Gender of Denominative Nouns

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119. The rules previously given (§ 116) apply to denominative nouns; the exceptions are few. Note

Il. 18.222 ὄπα χάλκεον (χαλκέην Zenod.)

Il. 19.88 ἄγριον ἄτην1

Il. 20.299 (= Od. 5.410) ἁλὸς πολιοῖο

Od. 3.82 πρῆξις . . . δήμιος

Od. 4.442 ὀλοώτατος ὀδμή

Od. 23.233 ἀσπάσιος γῆ (al. ἀσπασίως).

The origin of the masculine patronymics in -δη-ς may be explained in the same way as the Nouns of the Agent in -τη-s (§ 116.2). We may suppose them to be derived from a group of collective nouns in -δη: e.g. Ἀτρεΐδη meaning the family of Atreus, Ἀτρεΐδη-ς would mean one of the Ἀτρεΐδη 2

  • 1The passage is probably corrupt, since it appears that the Homeric form of ἄτη is the uncontracted ἀάτη, ἀϝάτη)
  • 2It may be conjectured that the epithets in -ιωw, such as Κρονίων, Ὑπερίων, Οὐρανίωνες, are derived from collectives in -ωv (§ 116.6) Thus from οὐρανίων (singular feminine) the heavenly powers we might have οὐρανίωνες heavenly ones, and finally οὐρανίαων as a singular masculine Cp. φυγάς originally  "a body of exiles", then φυγάδες "exiles", then φυγάς "an exile". So in French, first la gent "people" then les gens, finally un gens-d'armes.

Suggested Citation

D.B. Monro, A Grammar of the Homeric Dialect. Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-947822-04-7. https://dcc.dickinson.edu/index.php/grammar/monro/gender-denominative-nouns