Meanings of Verbs of the Ι-Class

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58. Verbs in -εω are mainly intransitive, whether formed from adjectives, as ἀπιστέω (I am unbelieving), or abstract nouns, as μοχθέω (I labor). But there is also a group of causatives in -εω, as φοβέω (I put to flight), ὀχέω, φορέω.

Verbs in -οω are chiefly formed from adjectives in -ος, and are causative, as χηρόω (I make desolate). Exceptions are, ὑπνώ-οντες (sleeping), ῥιγόω (I shudder), βιόω (I live).

59. Desideratives. One instance in -σειω is found in Homer, ὀψείοντες going to see (Il. 14.37).

A suffix -ι̯ε(ο) may be found in κακκείοντες going to bed (κατά-κει-μαι), πι-όμενα going to drink, δραίνεις you are for doing (Il. 10. 96).

60. Frequentives, expressing habitual action

In -ταω, -ταζω, -τεω.

εὐχετάο-μαι
ναιετάω
οἰνοπο-τάζω
ζη-τέω (δί-ζη-μαι)
λαμ-πετόωντι
ἑλκυστάζων

In -ιαω.

κελευτιόων shouting (as if from an abstract noun κελευ-τία)
κυδιόων glorying

In -ναω.

ἐρυκανόωσι keep restraining
ἰσχανόωσι

In -θαω

τηλεθόωσα blooming (θαλ-έθω)

61. Intensives, expressing actions intensified by repetition. These are generally reduplicated verbs of the Ι-Class, the reduplication containing either a diphthong or a second consonant.

δει-δίσσεσθαι to terrify
δαι-δάλλων working curiously
ἐκ-παι-φάσσειν to rush in front
παμ-φαίνων gleaming
βαμ-βαίνων staggering
μαρμαίροντες glittering
κάρ-καιρε chattered
πόρ-φυρε was troubled (lit. of water)
πα-φλάζοντα splashing
πα-πταίνων peeping round
μαι-μάει rages
δενδίλλων (for δελδ-?) winking

62. Collateral forms of the Present. It is characteristic of the Homeric language that present stems formed in different ways from the same verb stem often subsist together in actual use, as alternative forms expressing the same (or nearly the same) meaning. Thus we have

λήθ-ω, ληθ-άνω, λανθάνω
πεύθο-μαι, πυνθάνο-μαι
βά-σκω, βαίνω, βιβά-ς, βιβά-ζω, βιβάσθων
ῑ̔́κω, ῐ̔κάνω, ἱκ-νέ-ομαι
ἔχω, ἴσχω, ἰσχάνω, ἰσχανάω
ἐρύ-κο-μαι, ἐρυ-κ-άνω, ἐρυ-κ-ανό-ωσι
ἀλεύ-ομαι, ἀλύσκω, ἀλυσκάνω, ἀλυσκάζω
τά-νυ-μαι, τα-νύω, τείνω, τιταίνω
τεύχω, τυγχάνω, τι-τύ-σκο-μαι
μένω, μί-μνω, μι-μνά-ζω

It may be conjectured that these different forms originally expressed corresponding shades of meaning. In some cases a more specific meaning may still be traced, e.g. φάσκω I allege (i.e. keep saying, or perhaps try to say) has something of the iterative force (cp. ῥίπτασκε he kept flinging about) which in θνῄσκω, διδάσκω, etc. has been softened or generalized into the ordinary meaning of the present.

Similarly the reduplication in βίβας (striding), μιμνάζω (I stay waiting), τιταίνω (stretch) is to be compared with that of the intensive verbs. The perfect, too, may be regarded as a refined and generalized kind of intensive; cp. the forms λέληκα, κίκρᾱγα, μέμῡκα, etc. with καρκαίρω, ὀλολύζω, παφλάζω, etc. Future in -σω.

Note— The derivative verbs in -αζω are often frequentative or intensive, but with a tone of contempt.

μιμνάζω
I loiter

ἀλυσκάζω
I shirk

πτωσκάζω
I cower1

ἀκουάζομαι
I please myself with hearing2

so νεύω and νευστάζω (Il. 20.162), μίγνυμι and μιγάζομαι (Od. 8.271), ῥίπτω and ῥιπτάζω, ἐρύω and ῥυστάζω εἰλύω and εἰλυφάζω.

  • 1Stronger than πτώσσω, c. p. Il. 4.371 τί πτώσσεις, τί δʼ ὀπιπεύεις πολέμοιο γεφύρας; οὐ μὲν Τυδέϊ γʼ ὧδε φίλον πτωσκαζέμεν ἦεν
  • 2Il. 4.343 δαιτὸς ἀκουάζεσθον; Od. 13.9 ἀκουάζεσθε δʼ ἀοιδοῦ

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/meanings-verbs-%CE%B9-class