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-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. Ray ================================== ================================== Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora. [William of Ockham]