecem (12), ultimate source of E dozen, a French transmission. (Only a mischievous librarian would claim that duodecimal is related to Dewey Decimal.)

It is perhaps confusing that English forms in tri- may be from either Latin or Greek. Some Latin derivatives include triangle, tricolor, triennium, trimester (3 months), trisect, and triumvirate. A bang-up Latin “tri-word is TNT (tri-nitro-toluene = C7H5N3O6). Greek derivatives in English include trilogy, trimeter, tripod, triptych, trilobite (a Palaeozoic fossil with 3 lobes), and triceratops (tri-cerat-ops < τρι- + κερας, κερατ-ος, “horn” + ὀψ, “face”)—one of many familiar dinosaursE dinosaur < modern Latin dinosaurus < G δεινος (“terrible”) + σαυρος (“lizard”). to bear a thoroughly Greek name.

SPECIAL NOTE: The next two sections (§128 and §129) are inserted for those who are curious to explore the nomenclature of the metric system and other specialized aspects of numerical terminology. The two sections are intended for reference only. Readers with less interest in these matters may skip immediately to §130.

§128. The Metric System

Chapter 20: Numerals in Greek and Latin

The METRIC SYSTEM was developed in France during the decade that followed the French Revolution (1790-1799); the terminology was all drawn from Greek or Latin. The SYSTÈME INTERNATIONAL (SI) is a 20th century refinement and extension of metric, formally approved in 1960; its terminology goes beyond Greek and Latin. An excellent summary can be found in the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Some original metric measures:
length METRE (< G μετρον): originally defined as “one ten-millionth part of a meridional quadrant of the earth” (the quadrant of the earth’s circumference running from the North Pole through Paris to the equator)
area ARE (< L area): 10 m x 10 m (= 100 m2)
HECTARE (100 ares): 100 m x 100 m (= 10,000 m2)
mass GRAM (< Late L gramma, “small weight” < G γραμμα): 1 cc of distilled water at maximum density (4°C), weighed in vacuo
volume LITRE (< ML litra < G λιτρα, “a measure”): a cube 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm (1,000 cc); thus l litre of pure water has a mass of 1 kg
STERE (< G στερεος): 1 cubic metre, or a cube 100 cm x 100 cm; thus 1 stere is equivalent to 1 kilolitre.

Prefixes in SI Measurement:

Multiple Prefix Symbol Etymology
trillion 1012 tera- T G τερας “monster”
billion 109 giga- G G γιγας “giant”
million 106 mega- M G μεγας “big”
thousand 103 kilo- k G χιλιοι
hundred 102 hecto- h G ἑκατον
ten 10 deka- da G δεκα
 Submultiple Prefix Symbol Etymology
tenth 10-1  deci- d L  decem
hundredth 10-2  centi- c L  centum
thousandth 10-3  milli- m L  mille
millionth 10-6  micro- μ G  μικρος small
billionth 10-9  nano- n G  νανος dwarf
trillionth 10-12  pico- p It.  piccolo (?) small
quadrillionth 10-15  femto- f  Dan./Norw.  femten (15)
quintillionth 10-18  atto- a  Dan./Norw. atten (18)


§129. English Number Names Beyond One Million

Chapter 20: Numerals in Greek and Latin

Wherever English is spoken, the figure 1,000,000 (106) has the English name of million (< MF milion < OIt. milione, an augmentative derived from L mille (1,000). Etymologically, then, a million is a “big thousand.”

Number words beyond a million are formed from Latin numeral prefixes plus the spurious base -(i)llion (by analogy from million). The nomenclature is confusing, for two reasons:

1. The numerical values differ in American and British usage.

2. The words themselves combine two sets of standard Latin prefixes. (If the usual Latin sequence had been followed, quintillion and sextillion would be quinquillion and sexillion.)

Except for the British milliard, which was adopted from French in 1823, most of these words date from the late 17th century.

Number of groups of three 0’s after 1,000 Powers of a million
109 billion 2 milliard
1012 trillion 3 billion 2
1014 quadrillion 4
1018 quintillion 5 trillion (1690) 3
1021 sextillion 6
1024 septillion 7 quadrillion (1674) 4

§130. Exercises, Chapter 20

Chapter 20: Numerals in Greek and Latin

A.Give schematic analyses and definitions for the following words, all of which contain numerical roots. Indicate whether the source is Greek or Latin.

e.g., centipede < L cent(i)- (hundred) + -pede (foot); “having 100 feet.”
1. hexameter ___________________________________________________
2. tripod ___________________________________________________
3. quadrangle ___________________________________________________
4. octahedron ___________________________________________________
5. duplicate ___________________________________________________
6. hemisphere ___________________________________________________
7. millennium ___________________________________________________
8. quinquefoliate ___________________________________________________
9. dyarchy ___________________________________________________
10. sexagenarian ___________________________________________________

B.Using the format given in §117, write out analyses for the following English words:

1. polychrome ___________________________________________________
2. leukemia ___________________________________________________
3. trigonometry ___________________________________________________
4. geomorphology ___________________________________________________
5. photophobia ___________________________________________________

For Key to Exercises (Greek), see Appendix III.


Chapter 21: Greek Prefixes

§131. An Approach to Greek Prefixes

Chapter 21: Greek Prefixes

In the last two chapters you have met Greek-derived forms that we might consider prefixes in English—neo-, poly-, mono-, penta-, and kilo-, for example. There is nothing wrong with calling them prefixes, in the general sense of that term. Strictly speaking, however, they are better described as combining forms or adaptations of Greek adjectives and numerals. Now, in Chapter 21, you will meet a full repertoryA repertory is a collection or storehouse (L repertorium, “a place where things are found”). The doublet repertoire is usually preferred to identify the body of works that a creative artist is able to perform. of Greek prefixes.

As usual, the best preparation for a new Greek topic will be to review its parallel in Latin—in this case, Part I, Chapter 8 (especially the summary in §59). As each new Greek prefix is introduced in the coming pages, ask yourself whether it has a Latin counterpart that may play a similar semantic role in English word formation. You will see, in fact, that a column of suggested Latin “equivalents” is provided. Be forewarned, however, that these are not always exact counterparts. Because Latin and Greek are closely cognate, some verbal elements match almost perfectly; but the two languages did, after all, belong to different branches of the Indo-European family.

Let us approach the problem gently by examining five Greek prefixes that are fairly straightforward: a(n)-, anti-, eu-, dys-, and syn-.

  1. a- (ἀ-), sometimes known as ALPHA PRIVATIVE, is the prefix that corresponds to English un- or Latin in-, meaning “not” or “without.” Before a base beginning with a vowel it changes to an- (ἀν-). Examples in English include atheist, atheism, atom, amorphous, achromatic, amnesiaThe root in amnesia (a-mnēsia, “no memory”) is μνη- (“memory”) that we met in Mnemosyne (§104). An amnesty (a-mnēstia) is another form of not remembering., amnesty, aphasia, apathy, asbestos; and (with an-) anarchy, analgesic, anaesthetic, anonymous, anomaly, anaemia, and anorexia .
  2. ant(i)- (ἀντι-) is a prefix that we can easily recognize as meaning “against” or “opposite.” However we must be careful not to confuse it in English with the very different Latin prefix ante- (“before”). Examples: antonym, antagonist, antarctic, antidote, antipathy, antiphony, antipodes, antiseptic.
  3. eu- (ἐυ-), an adverb meaning “well,” was also used as a prefix; cf. Latin bene-. Examples: euphony, eugenic, euthanasia, eurhythmic, euphoria, euphemism.
  4. dys- (δυσ-), provides the opposite to eu-, since it means “badly” or “hard”; it is something like Latin male-. Examples: (dyslexia, dysphasia, dysentery, dysgenesis, dysphoria) (euphoria, dysphemism) (euphemism, dystopia) (utopia (<οὐτοπια, “no place”).
  5. syn- (συν-) is very much like Latin con-, meaning “with,” “together.” Like con-, it may also show ASSIMILATION. Examples: synonym, synagogue, synchronism, syndrome, syncopate, symbiosis, symmetry, symphony, symposium, symptom, syllable.

§132. A Summary of Greek Prefixes

Chapter 21: Greek Prefixes
a-, an- (ἀ-, ἀν-) not, without, un in- atheist, anarchy
amphi- (ἀμφι-) about, on both sides ambi- amphitheatre
ana- (ἀνα-) up, back, again (re-) anagram, analysis
anti- (ἀντι-) against, opposite ob-, contra- antipodes, antonym
apo- (ἀπο-) away from ab- apostolic, apogee
cata- (κατα-) down (etc.) de- catastrophe
dia- (δια-) through, across per-, trans- diameter, diagonal
dys- (δυο-) badly, hard mal(e)- dyslexia, dysentery
ec-, ex- (ἐκ-, ἐξ-) out of e(x)- eccentric, exodus
en- (ἐν-) in in- endemic, energy
epi- (ἐπι-) upon, on (etc.) in- epitaph, epidermis
eu- (εὐ-) well, (true) bene- eugenic, euphemism
hyper- (ὑπερ -) over super- hyperbole
hypo- (ὑπο-) under sub- hypothermia
meta- (μετα-) over, beyond; change (trans-) metamorphosis
para- (παρα-) beside, alongside (ad-) paragraph
peri- (περι-) around circum- periscope, perimeter
pro- (προ-) before; forward prae-, pro- prophet, program
pros- (προσ-) towards; in addition ad- prosody, prosthesis
syn- (συν-) with, together con- synonym, symmetry

§133. Exploring Greek Prefixes

Chapter 21: Greek Prefixes

Summaries of the type just presented are always a little overwhelming. Let us look for some short-cuts and strategies for learning the list.

Tackle first those prefixes that are obvious. In addition to the five we encountered in §131, you can deal easily with amphi- (“on both sides”) and peri- (“around”), which are quite uncomplicated. For the one, think of amphitheatre and amphibious; for the other, perimeter, periscope, periphery, peripatetic, and periphrasis. The prefix dia– is also fairly straightforward: diameter (“measure across”), diagonal (“through the angle”), diatonic (“through the tones”), diaphragm (“fence across”), and diaphanous (“showing through”). Like its Latin cognate, Greek pro- can mean “before” or “forward”: prophet (“before speaker”), prophecy, prophesy, proscenium, prostate, prophylactic, program, problem (see §137). Though they look much alike, hyper- (“over”) and hypo- (“under”) are easy opposites. English has the hybrids hyperactive (“That kid is hyper!”) and hypertension, plus hyperbole, hyperbola, and hyperthermia (a hot-tub ailment). In contrast, hypo- yields hypodermic, hypothesis, hypochondria, and hypothermia.

In some usages, ana- and cata- are also opposites, meaning “up” and “down.” An anabasis (“going up”) is the opposite of a catabasis (“going down”), but those words are rare and exotic. More common are analysis and catalysis, where -lysis is a “loosening.” Anatomy makes sense as “cutting up.” The force of cata- is apparent in catastrophe (“turning down”), cataclysm (“flooding down”), cataract (“breaking down”), and catalepsy (“seizing down”), but it is less clear in catalogue. Don’t be surprised or discouraged if you have trouble making the semantic connection between certain Greek prefixes and some of their English derivatives.

The Greek prefixes apo- and ec- (ex-) correspond quite closely to their Latin cognates ab- and ex-. The meaning “away from” is clear in apostle or apostolic (verb base “send”), apogee (ἀπο-γη), and apostrophe (originally a rhetorical “turning away”). What is an apotheosis? Something eccentric (ἐκ + κεντρον + -ικος) is “out of centre.” Can you work out the etymological meanings of eclectic, exodus, and ecdysis? The last is the action of the snake slipping out of its skin, or the larva shedding its cocoon. It was H.L. Mencken who used that notion to coin the impeccable Greek form ecdysiast, to describe a strip-tease dancer.

The difference between en- and epi- is basically the difference between in and on (or upon). A condition that is endemic (< δημος) is more ingrained than one that is epidemic—though the latter may be more alarming. Relatively few English words are derived from en-: energy, enema, enthusiasm—originally, a feeling that one had a god (θεος) inside one’s body. There are many more from epi-: epigram, epitaph, epidermis, epiglottis, eponym, eponymous, ephemeral (< ἡμερα, “day”). An eponym is a famous or notorious proper name that has been placed “upon” some object, process, condition, concept, etc.: Braille, boycott, pasteurize, cardigan, quisling, valentine, roentgen, Alzheimer’s Disease. A mysterious 18th century English physician, the apocryphal Dr. Condom, may be the eponymous hero of the prophylactic rubber sheath—though that etymology was questioned in the Oxford English Dictionary.

There are only three prefixes on the list that have not yet been mentioned. Pros- (usually “in addition”) is quite rare, occurring in the words prosthesis and prosthetic—referring to an artificial limb or other device that is “placed in addition.” Meta- suggests a carrying over or beyond, like Latin trans-, and will sometimes connote change: metaphor, metamorphosis, metathesis, metastasis, metaphysics. Finally there is para-, which most often means “beside” or “alongside.” The paragraph originally got its name from the symbol (now ¶) that was “written beside” it in the margin. A paradox is an opinion that stands beside or contrary to the norm. A paraplegic is one who has been struck at the side (paralyzed), as opposed to a quadriplegic, who has lost the use of all four limbs. Note also paraphrase, parallel (par-allel, “beside one another”), and paraphernalia, a word related to a bride’s dowry. In 20th century English, para- has been further extended in uses like parapsychology and paramedic.

There are some deceptive para- forms in English that have nothing to do with the Greek prefix. From Latin parare (“prepare”), Italian derived a combining form that meant a “shield” or “protection.” A parachute will protect us from falling, just as a parasol will shield us from the sun. A parapet (It. parapetto) was originally meant to protect the chest (L pectus). Because you have long since learned to take nothing for granted in word study, you won’t be surprised that English has two different forms spelled para-. It is certainly risky to leap to etymological conclusions merely on the basis of superficial appearances.

In lieu of exercises for Chapter 21, look up some of the italicized English words that have appeared in this section. But don’t worry too much about Greek vocabulary that is completely unfamiliar. There is a strong likelihood that many of those strange-looking words contain Greek verb bases that we’ll meet in the next chapter. You may recall that it was hard to get full control of Latin prefixes until we had studied some verb roots. That problem applies also to our work in Greek.

Here’s another short and snappy assignment. Now that we’ve surveyed the whole field of Greek prefixes, how many English derivatives can you list from the noun ὀνυμα (ὀνοματ- )?


Chapter 22: Greek Verbs and their Derivatives

§134. The Greek Verb in English Vocabulary

Chapter 22: Greek Verbs and their Derivatives

As a general principle, we have observed that Greek words tend to show up in English with less systematic predictability than do Latin forms. In Part I of the course, we could learn half a dozen Latin adjectival suffixes (for example) and then predict the exact spelling that many complicated Latin words were likely to assume in English. We could study the Latin present participle and produce immediately a page or more of English words that perfectly reflect that form. Etymological history hasn’t been that neat on the Greek side. In our work with Greek vocabulary, therefore, we are emphasizing basic roots and stems, more to recognize the meaning of English derivatives than to explain their form.

For this and other reasons, there is little point in making a systematic assault upon Greek verb morphology. The present infinitive will be mentioned out of academic interest, but you won’t have to study the perfect and present participles—though both those grammatical forms do exist. We are going to concentrate almost entirely on gaining familiarity with the Greek VERB ROOTS that have had the greatest influence on English. For the first time in the course, you will be asked to study word roots in isolation, without worrying about their historical use within whole words. You will be shown how some of these roots act as bases in the formation of other parts of speech, and you will be given guidance in understanding their English derivatives; but no attempt will be made to familiarize you with the actual Greek verb system.

§135. A Sampling of Greek Verb Roots

Chapter 22: Greek Verbs and their Derivatives

To illustrate our approach, let us take five different Greek verbs and show how a knowledge of their roots alone will help us understand a lot of English vocabulary. The present infinitive forms will also be listed, if only to prove that they are really irrelevant to English. Much more importantly, you’ll be given a few simple rules for creating Greek nouns and adjectives from verb roots. Though you will not gain any grammatical insight into the Greek verb, you will emerge from this short experiment with the basic equipment that you need to cope with Greek verb derivatives in English.

θε- the “place” τιθεναι (“to place”)
δο- do “give” διδοναι (“to give”)
στα- sta “stand” ἱσταναι (“to stand”)
κρι- kri “divide,” “judge” κρινειν (“to judge”)
λυ- ly “loosen,” “set free” λυειν (“to loosen”)

As always, the root is the minimal element of meaning. Though θε- and δο- could not stand alone in Greek speech, they were the sounds that made the Greek ear register the idea of “placing” and “giving,” respectively. The infinitives τιθεναι and διδοναι are examples of actual words formed from verb roots—you can see the two roots at their heart. One may well ask, however, whether there is any point in learning these complicated Greek forms (unless it is to recognize them when they occur in major English dictionaries). From our examples above, it would appear that the Greek present infinitive may end either in -ναι or in -ειν. Greek τιθεναι is the equivalent, in form and meaning, of Latin ponere, whereas Greek διδοναι corresponds with Latin dare. (The roots δο- and da- are cognate.)

We’ll completely ignore the question, “How did the Greeks use these roots to express verbal concepts?” Instead, let’s ask, “How did the Greeks form other parts of speech in which these verb roots have affected English?” Here is one answer. It was common practice in Greek to add the suffix -σις (-sis) to a verb root in order to create an abstract noun. Therefore Greek had a noun θεσις (the-sis) that meant “a placing.” We may compare it with its Latin parallel from ponere, the abstract noun positio (posit-io). Although they are not really synonyms, thesis and position—English words with the same etymological meaning—do have some semantic relationship. The Greek form may be adapted in English: δοσις (do-sis), “a giving,” is the etymon of English dose.

If θεσις means “a placing,” then συνθεσις (syn-thesis) is “a placing together,” ἀντιθεσις (anti-thesis) is “a placing against,” and ὑποθεσις (hypo-thesis) is “a placing beneath.” Would you agree that the Greek derivatives synthesis and hypothesis have semantic links with the parallel Latin derivatives composition and supposition? A metathesis is a “change” (μετα-) in placement—for instance, a transposition of two letters of the aplhabet—oops, I meant alphabet. A prosthesis (cf. §133) is something “placed in addition” (προσ-), like an artificial limb. We see two Greek prefixes at work in the noun παρενθεσις (par-en-thesis), a device for placing something in and beside.

Moving down our experimental list of verb roots, we can assume that the same noun suffix will be added to στα- to produce στασις, “a standing”; and we may be familiar with the English word stasis (used, for instance, of a fluid stoppage in human physiology). More interesting, perhaps, is ἐκστασις (ek-stasis), source of the English word ecstasy. In Greek mystery religions, you achieved the state of ecstasy when you had the feeling that you were “standing outside” your body, thus allowing the god to come inside (ἐνθυσιασμος, E enthusiasm). The medical term μεταστασις (meta-stasis) describes the “change of standing” when a cancer moves from one part of the body to another.

From the verb root κρι- (kri-, “divide,” “judge”) there is only one noun of this type—κρισις; a crisis is a moment of division or judgement. (Note also criterion < κριτηριον). However, from the verb root λυ- (ly-, “loosen”) we have a bonanza of English noun derivatives (all pure Greek): analysis, catalysis, paralysis, dialysis, and psychoanalysis. Several of these were discussed in the last chapter, but now you will be better equipped to understand their form. If the Latin translation of λυειν (“to loosen”) is solvere, then an analysis is perhaps equivalent to a resolution (resolutio).

Before we leave our trial group of verb roots, let us become acquainted with two other Greek suffixes used in verb derivatives.

Whereas the suffix -sis was added to verbs to form abstract nouns, the suffix -ma (-ma) was similarly used to create concrete nouns. The only example apparent in our trial group is θεμα (the-ma), source of English theme. There are some other verbal derivatives of this type that have entered English without change: drama (< δρα-, “do”), dogma (< δοκ-, “think”), and cinema (κινη-, “move”). Others have been adapted in spelling, like poem (< ποιν-, “make”; cf. ποιν-της > L poeta, “maker”).

Finally, you should meet the suffix -τικος (-tikos), which will turn a Greek verb root (or base) into an adjective. Don’t confuse it with the suffix -ικος (-ikos), which converts a Greek noun base into an adjective. From our list of sample verbs, we can at once spot English words like synthetic (συνθετικος, syn-the-tikos), hypothetical (ὑποθετικος, hyp-o-the-tikos + L -alis), critic (κριτικος, cri-tikos), static (στατικος, sta-tikos), ecstatic (ἐκστατικος, ek-sta-tikos), analytic (ἀναλυτικος, ana-ly-tikos), catalytic (καταλυτικος, kata-ly-tikos), and paralytic (παραλυτικος, para-ly-tikos).

With this theoretical and practicalE theoretical < θεωρη-, "observe," "speculate"; practical < πραγ-, "do," the source also of pragmatic. knowledge at our disposal, we can now survey a number of common Greek roots, trying out each of these suffixes in turn.

§136. Greek Verb Roots and English Derivatives

Chapter 22: Greek Verbs and their Derivatives

This section will consist of a series of Greek verb roots, presented in tabular form. Try to relate each verb’s original meaning to the semantic force of its English derivatives—the connection may not always be apparent. Don’t be surprised if a Greek verb has more than one root form; often these are different ABLAUT grades, as in English swim, swam, swum.

gen-,cf. Latin gen-, as in genusgenerisprogeny and progenitor are Latin derivatives. genē-, gon- (be born) genesis, dysgenesis, genetic, gene, eugenics, gonad, gonorrhoea, cosmogony, theogony, oxygen, hydrogen, pathogen(ic), carcinogen(ic), parthenogenesis (< παρθενος, “virgin”)
path-, pathē- (suffer, feel) pathos, pathetic, sympathy, empathy, apathy, apathetic, antipathy, antipathetic(al), pathology, psychopath, etc.
pher-, phor-, (bear, carry) periphery, euphoria, dysphoria, semaphore, phosphorus, phosphorescence (form?)
leg-, log-, (speak; gather) -logy (-λογια, §110), dialect, dialectic, eclectic, dialogue (διαλογος > L dialogus), monologue, prologue, epilogue, apology, eulogy, anthology
graph-, gram- (write) -graph and -graphia (-γραφος, -γραφια, §110); gram, anagram, diagram, epigram, program(me), programmatic, telegram, grammatical, grammar
skop-, skep- (watch, examine) -scope and -scopia (-σκοπος, -σκοπια, §110); sceptic (skeptic), scepticism, episcopal, bishop < ἐπισκοπος (“overseer”)
trop- (turn) trope, tropic(al), tropism, heliotrope
stroph-, streph- (turn, twist) strophe, antistrophe, apostrophe, catastrophe, streptococcus
stol- (send) apostle, apostolic, epistle, diastole
kryp-, kryph- (hide) crypt (κρυπ-τος), cryptic (κρυπ-τικος), apocryphal cryptogram
phy- (grow) neophyte; G φυσις = L natura; physics, physical, metaphysical, physio-
aisthē- (feel, perceive) aesthete, (a)esthetic, anaesthetic, anaesthesia
agōg- (lead) synagogue, demagogue (δημ-αγωγος), pedagogue
ball-, bol-, blē- (throw) ballistics (via Latin), symbol, problem, emblem, hyperbole, hyperbola, parabola, parable, diabolic(al), anabolism, embolism, metabolism
pha-, phē- (speak) aphasia, dysphasia, euphemism, dysphemism, prophet (προφητης > L prophēta), prophetic, prophecy (προφητεια), prophesy, blaspheme
pha(i)n, pha- (show, appear) phase, emphasis, emphatic, phenomenon (pl. -a), epiphany, theophany, diaphanous, phantasy (fantasy and fantastic show Latinized spelling)
hora-, op(t)– (see) optic (ὀπ-τικος), synopsis, synoptic, autopsy, biopsy, optometrist, optician (hybrid), panorama, cyclorama, diorama
rheu-, rho-, rheo- (flow) rheum, rheumatic, rheumatoid, rheostat, catarrh, diarrhoea (diarrhea), gonorrhoea
tak- (arrange) syntax (συνταξις < *sun-tak-sis), tactic(al), tactician, taxidermy


§137. Interesting Words

Chapter 22: Greek Verbs and their Derivatives

The word euphemism appeared in Chapter 1 (§5) of this course. Its form is excellent Greek: εὐ-φημ-ισμος, “an act of speaking well.” (There was an ancient Greek adjective εὐφημος, which meant using only words of good omen.) Our society invents euphemisms in order to soften unpleasant or distasteful facts—or even to hide them completely. If it is too painful to say that a beloved parent has “died,” then he or she has “passed away.” Bodily functions are obvious candidates for euphemistic treatment; even in a forest wilderness, many people will still speak of “going to the bathroom.” Bureaucrats couldn’t survive without these tools of camouflage. When the B.C. Government announced a new policy of park management several years ago, citizens were astounded to discover that “recreation area” meant a park zone where mining would be encouraged. There are vigilant word-lovers who devote all their energies to collecting and documenting new gems of this kind. An all-time classic emerged from the Gulf War of 1991—“collateral damage” for “civilian deaths.” As writers from Thucydides to Orwell have observed, plain truth is the first casualty of war.

Far less familiar is the opposite term, dysphemism. Just as it may be genteel to say that someone has “passed away,” so too can we brutalize the event by saying that the person “croaked” or “kicked the bucket.” The sex act is given dignity by the euphemism “make love,” but it is hardly ennobled by the dysphemism “screw.” Street language has many dysphemisms; in Cockney rhyming slang, a man’s wife is her husband’s “trouble and strife.”

You have probably noticed that the Greek root pha– (φα-) is common to two different verbs, meaning “speak” and “show.” In English, aphasia (ἀ-φασ-ια) is inability to speak, whereas a phase (φασ-ις) of the moon is one of its appearances. One might suppose that emphasis (ἐμ-φασ-ις) was related to speaking, but it was originally a rhetorical means of showing or indicating. Fortunately, the other roots of these two verbs can’t be confused; for instance, that wonderful word diaphanous has (dare we say it?) a “transparent” etymology. In the annals of British Columbia politics, the saga of Fantasy Gardens was a fantastic phenomenon.Our word phenomenon is derived from φαινομενον (“something appearing”), a present participle of φαινειν. Although the αι diphthong became Latinized and then reduced to e, the Greek neuter ending survived. Thus the correct plural form is, of course, phenomena. Check out the words phantasmagoria and sycophant; the last has the weird and obscure etymological meaning of “fig-shower.”

A complex of fascinating words has evolved from Greek βαλλειν, “to throw,” which has the roots ball-, bol-, and blē-. A problem (προ-βλη-μα) is something “thrown forward” (a Latin project, perhaps?). Hyperbole and hyperbola are rhetorical and mathematical doublets that suggest “a throwing above.” Two other doublets are parabola and parable—both derived from παραβολη, “a throwing beside,” “a comparison.” By a strange semantic development, the Late Latin adaptation parabola acquired the meaning “word,” and its denominative verb parabolare, the meaning “talk.” Here is the source of French parole and parler, and of English parlor, parley, and parliament. The verb διαβαλλειν (literally, “throw across”) suggested hurling slander or abuse; and the noun “Slanderer”—διαβολος (L diabolus)—became eventually the Devil (cf. diabolical). Those who are cynical about the parliamentary process may be pleased to learn that Old Nick is a linguistic cousin of every M.P in Ottawa.


Chapter 23: Some Medical Terminology

§138. General Vocabulary (Greek and Latin)

Chapter 23: Some Medical Terminology
healer G ἰατρος (adj. ἰατρικος) = L medicus (adj. medicinus, LL medicalis) medicare, medicatus; [ars] medicina
treat G θεραπευ-ειν (adj. θεραπευ-τικος); θεραπεια (“treatment”)
doctor < L doctor (docēre, doctus, teach)
surgeon < G χειρουργος (χειρ, “hand” + ἐργον, “work”) > L chirurgus
physician < G φυσικη τεχνη (physikē technē); cf. E physic
poison < L potio = G τοξον (orig. “bow”; adj. τοξικος) = L virus (adj. viralis)
drug < OF drogue = G φαρμακον = L medicamentum

§139. Standard Medical Suffixes (all Greek)

Chapter 23: Some Medical Terminology

The following will often be attached by the combining vowel -o-, as in rhin-o-plasty.

-ist -istēs (-ἰστης) (creates agent noun; L -ista)
itis inflamed condition
ōsis abnormal condition
ōma morbid affection (a growth, L tumor)
-iasis disease, abnormal condition
-tomy -tomia cutting; cf. L incision– (caedere, caesus)
-ectomy -ektomia cutting out; cf. L excision-
-stomy stom(at)- mouth, opening; cf. L. or-i-ficium > E orifice
-plasty plass-/plast- shaping, moulding
-rrh(o)ea rhe- (-rhoia) flow, discharge (e.g., διαῤῥοια)
-rrhagia rhag-/rheg- rapid discharge
-rrhexis rhag-/rheg- bursting; cf. L ruptura (rupture)
-rrhaphy rhapt-/rhaph-This is the root that appears in rhapsode (an ancient Greek “song-stitcher”) and rhapsody. stitching; cf. L sutura (suture)

§140. A Polyglot Guide to Human Anatomy

Chapter 23: Some Medical Terminology

The following lexicon should not be taken too seriously. It is a rough-and-ready attempt to match up names of human body parts and organs in English, Greek, The Greek transliterations use κ > c and χ > ch, so that the words may be more easily recognized. and Latin. Any serious effort to learn anatomical and medical terminology should be a task of many weeks, even months; a two-page summary can only provide a glimpse of what is required. Nevertheless, it is remarkable how few specialized roots one needs to learn, after a course of this kind, in order to manage quite well in recognizing—if not fully understanding—highly technical medical terms.

You will see at once that some of the words below are seldom if ever used in scientific discourse; those forms are provided merely for the sake of comparison.

A. The Head and Mouth NOUN ADJECTIVE
E skull G cranion L > cranium
head cephalē caput, capit- capitalis
brain encephalos cerebrum cerebralis
eye ophthalmos oculus ocularis
ear ōt- aur-is auralis
nose rhin- nasus nasalisFrom the Latin verb olfacere (“smell”) is derived the English adjective olfactory.
mouth stom(at)- os, or-is oralis
lip cheil- labium labialis
tooth odont- dens, dent-is dentalis
gum gingiva gingivalis
tongue glōssa lingua lingualis
B. The Digestive System (the alimentary canal < L alere, “nourish”)
E throat, gullet G (o)eso-phag-us L gula (non-medical)
belly, maw gastēr, gastr-
ventr- (dim. ventriculum)
> stomachus
small intestine
enteron (< entos) intestinum (< intus)
duodenum (“12” [fingers])
liver hēpat- jecur (non-medical)
pancreas pancreat- (“all flesh”)
large intestine cōlon (orig. “limb”)
c(a)ecum (“blind”) +[colon]
rectum (“straight”) + anus

At the risk of appearing scatological, we can deal briefly with the end product (or by-product) of the alimentary canal. The old English word shit has an etymology that links it with the Greek root σχιζ- (“split”), source of E schism, schist, and schizophrenia. Greek σκωρ, σκατ-ος (whence scatological) may be matched with Latin excrementum; the words for animal dung were κοπρος and stercus. (Some mushrooms may be described as coprophilic, and disgusting speech is known as coprolalia —“dung talk.”) E feces, now a standard technical term for excrement, is derived from a Latin word that had nothing to do with excretion: L faeces (“wine-dregs”) still meant “dregs” or “sediment” in English until 1639. Etymologically speaking, therefore, defecate means “to get the dregs out.”

C. The Respiratory System
E breath
G pneum(at)-
L spiritus
respirare, respiratus
throat pharynx, pharyng-
voice-box larynx, laryng-
windpipe trachea
2 tubes bronchi bronchi-ole (mod. dim.)
lung pneumōn- pulmo, pulmon-is
D. The Circulatory System (cardiovascular)
E heart G cardia L cor, cord-is
blood h(a)em(at)- sanguis, sanguin-is
vessel angeion (> angi-) vas (dim. vasculum)
artery artēria
vein phlebs, phleb-os vena
clot thrombos
E. The Urinary-Reproductive System (urogenital)
E kidney G nephros L renes (plural)
bladder cyst- vesica (dim. vesicle = cyst)
urine ouron (> ur-) urina
testicle orchid- testis
(pl. testes; dim. testiculus)
penis phallos penis (vulg. mentula, F.)
sperm sperm(at)-
vas deferens
breast mastos (M.) mamma
egg oon ovum
ovary oophoron ovarium
womb hystera uterus (M.); also matrix
vagina colpos vagina (“sheath,” “scabbard”)
[vulg. cunnus, M.]
month mēn- mensis, plural menses
monthly menstruum
(> menstru-are)


§141. Exercises, Chapter 23

Chapter 23: Some Medical Terminology

The terminology in §140 is a tiny sampling of the hundreds of anatomical terms derived from Greek and Latin; similar lists could be devised for the nervous system, bone structure, musculature, skin and cells, etc.

Here are some sample words to explore and analyse. No key is provided.

psychiatrist stomatodysodia h(a)emorrhoid
pharmacist = halitosis thrombosis
pharmacology gingivectomy nephritis
toxicology cheilocarcinoma nephrosis
hydrotherapy gastroenteritis nephrolithiasis
hydrocephaly gastrorrhaphy menopause
encephalitis hepatopath menorrhagia
encephalogram phlebitis dysmenorrhea
elephantiasis ophthalmophlebotomy hysterectomy
ophthalmoscope ileitis and colitis hysterooophorectomy
rhinometer colostomy monorchidism
rhinorrhagia dyspnea cryptorchidism
otoplasty orthopnea orchidectomy
otoscopy tracheotomy spermatogenesis
otopyorrhea tracheostomy gonorrhea
G πυον = L pus cardiography proctologist
myxorrhea angiorrhexis proctoscope
G μυξα = L mucus angioplasty perihysteric
otorhinolaryngologist h(a)emorrhage pneumogastric



Appendix III: Key to Exercises (Greek)

§102. Exercises, Chapter 15

A. 1. ἀγων agōn 13. λαβυρινθος laburinthos
2. χορος khoros 14. χρυσανθεμον khrusanthemon
3. σκηνη skēnē 15. ζωδιακος zōdiakos
4. γενεσις genesis 16. παθητικος pathētikos
5. ἐξοδος exodos 17. ὀλιγαρχια oligarkhia
6. ψυχη psukhē
(= psychē)
18. ὁριζων horizōn
7. κλιμαξ klimax 19. δυσπεψια duspepsia
8. κωλον kōlon 20. Σισυφος Sisuphos
9. θωραξ thōrax 21. ’Αφροδιτη Aphroditē
10. μαθηματικα mathēmatika 22. ’Ωκεανος Ōkeanos
11. μητροπολις mētropolis 23. Εὐριπιδης Euripidēs
12. φαινομενον phainomenon 24. ‘Ομηρος Homēros
B. 1. barbaros βαρβαρος 13. arakhnophobia αραχνοφοβια
2. katharsis καθαρσις 14. kharaktēr χαρακτηρ
3. aretē αρετη 15. exēgēsis εξηγησις
4. mimēsis μιμησις 16. orkhēstra ορχηστρα
5. turannos τυραννος 17. prōton πρωτον
6. moira μοιρα 18. phusikon φυσικον
7. aristeia αριστεια 19. hubris υβρις
8. parenthesis παρενθεσις 20. Sophoklēs Σοφοκλης
9. antithesis αντιθεσις 21. Gorgias  Γοργιας
10. katastrophē καταστροφη 22. Dēmosthenēs Δημοσθενης
11. rhododendron ροδοδενδρον 23. Alexandros Αλεξανδρος
12. xenophobia ξενοφοβια 24. Hellēspontos Ελλησποντος

§108. Exercises, Chapter 16

A. 1. ‘ΕΛΛΑΣ Hellas (= Greece)
2. ΖΕΥΣ Zeus
3. ΔΗΜΗΤΗΡ Dēmētēr
4. ‘ΗΡΟΔΟΤΟΣ Hērodotos (L Herodotus)
5. ΣΑΠΦΩ Sapphō
6. ΚΥΚΛΩΨ Kuklōps (L Cyclops)
7. ΠΑΝΔΩΡΑ Pandōra
8. ’ΗΧΩ Ēkhō (L Echo)
9. ΝΑΡΚΙΣΣΟΣ Narkissos (L Narcissus)
10. ’ΙΗΣΟΥΣ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ Iēsous Khristos (L Iesus Christus)
11. ΜΑΘΘΑΙΟΣ Maththaios (L Matthaeus)
12. ΜΑΡΚΟΣ Markos (L. Marcus)
13. ΛΟΥΚΑΣ Loukas (L Lucas)
14. ’ΙΩΑΝΝΗΣ Iōannēs (L Iohannes)
B. 1. σταδιον stadium
2. ἀμοιβη amoeba
3. Βακχος Bacchus
4. γαγγραινα gangraena
5. Οἰδιπους Oedipus
6. κρανιον cranium
7. Δαιδαλος Daedalus
8. Λιβυη Libya

§112. Exercises, Chapter 17

A. 1. anthropology ἀνθρωπος human being
2. geometry γη earth
3. demography δημος people
4. theosophy θεος god
5. ecology οἰκος house
6. ophthalmology ὀφθαλμος eye
7. organology ὀργανον instrument
8. cardiography καρδια heart
9. technocracy τεχνη skill
10. zoology ζωον animal
11. psychometric ψοχη breath, spirit, soul
12. osteopathy ὀστεον bone
B. 1. etymology true study
2. chronometry time measurement
3. bibliomania book madness
4. economy house(hold) law
5. telescopy far viewing
6. oligarchy rule by the few
7. necromancy corpse divination
8. philosophy love of wisdom

§122. Exercises, Chapter 19

A. 1. palaeolithic neolithic
2. polygamous monogamous
3. orthodox heterodox
4. cacophony euphony
B. 1. autodidact self-taught
2. orthodontist tooth-straightener
3. isochromatic equal in colour
4. heterophyllous other-leafed
5. macropterous having long wings
6. polydactylism (too) many fingers
7. neophyte new grown, newly planted
8. panacea all-healing, cure-all
C. 1. stereophonic < G stere-o-phon-ic: stere– (στερεος, “solid”) + –o– (connecting vowel) + –phon– (φωνη, “voice”) + –ic (adj. suffix -ικος)
2. megalomania < G megal-o-mania: megal– (μεγας, “big”) + –o– (connecting vowel) + –mania (μανια, madness)
3. heterogamy < G heter-o-gamy: heter– (ἑτερος, “other”) + –o– (connecting vowel) + –gamy (γαμος, marriage)

§130. Exercises, Chapter 20

A. 1. hexameter < G hexa– (six) + –meter (measure); “having six measures”
2. tripod < G tri– (three) + –pod (foot); “having three feet”
3. quadrangle < L quadr– (four) + –angle (corner); “having four corners”
4. octahedron < G octa– (eight) + –hedron (base); “having eight bases”
5. duplicate < L du-(two) + –plic- (fold) + –ate (perf. part.); “folded in two”
6. hemisphere < G hemi– (half) + –sphere (ball); “a half ball”
7. millennium < L mill– (thousand) + –ennium (year period); “1000 years”
8. quinquefoliate < L quinque– (five) + –foliate (having leaves); “five leafed”
9. dyarchy < G dy– (two) + –archy (rule); “rule by two”
10. sexagenarian < L sexagen– (sixty) + –arian ; “someone in their sixties”
Nb. These are schematic analyses only, providing a minimum of information.
B. 1. polychrome < G poly-chrome: poly- (πολυ-, “many”) + -chrome (χρωμα, “colour”)
2. leukemia < G leuk-em-ia: leuk- (λευκ-, “white”) + -em- (αἱμα, “blood”) + -ia (noun suffix)
3. trigonometry < G tri-gon-o-metry: tri- (τρι-, “three”) + -gon- (γων-, “angle”) + -o- (connecting vowel) + -metry (-μετρια, “measurement”)
4. geomorphology < G ge-o-morph-o-logy: ge- (γη, “earth”) + -o- (connecting vowel) + -morph- (μορφη, “form”) + -o- (connecting vowel) + -logy (-λογια, “study”)
5. photophobia < G phot-o-phobia: phot- (φως, φωτ-, “light”) + -o- (connecting vowel) + -phobia (-φοβια, “fear”)



Appendix IV: Summary of Vocabulary Tables (Greek)

Appendix IV: Summary of Vocabulary Tables (Greek)
γη (base gē-) earth geography
κεφαλε kephalē head cephalic
μορφη morphē form morphology
τεχνη technē art, skill technical
φωνη phōnē voice, sound phonograph
ψυχη psychē breath, spirit, soul psychology
γλωσσα glōssa tongue gloss, glossary
     (γλωττα)      (glōtta) (polyglot)
καρδια kardia heart cardiac
μουσα mousa muse music, musical
σφαιρα sphaira ball, globe spherical
ἀνθρωπος anthrōpos man (= human) anthropology
βιος bios life biology
γαμος gamos marriage bigamy
δακτυλος daktylos finger dactyl
δημος dēmos people demography
θεος theos god monotheism
κυκλος kyklos wheel, circle cycle
λιθος lithos stone lithograph
νεκρος nekros
corpse necropolis
ξενος xenos
stranger xenophobia
οἰκος oikos
house ecology
ὀφθαλμος ophthalmos
eye ophthalmologist
τοπος topos
place topic
χρονος chronos time chronicle
ζωον zōon animal zoology
θεατρον theatron viewing-place theatre
κεντρον kentron
sharp point, goad centre
μετρον metron measure metre, metric
νευρον neuron sinew, [nerve] neurology
ὀργανον organon
tool, instrument organ
ὀστεον osteon bone osteopath
πτερον pteron feather, wing pterodactyl
ἀηρ aēr air aerodynamic
πυρ pyr fire pyromania
ὑδωρ hydōr (hydr-) water hydraulic
δαιμων daimōn god, spirit demonic
χειρ cheir hand chiropractor
πους, ποδος pous, pod- foot podiatrist
γαστηρ, γαστρος gastēr, gastr- stomach gastronomy
ὀδους, ὀδοντος odous, odont- tooth orthodontic
ῥις, ῥινος rhis, rhin- nose rhinoceros
φως, φωτος phōs, phōt- light photograph
ἀνηρ, ἀνδρος anēr, andr- man polyandry
γυνη, γυναικος gynē, gynaik- woman gynecology
παις, παιδος pais, paid- child p(a)ediatric
γερων, γεροντος gerōn, geront- old man gerontology
πολις polis city acropolis
ἀλγος algos (alg-) pain neuralgia
βαρος baros (bar-) weight barometer
ἐθνος ethnos (ethn-) nation ethnic
ἠθος ēthos (ēth-) custom, character ethos
αἱμα, αἱματος haima, haimat- blood haemophilia
δερμα, δερματος derma, dermat- skin hypodermic
ὀνυμα, ὀνυματος onyma, onymat- name synonym
(ὀνομα, ὀνοματος) (onoma, onomat-) onomatopoeia
σωμα, σωματος sōma, sōmat- body psychosomatic
χρωμα, χρωματος chrōma, chrōmat- colour chromosome
ἀκρος akros top(most) acropolis
αὐτος autos self autograph
ἑτερος heteros other heterodox
ὁμος homos same homomorphic
ἰσος isos equal isometric
ὀρθος orthos straight, right orthodontic
νεος neos new neologism
παλαιος palaios old palaeography
μεγας megas (mega-) great, large megaphone
            (megal-) megalomania
μακρος makros long, (large) macrocephaly
μικρος mikros small microscope
πας pas (pan-, pant-) all
pantheon, pantomime
πολυς polys (poly-) (much), many polygamy
ψευδης pseudēs (pseud-) false pseudonym
θε- the “place” τιθεναι (“to place”)
δο- do “give” διδοναι (“to give”)
στα- sta “stand” ἱσταναι (“to stand”)
κρι- kri “divide,” “judge” κρινειν (“to judge”)
λυ- ly “loosen,” “set free” λυειν (“to loosen”)
gen-,cf. Latin gen-, as in genusgenerisprogeny and progenitor are Latin derivatives. genē-, gon- (be born) genesis, dysgenesis, genetic, gene, eugenics, gonad, gonorrhoea, cosmogony, theogony, oxygen, hydrogen, pathogen(ic), carcinogen(ic), parthenogenesis (< παρθενος, “virgin”)
path-, pathē- (suffer, feel) pathos, pathetic, sympathy, empathy, apathy, apathetic, antipathy, antipathetic(al), pathology, psychopath, etc.
pher-, phor-, (bear, carry) periphery, euphoria, dysphoria, semaphore, phosphorus, phosphorescence (form?)
leg-, log-, (speak; gather) -logy (-λογια, §110), dialect, dialectic, eclectic, dialogue (διαλογος > L dialogus), monologue, prologue, epilogue, apology, eulogy, anthology
graph-, gram- (write) -graph and -graphia (-γραφος, -γραφια, §110); gram, anagram, diagram, epigram, program(me), programmatic, telegram, grammatical, grammar
skop-, skep- (watch, examine) -scope and -scopia (-σκοπος, -σκοπια, §110); sceptic (skeptic), scepticism, episcopal, bishop < ἐπισκοπος (“overseer”)
trop- (turn) trope, tropic(al), tropism, heliotrope
stroph-, streph- (turn, twist) strophe, antistrophe, apostrophe, catastrophe, streptococcus
stol- (send) apostle, apostolic, epistle, diastole
kryp-, kryph- (hide) crypt (κρυπ-τος), cryptic (κρυπ-τικος), apocryphal cryptogram
phy- (grow) neophyte; G φυσις = L natura; physics, physical, metaphysical, physio-
aisthē- (feel, perceive) aesthete, (a)esthetic, anaesthetic, anaesthesia
agōg- (lead) synagogue, demagogue (δημ-αγωγος), pedagogue
ball-, bol-, blē- (throw) ballistics (via Latin), symbol, problem, emblem, hyperbole, hyperbola, parabola, parable, diabolic(al), anabolism, embolism, metabolism
pha-, phē- (speak) aphasia, dysphasia, euphemism, dysphemism, prophet (προφητης > L prophēta), prophetic, prophecy (προφητεια), prophesy, blaspheme
pha(i)n, pha- (show, appear) phase, emphasis, emphatic, phenomenon (pl. -a), epiphany, theophany, diaphanous, phantasy (fantasy and fantastic show Latinized spelling)
hora-, op(t)– (see) optic (ὀπ-τικος), synopsis, synoptic, autopsy, biopsy, optometrist, optician (hybrid), panorama, cyclorama, diorama
rheu-, rho-, rheo- (flow) rheum, rheumatic, rheumatoid, rheostat, catarrh, diarrhoea (diarrhea), gonorrhoea
tak- (arrange) syntax (συνταξις < *sun-tak-sis), tactic(al), tactician, taxidermy