ἀ- + ἴσχω
English translation (word)
English translation (etymon)
καὶ ἔστι κατὰ τὸ ἔτυμον αἶσχος ὃ οὐκ ἄν τις ἴσχειν βούληται· ἴσχειν δὲ τὸ ἔχειν.
"And aiskhos "shame" is etymologically what one would not want to retain (iskhein); and iskhein "retain" means "to have" (ekhein)."
Theognostus, Canones sive De orthographia 5 (τὸ αἶσχος, καὶ εἴ τι παρ’ αὐτὸ, διὰ τῆς αι διφθόγγου γράφεται· σύνθετον γὰρ παρὰ τὸ ἔχω· ἴσχω καὶ ἴσχος, καὶ μετὰ τοῦ α δηλοῦντος τὸ κακὸν, ἄϊσχος καὶ αἶσχος); Choεroboscus, De orthographia (epitome) p. 179 (παρὰ γὰρ τὸ α στερητι κὸν καὶ τὸ ἴσχω, οἱονεὶ ἄϊσχος, καὶ αἶσχος); Etym. Genuinum, alpha 253 (Αἶσχος· ἡ ὕβρις καὶ ἡ αἰσχύνη· παρὰ τὸ ἴσχω ἴσχος καὶ μετὰ τοῦ στερητικοῦ α αἶσχος, τὸ πάνυ ἴσχον τοὺς λαμβάνοντας αὐτό); Epimerismi homerici oridne alphabetico traditi, alpha 25 (τὸ δὲ αἶσχος γίνεται ἐκ τοῦ ἔχω καὶ πλεονασμῷ τοῦ σ ἴσχω καὶ μετὰ τοῦ στερητικοῦ α ἀΐσχω καὶ αἶσχος, ὃ οὐκ ἄν τις βούλοιτο ἔχειν); ibid. 53 (ἐκ τοῦ αἶσχος, ὅπερ ἐκ τοῦ ἴσχω ἴσχος ὄνομα καὶ μετὰ τοῦ στερητικοῦ α ἀΐσχος καὶ ἐν συναιρέσει αἶσχος, ὃ οὐκ ἄν τις βούλοιτο ἔχειν); Etym. Gudianum, alpha p. 56 (idem); Etym. Gudianum Additamenta p. 57 (Αἶσχος· παρὰ τὸ α στερητικὸν καὶ τὸ ἴσχειν, ὃ σημαίνει τὸ παῦσαι καὶ κωλῦσαι, οἱονεὶ ὅπερ οὐκ ἔστι ῥαδίως ἴσχειν καὶ παύειν).
The Etym. Magnum and Etym. Symeonis give the same etymology but add an alternative explanation through the intensive alpha. Etym. Magnum, Kallierges p. 39 (Παρὰ τὸ ἴσχω ἴσχος· καὶ μετὰ τῆς α στερήσεως, ἄϊσχος· καὶ ἐν συναιρέσει, αἶσχος, ὃ οὐκ ἄν τις βούλοιτο ἔχειν. Ἢ τὸ πάνυ ἴσχον τοὺς λαμβάνοντας αὐτό "or that which keeps back strongly those who experience it"); Etym. Symeonis 1, p. 172 (idem); Ps.-Zonaras, Lexicon, alpha p. 72, has only the explanation through intensive alpha ( Αἰσχρός. παρὰ τὸ αἶσχος· τοῦτο παρὰ τοῦ ἴσχειν τοὺς λαμβάνοντας αὐτό).
The word is analyzed as a privative compound ἀ-ισχω, although in Homeric metrics it always scans with monosyllabic [ai] and never dissyllabic [aï]. This etymology does not imply any phonetic manipulation, and is semantically not too far-fetched. This etymology may be older than Apollonius, as it is implied by Plato's etymology for αἰσχρός (see αἰσχρός / ἀ + ἴσχειν + ῥόον). An alternative explanation understands the alpha as intensive, not privative (see Parallels). With the intensive alpha, the man who feels shame is the object of the verb (shame keeps s.o. back), whereas with the privative alpha man is the subject, and the object is what he rejects (s.o. does not want to keep s.th.). Greek scholars did not pay much attention to the syntactic structure of compounds, but were aware that a given compound could be analyzed in different ways, for instance have either an active meaning or a passive one.