ἀλέγω

Validation

Yes

Last modification

Sun, 08/01/2021 - 10:45

Word-form

ἀλέξω

Transliteration (Word)

alexō

English translation (word)

to ward off

Transliteration (Etymon)

alegō

English translation (etymon)

to care for

Author

Etym. Gudianum

Century

11 AD

Source

Idem

Ref.

Etym. Gudianum, epsilon, p. 494

Ed.

E.L. de Stefani, Etymologicum Gudianum, fasc. 1 & 2, Leipzig: Teubner, 1:1909; 2:1920

Quotation

Ἔπαλξις: […] ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀλεξῶ ῥήματος περισπωμένου· τοῦτο παρὰ τὸ ἀλέγω ἀλέξω, καὶ μετάγεται ὁ μέλλων εἰς ἐνεστῶτα μετὰ περισπωμένου τόνου καὶ γίνεται ἀλεξῶ

Translation (En)

Epalxis "defense": […] from alexô "I ward off", which is a verb with circumflex tone. The latter is from alegō "I care for", hence alexō, and the future tense is transposed into a present tense with a circumflex tone and becomes alexô

Comment

This etymology relies on the phonetic similarity between two verbs, and understands implicitly the derived form (ἀλέξω) as the consequence of the base form (ἀλέγω): one defends those for whom one cares. There is an interesting point here in grammatical theory, with the indication that the word is morphologically a future, and that this future came to be used as a present: the case of εἶμι, present used as a future in Attic, may have provided a model for this tense switch. This goes supposedly with a change of accent: a contract ἀλεξῶ would be of the Doric type (the form is not contract in Attic).

Parallels

Etym. Magnum, Kallierges, p. 59 (Μεθόδιος. Παρὰ τὸ ἀλέγω ἀλέξω· καὶ μετάγεται ὁ μέλλων εἰς ἐνεστῶτα); Etym. Gudianum Additamenta, alpha, p. 84 (ἐκ τοῦ ἀλέγω, τὸ βοηθῶ· ἀλεξήσω ὁ μέλλων); Eustathius, Comm. Od. 2, 186 (ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀλεξῶ ῥήματος περισπωμένου· τοῦτο παρὰ τὸ ἀλέγω, ἀλέξω, καὶ μετάγεται ὁ μέλλων εἰς ἐνεστῶτα μετὰ περισπωμένου τόνου καὶ γίνεται ἀλεξῶ); Lexicon αἱμωδεῖν, epsilon 27 (idem).

Modern etymology

Ἀλέξω is cognate with ἀλκή, ἀλκί "strength", and is an old derivative of the PIE root *h2elk-, matching Vedic rákṣati "he protects" (Beekes, EDG)

Persistence in Modern Greek

The verb is lost in Modern Greek. However, there are still compounds with αλεξι- such as αλεξικέραυνο, αλεξίσφαιρο, αλεξίπτωτο, most of which are calques (Triandafyllidis, Dict. of MG).

Entry By

Le Feuvre