English translation (word)
English translation (etymon)
ὁ Ἀσκαλωνίτης λέγει τὸ δῆμος τὸ ἐπὶ τοῦ πλήθους παρὰ τὸ δέμας γεγενῆσθαι οἱονεὶ σῶμά τι τυγχάνον ἢ παρὰ τὸν δασμόν. δύναιτο δ’ ἄν τις καὶ ἄλλως ἐτυμολογεῖν, εἰ παρὰ τὸ δέω γένοιτο δέεμος καὶ ἐν συναλοιφῇ δῆμος, τὸ συνδεδεμένον πλῆθος. τὸ γὰρ ἐναντίον λύη ἀπὸ τῆς διαλύσεως
Ptolemaeus of Ascalon says that dēmos meaning "people" comes from demas "body", as though it were some kind of body, or from dasmos "division". But one could also think of a different etymology, if from deō "to bind" came *deemos and through contraction dēmos, the crowd which is linked together; since the opposite, luē, is from dialusis "separation"
The etymology, implying a contraction, relates δῆμος to δέω "to bind". The people is defined by the link uniting the individuals who are bound together. It is not an organic metaphor as the etymology deriving δῆμος from δέμας "body", but it so happens that δέω "to bind" is one of the proposed etymologies for δέμας "body" (q.v.), so that those two etymologies share the idea of a complex entity made out of elements bound together
Orion, Etymologicum, delta p. 50 (Δῆμος. ὁ συνδεδημένος ὄχλος. δέω δέσω δέμος καὶ δῆμος. τοιγαροῦν ἐπὶ τοῦ διεσκεδασμένου φησὶν, λῦτο δ’ ἀγών "dēmos is the crowd bound together, from deō, desō, demos and dēmos; and for sure, when it is dispersed, ‹Homer› says lūto d'agōn "the assembly was dissolved"."); Etym. Gudianum Additamenta, delta p. 353 (παρὰ τὸ δέω, τὸ δεσμῶ· τὸ συνδεδεμένον πλῆθος); Etym. Magnum, Kallierges p. 264 (παρὰ τὸ δέω, τὸ δεσμεύω. Δέω, δέμος καὶ δῆμος, ὁ συνδεδεμένος ὄχλος, ὡς μένω, μένις καὶ μῆνις); Etym. Symeonis, delta p. 179