Meaning of Compound Nouns

Book Nav


126. The general rule is that the prefixed Stem limits or qualifies the meaning of the other: as ὥμο-γέρων 2αίe οἰd πman, δημο-γέρων elder ῃʼ tὰe peορίe, τρι-γέρων (Aesch.) tarice aged ; ἰππό-δαμο-ς taρmer f 2οτses, ἰππό-βοτο-ς pastμred γ ἀοτπes, ἱππό-κομος μwitᾶ pίπme ofʼ 2οrπe-ἄaiτ, ἱππο- κέλευθος πaίng κwαγ μκwitὰ ἀοrseς; βαθυ-δινήεις deeρ-eddying.

The prefixed Stem may evidently express very diTerent rela- tions-that of an Adjective, as ὥμο-γέρων, βαθυ-δίνης, or a Genitive, as δημογέρων, ἰππό-κομος, or an Obect, as ἰππό-δαμος, or an Adverb of manner or place or instrument, as ὁμ-ηγερέες, ἠερο-φοῖτις, ὅʼc.-and various attempts have been made to classify Compounds according to these relations. Such attempts are usually unsatisfactory unless the diβferences of meaning upon which they are based are accompanied by ddiferences of grammatical fοrm.

In respect of form an important distinction is made by the fact that in the second part of many Compounds a Substantive acquires the meaning of an Adjective without the use of a new Suffix ; σ.g. ῥοδο-δάκτυλο-ς, literally τοsednρeτ, means not a τοdγ fππgeτ, but ὁaνiπg τὸ53 pπρeτε; so ἰππό-κομος witῷ a 2οτse-ρίuwae, ἰππιο χαίτη-ς μwti ἄοrςeς πmane (as a ρίκρme), βαθυ-δίνη-ς (ππ βαθυ- δινή-εις), Sc. Such Compounds are called by Curtius dttribνtire. The formation is analogous to the turning of abstract into con- crete Nouns by a mere change of Gender (instead of a Suffix), ἦ 116. Thus διο-γενής (ππ δῖον γένος ἔχων) is to δῖον γένος as ψευδής fαtre to ψεῦδος falsehοοd.

Among the meanings which may be conveyed by a Stem in a Compound, note the poetical use to express coρρaτsοn 2 as ἀελλό-πος πtοrπafοοt, i.e. μwit feet (πwgt) as tie ςtοτπα, μελίγηριν-ς 2οneγ-υοίcead, ῥοδο-δάκτυλο-ς, κυν-ῶπι-ς, ὅʼc. ἅSo too ποδ-ήνεμο-ς tiἐἑe the wiπnd in feet, θυμο-λέων like a ἰiοn in spirit.

The order of the tςwο Stems may be almost indiβferent; i. e. it may be indiferent which of the two notions is treated as quali- fying the other; d.g. ποδ-ώκης gf ῃ fοοt (ππ ὠκὺς τοὺς πόδας)is the same in practical elect as ὡκύ-πους swift-fοοt, with swift feet (ὠκεῖς πόδας ἔχων).

In the Compounds called by Curtius Objectiνe, i.e. where the relation between the two parts is that of governing and governed word, the general rule requires that the governed sword should come first, as in ἰππό-δαμο-ς 2οrse-taρiππg. Γhis order appears to be reversed in certain cases in which the first Stem has the force of a Verb. Γhe Stems so used are

  1. Stems in 2 (ἢ 124, d, as ἑλκε-χίτωνες, ἐχέ-φρων, etc.
  2. Stems in -σι (ἡ 124, c), as ἑλκε-σί-πεπλος, φθι-σ-ήνωρ, etc.
  3. Some of the Stems in -ι, as εἰλί-ποδες, κυδι-άνειρα, ἁμαρτί- νοος (Hee.), λαθι-κηδής, λαθί-φρων, τερπι-κέραυνος (ἢ 124, ὁ) ; and in -0, hS φιλο-πτόλεμμος ἰουίng 0ατ, φιλο-κέρτομος, φιλο-κτέανος, φνγο-πτόλεμος f(γiπg fτοam μwατ, ἀμαρτο-επής btμanderίng in ρeec, ἠλιτόμηνος aσtraγ aw to tθe ποπntἄτ also the Compounds of ταλα-, τλη-, as ταλα-πενθής endμurίng ςοrτομw, Γλη-πόλεμος, ὅʼc, and τανυυ-, as τανύ-πτερος (Hee.), vwhich iseee the Homeric τανυσί-πτερος.

In most of these cases the inversion is only apparent. For instance, ἑλκεσί-πεπλος means trailin9 the robe as distinguished from other ways of wearing it; the notion of trailing is there- fore the limiting one. So τανυσί-πτερος means ἰοg-κwίπρedd; μενε-πτόλεμος, φυγο-πτόλεμος, Γλη-πόλεμος, Nεο-πτόλεμος describe varieties of the genus 'warrior.'

Nevertheless we must recognise a considerable number of Compounds in which the Prefixed Stem is Verbal in form as well as in meaning. A similar group has been formed in English ( catc2-ᾳρeunγ, πmαἑe-a2t, dο-ποtὰin9, 8Sxxc., and in the Romance languages (French ναμu-τen, cτο7κe-πaitaine, Ibtalian fa-tμttο, 8dc.). These groups are of relativel y late formation, and confined for the most part to colloquial language. The corresponding Greek forms represent a nevw departure of the same kind.

The process by which the second part of a Compound passes into a ὅuθί2 cannot often be traced in Greek. An example may be found in -απο-ς (ποδ-απός, ἡμεδ-απός, ἀλλοδ-απός),ππ Sanscr. -αὥc, Lust. -iπ9μμua (οng-inᾳuαd, ρττορ-nηᾳuus). In the adjectives in -ο, as οἶνοψ, αἶθον, ἦνοψ, νῶροψ, μέροψ, the original sense of the Stem -οπ is evidently very faint. Ihn the proper names Αἰθίοπες, Δόλοπες, Ελλοπες, Πέλον, 8Sdc. it becomes a mere Suffix.