Denominative Verbs

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120. Some apparent anomalies in the denominative verbs may be explained by the loss of an intermediate step of formation. Thus, there are many verbs in -ευω not formed from nouns in -ευ-ς, as βουλεύω (βουλ-ή), ἀγορεύω (ἀγορή), θηρεύω (θήρ); so that, instead of the three stages

  Denom. Noun Denom. Verb
νομό-ς νομ-εύ-ς νομ-εύω
ἄριστο-ς ἀριστ-εύ-ς ἀριστ-εύ-ω

the language goes directly from any noun to a verb in -ευω.

Again, the verbs in -ιαω (§ 60) presuppose nouns in -ιη, which are seldom found in use: δηριάομαι (cp. δῆρι-ς from which an intermediate δηρί-η might be formed), μητιάω (cp. μῆτι-ς), κυδιόων, ἀοιδιάουσα, ἑδριόωντο, μειδιόων, θαλπιόων, φυσιόωντες, φαληριόωντα, ἑψιάασθαι (Od. 21.429), δειελιήσας.

Similarly, a primitive noun may appear to be denominative because the verb from which it is formed is wanting. E. g. if in the series

ἀνί-η vexation
ἀνι-άω, ἀνι-η-ρό-ς

ὀϊζύ-ς grief
ὀϊζύ-ω, ὀϊζυ-ρό-ς

the verb were passed over, we should appear to have a denominative noun in -ρο-ς. Again, if the primitive noun in -η and the verb in -αω vwere both wanting, we should practically have the compound suffix -η-ρο; this accordingly is the case (e. g.) in

αἰψ-ηρό-ς (αἶψα)

θυ-ηλή (θύ-ω)

ὑψ-ηλό-ς (ὕψι)


In this way are formed the peculiar Homeric -ωρη, -ωλη, which are used virtually as primary suffixes (forming abstract nouns).



ἀλεωρή (ἀλεϝ)




Note that the difference between -ωρη and -ωλη is euphonic; -ωρη is found only when there is a preceding λ in the stem.

The verb stem in denominative verbs is not always the same as that of the Noun from which it is formed.

  1. Verbs in -εω, -οω lengthen the final -ο of the nοun stem to -η and -ω.



    The ground of this peculiarity must be sought in the fact that the denominative verbs were originally confined (like the Tenth Class of Sanskrit) to the present tense and its moods. Consequently the other tenses—the future, the aorist, and the perfectwere formed not directly from the noun, but from the stem as it appeared in the present tense. Hence such forms as φοβή-σα, ἐ-φόβη-σα, πεφόβη-μαι go back to a period when the present was either φόβημι or φοβή-ω.

  2. Verbs in -ζω form tenses and derivative nouns as if from a verb stem in -δ, as

    ὕβρι-ς, ὑβρί-ζω, ὑβριστής

    as if ὑβριδ-τη-ς, although there is no δ in the declension of ὕβρι-ς.

  3. Verbs in -ι̯ω from nominal stems in -ρο, -λο, -νο often suppress the final -ο.

    καθαίρω (for καθαρ-ι̯ω)

    ποι- κίλος
    ποικίλλω (for ποικιλ-ι̯ω)

    So perhaps ἀπι-νύσσω from ἀπίνυτο-ς, and even ἐρέσσω from ἐρέτ-η-ς. We may compare the loss of -ο, -η before a suffix such as -ιο: see § 117, fn 1.

Suggested Citation

D.B. Monro, A Grammar of the Homeric Dialect. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-04-7.