-o-poulos (was: WHATL calendar for next year (2013))
|From:||R A Brown <ray@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, December 17, 2008, 14:49|
Philip Newton wrote:
> On Tue, Dec 16, 2008 at 16:39, caeruleancentaur
> <caeruleancentaur@...> wrote:
>> Apropos of patronymics, a friend asked me the etymology of the Greek
>> suffix -opoulos on names. I assumed it was a patronymic suffix. Does
>> anyone know better?
> That's my understanding, too. So e.g. Papadopoulos = son of the priest
> (papas, papad- + -opoulos); kotopoulo = "chick; chicken (as meat to
> eat)" < kota "hen" + -opoulo (neuter form of -opoulos).
Yep - the suffix is, of course, -poulos, the preceding -o- being the
connective -o- which from ancient times normally appears between two
elements in a compound. Or rather, the first part of Papadopoulos is
Papado- - what Josephos Peannou called the "compositional base."
The use of the suffix -poulos appears to be of Peloponnesian origin and
was a diminutive ending. It came to be used to denote 'son of', 'young of.'
But the ultimate origin is from colloquial Latin _pullus_ which was
originally a noun denoting the young of a animal and, in particular,
'foal' and 'chick.' But even in the Classical language we find it
applied to persons as a term of endearment 'darling, chick, duck, dove',
(US) 'baby' etc. It easy to see how a colloquial term of endearment,
presumable heard among soldiers and merchants, came to get itself
attached to nouns as a diminutive suffix.
Frustra fit per plura quod potest
fieri per pauciora.
[William of Ockham]