Denominative Nouns

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429. Nouns of quality (all feminine) are made from adjectives, and occasionally from nouns, by adding to the stem the suffixes -τητ, -ιᾱ, -συνᾱ. Abstract nouns often become concrete, being applied to special instances of the quality or action.

a. Suffix -τητ, nominative -της (cp. Latin -tāt, -tās).

πιστότης
faithfulness
πιστό-ς
faithful
(σ)μῑκρό-της
smallness
(σ)μῑκρό-ς
small
παχύ-της
thickness
παχύ-ς
thick

b. Suffix -ιᾱ, nominative -ίᾱ or -ια, before which a final stem vowel is lost.

φιλ-ίᾱ
friendship
φίλο-ς
friend
ἀποικ-ίᾱ
colony
ἄποικο-ς
away from home
εὐδαιμον-ίᾱ
happiness
εὐδαίμων
happy
εὔνοια
good-will
εὔνοο-ς
friendly, kind
ἀλήθεια (for ἀληθεσ-ια)
truth
ἀληθής (ἀληθεσ-)
true
ἀσθένεια (for ἀσθενεσια)
weakness
ἀσθενής (ἀσθενεσ-)
weak
ἀθανασ-ίᾱ
immortality (46)
ἀθάνατο-ς
immortal
εὐεργεσ-ίᾱ
benefaction (46)
εὐεργέτης
benefactor

c. Suffix -συνᾱ, nominative -σύνη, before which a final consonant of the stem is lost.

δικαιο-σύνη
justice
δίκαιο-ς
just, right
σωφρο-σύνη
self-control
σώφρων (σωφρον-)
self-controlled

430. Nouns denoting a person who has to do with something are made with the suffixes -ευ, -τᾱ, -τιδ (cp. 405).

a. Suffix -ευ, nominative -εύς, masculine, some forming a feminine in -εια. A final stem vowel is lost before the suffix.

ἴππ-εύς
horseman
ἴππο-ς
horse
ἱερ-εύς
priest
ἱερό-ς
sacred
ἱέρ-εια
priestess
γραμματ-εύς
clerk, secretary
γράμμα (γραμματ-)
writing

b. Sufix -τᾱ, nominative -της (masculine), some forming a feminine in -τιδ, nominative -τις. A final stem vowel before the ending is often changed in some way.

πολῑ́-της
citizen
πόλι-ς
state
πολῖ-τις
citizen
στρατιώ-της
soldier
στρατιᾱ́
army
νησιώ-της
islander
νησίο-ν
islander
νησιῶ-τις
island
νῆσο-ς
island
δημό-της
demesman
δῆμος
deme
οἰκέ-της
house-servant
οἶκο-ς
house
οἰκέτις
house-servant
δεσμώ-της
prisoner
δεσμός
bond
δεσμῶ-τις
prisoner

431. Several suffixes form nouns, many of which (but not all) have a diminutive meaning, or a caressing or a contemptuous tone; the end of the stem often suffers a change.

a. Suffix -ιο, nominative -ιον (neuter).

παιδ-ίο-ν
little child
παῖς (παιδ-)
child
ἀκόντ-ιο-ν
javelin
ἄκων (ἀκοντ-)
spear
βιβλ-ίο-ν
bοοk
βίβλο-ς
papyrus, book
χρυσ-ίο-ν
gold piece
χρῡσό-ς
gold
πεδ-ίο-ν
plain
πέδο-ν
ground
χωρ-ίο-ν
fortress
χῶρο-ς
place
χώρᾱ
land

b. Suffix -ισκο, -ισκᾱ, nominative -ίσκος (mascasculine), -ίσκη (feminine).

νεᾱν-ίσκος
youth, youngster
νεᾱνίᾱ-ς
youth
παιδ-ίσκος
little boy
παῖς (παιδ-)
child
παιδ-ίσκη
little girl

c. Also the suffixes -άριο-ν, -ίδιο-ν, -ύλλιο-ν.

παιδ-άριο-ν
little chap
παῖς (παιδ-)
child
οἰκ-ίδιο-ν
little house
οἶκος
hοuse
Σωκρατ-ίδιο-ν
dear little Sokrates
Σωκράτης (-εσ-)
Sokrates
εἰδ-ύλλιο-ν
little picture, idyl
εἶδος (εἰδεσ-)
form

432. Words denoting a place are made with the suffixes -ιο, -ειο, -τηριο, -ων, often with some change at the end of the stem.

a. Suffix -ιο, -ειο, nominative -ιον, -ειον, neuter.

μυροπώλ-ιο-ν
perfumerʼs shop
μυροπώλης
perfume-seller
κουρεῖο-ν
barberʼs shop (27)
κουρεύ-ς
barber
μουσ-εῖο-ν
place of the muses
μοῦσα
muse

In other instances the force of the ending is vague.

ἀγγεῖον (for ἀγγεσ-ιον)
dish, vessel
ἄγγος (ἀγγεσ-)
dish, vessel
σημεῖο-ν
sign, note
σῆμα (σηματ-)
mark

b. Suffix -τηριο, nominative -τηριον, neuter, apparently made by adding -ιο to nouns in -τηρ (405), which were later crowded out by the forms in -της.

δικασ-τήρ-ιο-ν
court
δικαστής (δικαστήρ)
judge
βουλευ-τήρ-ιο-ν
council-hall
βουλευτής (βουλευ-τήρ)
councilor
δεσμω-τήρ-ιο-ν
prison
δεσμό-ς
bond

Probably in some cases the starting-point was the verb, without thought of an intervening noun.

ἐργασ-τήριο-ν
wοrkshop
ἐργάζομαι (ἐργαδ-)
work

c. Suffix -ων, nominative -ών, masculine, with loss of a final stem vowel.

ἀμπελ-ών
vineyard
ἄμπελος
vine
παρθεν-ών
maidenʼs room
παρθένο-ς
maiden
ἀνδρ-ών
menʼs hall
ἀνήρ (ἀνδρ-)
man

Some of these are enlarged by the ending -ιτιδ, nominative -ῖτις, feminine.

ἀνδρων-ῖτις
menʼs quarters
γυναικων-ῖτις
womens quarters

433. Nouns denoting descent (patronymics) are made from names of persons by adding -δᾱ or -ιδᾱ, nominative -δης or -ίδης, masculine, and -δ or -ιδ, nominative -(ά)ς or -ίς, feminine, sometimes with changes at the end of the stem.

a.

Bορεά-δης son of Bορέᾱ-ς
Bορεά-ς daughter of
Αἰνεά-δης son of Αἰνέᾱς (Αἰνείᾱς)

Nouns of this type caused -άδης and -άς to be taken as endings for making other names.

Θεστι-άδης Θέστιο-ς
Θεστι-άς (-αδ-)
Ἀσκληπι-άδης Ἀσκλήπιο-ς

Names of this type caused -ιάδης to be taken as an ending to form other nouns.

Tελαμων-ιάδης Tελαμών

b.

Κεκροπ-ίδης Κέκροψ (Κεκροπ-)
Κεκροπ-ίς
Κρον-ίδης Κρόνο-ς
Δανα-ίδης Δάναο-ς
Δανα-ίς (-ιδ)

c. Many such words were ordinary proper names, not denoting descent: Εὐρῑπίδης, Bακχυλίδης, Ἀριστείδης.

d. These endings were probably at first less definite in meaning, like -ιο (424), and that more general force appears in some words, especially in poetry.

434. Nouns (and adjectives) that mark a person as belonging to some people or city (gentiles) are made with the suffixes -ευ, -τᾱ, -ιδ, -τιδ. These are but special uses under headings already given.

a. Suffix -ευ (cp. 430.a), fem. -ιδ (cp. 433.b and d).

Mεγαρ-εύς Megarian Mέγαρα (neut. pl.)
Mεγαρ-ίς (-ιδ-)
Εὐβο-εύ-ς of Euboia Eὔβοια
Εὐβο-ίς (-ιδ-)
Κηφῑσι-εύς of the Kephisian deme Κηφῑσίᾱ

b. Suffix -τᾱ, fem. -τιδ (cp. 430.b).

Αἰγῑνή-της, of Aigina Αἴγῑνα
Aἰγῑνῆ-τις
Συβαῑ́ρ-της Sybarite Σύβαρι-ς
Συβαρῖ-τις
Ἠπειρώ-της Epirote Ἤπειρο-ς
Ἠπειρῶ-τις

In several the ending seems to be -ώτης, -ῶτις:

Σικελι-ώτης Sicilian Σικελίᾱ
Σικελι-ῶτις

Suggested Citation

Meagan Ayer, ed. Goodell’s School Grammar of Attic Greek. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2018. ISBN: 978-1-947822-10-8. http://dcc.dickinson.edu/grammar/goodell/denominative-nouns