English translation (word)
English translation (etymon)
Etymologicum (excerpta e cod. Vat. gr. 1456), 51
A.M. Micciarelli Collesi, "Nuovi `excerpta' dall' Etimologico' di Orione," Byzantion 40 (1970): 521-542
Βίβλος: διὰ τὸ τοὺς βίους βάλλεσθαι ἐν αὐτῇ ... ἢ διὰ τὸ βαβαί ἢ διὰ τὸ βέβαιον
Biblos ("book"): because lives (bious) are written down (lit. "thrown", ballesthai) in it… or because of the exclamation babai "wow!", or because it is lasting (bebaion).
Etym. Gudianum, beta, p. 270 (idem)
The name of the papyrus comes from the place name Byblos in Phoenicia, through metonymy
Persistence in Modern Greek
Βίβλος is used in MG designating: 1. the Bible, 2. (only in singular) the total of documents aiming at informing the broad public on several issues, 3. the set of rules for a field. MG also has βιβλίο "book" (from the diminutive βιβλίον).
This etymology does not parse the word as a compound but as a simple word. It is clearly a graphic etymology: Greek scholars used to think in terms of letters rather than sounds. That means that their manipulations start from the graphic shape of the word rather than its pronunciation. And in a graphic system using uncials, ΒΙΒΛΙΟΝ, the diminutive of biblos, is close to ΒΕΒΑΙΟΝ, the neuter of the adjective bebaios "firm, steady", hence "enduring, lasting", since Α and Λ have a similar shape and are indeed often mistaken in manuscripts. The next step, which remains implicit, is the change of [e] to [i] in the initial syllable, but this was not a problem and could be backed by well-known cases where an [i] reduplication (in the present stem) alternates with an [e] reduplication (in the perfect stem), for instance tithēmi / tethēka. From the semantic point of view, the etymology defines the book by what may be its main function: to be a lasting monument (scripta manent): as a matter of fact, this etymology is fitted for the derivative biblion "book" rather than for biblos which means primarily "papyrus"