A new look at the Greek desiderative

In: Indo-European Linguistics
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  • 1 Universität zu Köln, Institut für Linguistik
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This paper argues that the Greek desiderative formation in -σειε/ο- may be explained as continuing a form in *-s-eu̯-i̯e/o-, derived from the weak stem in *-eu̯- of u-stem adjectives built to non-reduplicated s-presents/desideratives of the type Ved. d(h)akṣu- ‘burning’ which is marginally preserved in Mycenaean e-wi-su° and probably Alphabetic Greek φαῦλος and αἴσυλα.


This paper argues that the Greek desiderative formation in -σειε/ο- may be explained as continuing a form in *-s-eu̯-i̯e/o-, derived from the weak stem in *-eu̯- of u-stem adjectives built to non-reduplicated s-presents/desideratives of the type Ved. d(h)akṣu- ‘burning’ which is marginally preserved in Mycenaean e-wi-su° and probably Alphabetic Greek φαῦλος and αἴσυλα.

1 Desideratives in -σειε/ο-

1.1 Attestations

Ancient Greek has a present stem formation in -σειε/ο- with “desiderative” meaning, i.e. expressing the intention of the subject to bring about a state of affairs. The first and only instance in Homer is the participle ὀψείοντες ‘wishing to see’ in Il. 14.37:

τώ ῥ’ οἵ γ’ὀψείοντες ἀϋτῆς καὶ πολέμοιο / ἔγχει ἐρειδόμενοι κίον ἀθρόοι

The kings therefore were faring all in one body, leaning each on his spear, to look upon the war and the combat.

In Classical Greek both participles and indicative forms are attested, e.g. E. Med. 93 δρασείουσαν, S. Ph. 1245 δρασείεις, also an imperfect in Sophron (5th c. BC, Sicily) frg. 81.1 [Kaibel] ἐγὼν δέ τυ καὶ πάλαι ὤψεον ‘I wanted/have been wanting to see for long’.1 In postclassical times the formation seems to have lost its productivity: later authors restrict the use of -σειε/ο-forms to the participle and largely to the same lexemes or semantic fields attested in classical times, as may be seen from the following table.2



‘get rid of’


Thuc. 1.95.7, 3.84.1 ἀπαλλαξείοντες, 8.89.2 ἀπαλλαξείειν

Aristides 284.10 [Jebb] ἀπαλλαξείων, Procopius Historia arcana 4.40.4, Theodoretus 326.5 ἀπαλλαξείοντα, Macarius Macres Orationes 2.9.9 ἀπαλλαξείοντας etc.

‘step, go’


Thuc. 8.56.3 ξυμβασείοντα (codd.) ξυμβησείοντα (Pierson)

Dio Cassius 40.32.2 διαβησείων, Luc. Charon 9.7 ἐλασείοντι ‘wishing to campaign against’, Agath. 111.26 πελασείοντες (τῇ πολιορκίᾳ)

‘laugh’, ‘cry’

γελάω, κλαίω

Pl. Phd. 64b1 γελασείοντα

Euseb. PE 2.3.18 γελασείουσιν etc., antonym κλαυσείοντες ‘wishing to cry’ in Synesius de regno 14.28

‘give’, ‘buy’ δίδωμι, ἀγοράζω, ὠνέω

Thuc. 4.28.2 παραδωσείοντα

Procopius de bellis 7.34.21 ἀποδωσείοντες,

schol. Ar. Ran. 1068 ἀγορασείων ‘wishing to buy’, Dio Cassius 47.14 ὠνησείοντα ‘id.’


δράω, ἐργάζω

S. Aj. 326 δρασείων, Aj. 585, Ph. 1245 δρασείεις, E. Med. 93 δρασείουσαν, Ph. 1208 δρασείετον, Ar. V. 168 δρασείει, Pax 62 δρασείεις, S. Tr. 1232 ἐργασείων, Ph. 1001 ἐργασείεις

Pachym. 63.19, 568.6 [Failler/Laurent] δρασειόντων

‘shit’, ‘eat’

χέζω, βιβρώσκω

Ar. Eq. 998, Nub. 295 χεσείω, Eq. 888 χεσείῃ

Call. Aetia frg. 24.17 [Pfeiffer] βρωσείοντες ‘wishing to eat’

‘battle’, ‘be a tyrant’

πολεμέω, τυραννέω

Thuc. 1.33.4 πολεμησείοντας

πολεμησειοντ- App. 3×, D.C. 2×, Theodoretus 1×, Syrianus 1×, Agath. 1×, Procop. 4× etc.

τυραννησειε/ο- Sol. ap. D.L.1.65 -οντα, Philostr. VA 5.33 -οντι, 8.7 -οντας

‘listen, hear’


S. frg. 991 [Radt] ἀκουσείων

Georgius Pachymeres (13th/14th c.) Συγγρ. 25.7 τοῖς ἀκουσείουσι

It seems likely that this restriction is an Atticist phenomenon, as later authors imitated only those morphological forms (i.e. participles) and only those lexemes or semantically related verbs (as near-synonyms, antonyms etc.) that were attested in their canonized predecessors with some frequency. This does not preclude that a later author might have become creative and used a form not known from earlier literature—unless, of course, this impression is due to our limited data3—, but the overall correspondence between classical and postclassical usage may be interpreted as showing that the desiderative had ceased to be productive by the 3rd c. BC and was perpetuated only as a literary marker in the forms known from the classical authors.4

1.2 Earlier explanations

1.2.1 Wackernagel

The origin of the Greek desiderative formation in -σειε/ο- has remained unclear, despite various attempts at a derivation. Wackernagel (1887) bases his reconstruction on the fact that the desiderative, as seen in 1.1, frequently occurs as a participle. The unexpected genitive objects ἀϋτῆς καὶ πολέμοιο in the single desiderative attested in Homer, ὀψείοντες ‘wishing to see’, might neatly be explained if, as Wackernagel proposes, there was an original syntagm *ὄψει ἰόντες ‘going to the sight’ with a dative of ὄψις triggering an adnominal genitive. Several problems are connected with this hypothesis, however: a) as already pointed out by Ehrlich (1912: 97), there is no evidence for a syntagm *ὄψει εἶμι anywhere else, hence it is assumed ad hoc. b) the desiderative is not restricted to the participle in Classical Greek and its later perseveration in participles only is likely to be an effect of literary language use. Hence, there is no compelling reason to base an etymological explanation on the participle.5 c) While a genitive object is indeed rare with verbs of seeing,6 the desiderative meaning of ὀψείοντες may be responsible for the genitive, marking partial or non-affectedness of the object as in the case of ὀρέγομαι ‘stretch towards, reach out, take hold’ with accusative of body-part vs. genitive of person and other verbs meaning ‘aim at, try to reach’ such as ἐπιμαίομαι ‘strive after’, ἵεμαι ‘desire’, ἔλδομαι ‘desire’, ἔραμαι ‘love, desire’, ἐπείγω ‘press for, be eager’ etc., as pointed out by Chantraine (2013: 71 = 1953: 50 f.),7 who lists ὀψείοντες among these forms.

1.2.2 Ehrlich, Schwyzer et al.

The weaknesses of Wackernagel’s explanation have led to other proposals that have not met with universal approval either:8

a) Ehrlich (1912: 97) compares Ved. iṣ ‘search’, Av. aēšma- ‘wrath’, Gk. οἶμα ‘rush’ and explains the first element as going back to abstract nouns in -τι-, i.e. ὀψείοντ- < *ὀπτι̯- + -ειοντ- from *-εισοντ-, i.e. something like ‘rushing to the sight of’. The connection with iṣ is difficult on formal grounds, since the PIE root was probably *h2ei̯s- (LIV2 260, cf. Arm. ayc‘ ‘visit, inspection’) and one would expect Gk. *-αισοντ-. Gk. οἶμα and Av. aēšma- probably belong to PIE *h1ei̯sh2- ‘invigorate, urge’9 (> Gk. *-εισαντ/οντ-) or a root *h3ei̯s- (> Gk. *-oισoντ-).10 As in the case of Wackernagel’s explanation, there is no further evidence in Greek for such a grammaticalization of periphrastic constructions.

b) Schwyzer (1939: 789) takes -σείω to be an “expressive” form *-sei̯i̯ō of *-sei̯ō, which in turn he interprets as an enlargement of the *-se/o-future. Probably the future in *-si̯e/o- (Skt. -sya-, Lith. 1sg -siu) is an enlargement of the simple *-s-future parallel to its simple thematic variant *-se/o-,11 whereas a form *-sei̯e/o- seems to be unparalleled. Another problem with this explanation is the gratuitous assumption of gemination.

c) Frequently, researchers try to connect the desiderative with both the future in -σε/ο- and the “Doric” future in -σεε/ο-:12 according to Lindeman (1965), the Greek desiderative and the “Doric” future continue a formation in *-si̯e/o- comparable with the Vedic future forms in -sya- and the Lith. 1sg fut. of the type busiù ‘I will be’. For Lindeman, Greek inherited desideratives going back to *-si̯e/o- and to *-h1si̯e/o- after resonants beside futures in *-se/o- of the type λείψω. The variants *-si̯e/o- and (*h1si̯e/o- >) *-esi̯e/o- were contaminated to *-sesi̯e/o- > *-sei̯i̯e/o-, which yielded both the desiderative -σειε/ο- and the “Doric” future -σέω by simplification of the geminate as in Hom. τελείω, τελέω, Att. τελῶ, from τέλος.13 The arbitrary hypothesis of a contamination of two formations assumed ad hoc to be continued in Greek makes this explanation rather unlikely. This is also true of Hollifield (1981), who assumes -σειε/ο- to stem from *-se- + *-si̯e/o-. A similar explanation has recently been proposed by Willi (2017: 458 fn. 106), who also takes the Greek desideratives to go back to forms in *-si̯e/o-: after obstruent-final roots, desideratives in *-si̯e/o- would have become indistinguishable from futures in *-se/o-, e.g. *dei̯ḱ-si̯e/o- > *δειξε/ο- like *dei̯ḱ-se/o- > δειξε/ο-, which led to a remarking by analogy to roots with final resonant, e.g. *men-esi̯e/o- > *μενειε/ο- → δειξειε/ο-. The Greek data are not favourable for this approach, as the only possible instance of a desiderative of a root ending in a resonant is Homeric κειε/ο- ‘wish to lie’ (16×), which, whatever its origin, does not lend itself as a model for analogy as synchronically it consists of the root κει- and the ablauting thematic vowel.14

As pointed out by Wackernagel (1887: 144), an intermediate consonant /u̯/, /s/ or /i̯/ may have been lost in the desiderative in -σειε/ο-.15 The following discussion will try to show that this form continues a denominal verb formation with /u̯/.

2 -ειε/ο- < *-eu̯i̯e/o-?

The phonological possibility of a derivation from a hypothetical preform *-eu̯-i̯e/o- > -ειε/ο- is shown by parallel cases such as Att. καίω ‘burn’ from *kau̯i̯e/o-, aor. ἔκαυσα,16 and Elean, the Greek dialect famous for preserving the original alternation between presents in -είω beside aorists in -ευσ(α)- derived from nouns in -εύς,17 in forms such as λατρειόμενον, σταθμείοι, κατιαραίων, φυγαδείην, φυγαδείοι vs. aor. φυγαδεύαντι, and πολιτειομένοιρ. In the first case, the noun λατρεύς ‘servant’ is attested only from the 2nd c. onward (Lyc.), the only older form being λάτρις (Thgn. 302+). This shows the productivity of the formation in -είω : -ευσ(α)-, which has become independent of the existence of a corresponding noun in -εύς. Likewise, there is no *πολιτεύς from which to derive πολιτειομένοιρ, only πολίτης, and φυγάς, but no **φυγαδεύς, etc.

3 Nouns in -εύς18

Since the formal relation between nouns in -εύς and presents in -είω is well established, it is tempting to pursue the hypothesis that the desideratives in -σειε/ο- are denominals based on nouns in *-s-eus. As the following discussion will show, however, both the derivation of desideratives from nouns in -εύς and the assumption of a connection of the subgroup in -σεύς with a verbal stem are problematic. The latter type is already attested in Mycenaean, and in the first edition of Documents Ventris & Chadwick (1953: 94) interpreted it as based on the future stem, a view they changed in the second edition where they speak more cautiously of “verbal stems with a -s-suffix”:19

Myc. form



Alph.-Gk. correspondence


Ἀλεξεύς (Argos 303 BC)20

ἀλέξω ‘ward off’ (cf. Ved. rákṣati)



ἀέξω, αὐξάνω ‘grow’ (cf. Ved. ukṣant-)


Δεξεύς (Argos 4th/3rd c. BC)

δέξομαι ‘get’



– (ἐνεγκεῖν)21



χαριοῦμαι, χαρίξομαι, χαρίσομαι ‘grant’



ὀνήσω ‘profit, help’



πράξω ‘do’



ἄξω ‘lead’

As a further argument for this derivation, one could point out that both in Mycenaean and Alphabetic Greek nouns in -eus may be derived from verbal stems, although this is apparently much less often the case than the productive denominal pattern of the type χαλκός ‘copper’, χαλκεύς ‘smith’, χαλκεύω ‘forge’, cf. e.g. in Alphabetic Greek forms such as22

  • στιγεύς ‘tattooer’ (Hdt. 7.35) : στίζω ‘to tattoo’.23

  • πνῐγεύς ‘damper, extinguisher, cover of a stove’ (Ar. Nu. 96+) : πνῐγῆναι ‘to choke’.24

  • ψῠγεύς ‘cooler (for wine)’ (=ψυκτήρ, Alex. 64 [4th c. BC], Euphro 3 [3rd c. BC]) : ψῠγῆναι ‘to cool’.25

  • σκαλεύς ‘hoer’ (X. Oec. 17.12,15) : σκάλλω ‘to stir up, hoe’.26

  • πλῠνεύς ‘clothes-cleaner’ (=πλύντης, IG 2.1327, Poll.7.38) : πλύνω ‘to wash’.

  • ἀλειφεύς ‘anointer’ (imp., Priene) : ἀλείφω ‘to anoint’.

In Mycenaean a similar pattern is found in27

  • pe-re-ke-u /plekeus/ ‘weaver’ : πλέκω ‘to weave’.

  • pe-ke-u /pekeus/ : πέκω ‘to comb’ or /sperkheus/ : σπέρχομαι ‘to strive’.

  • pe-qe-u /pekweus/ ‘cook, chef’ : πέττω/πέσσω ‘to cook’.28

  • e-pe-ke-u /Epeigeus/ ‘one who urges on, impels’ : ἐπείγω ‘to urge on, impel’, Alph.-Gk. Ἐπειγεύς.29

By analogy one might assume that if deverbal nouns in -eu- are possible, built either to aorist stems (as in πνιγεύς) or to present stems (as in πλυνεύς), nouns in -s-eu- might go back to sigmatic aorist stems or desiderative/future stems in -s-, which served as the basis for denominal verbs:

aorist/future/desiderative -s- → noun in -s-eu- → denominal present in -s-eu̯-i̯e/o- > -σειε/ο-30

In contrast to the denominal presents based on nouns in -eu-, the type in -s-eu- does not seem to have been productive in post-Mycenaean times. This might account for the fact that there was no analogical restitution of -eu- in the forms in -σειε/ο-, because the corresponding nouns in -σευ- no longer existed (or never had), whereas in the case of the presents in *-eu̯-i̯e/o- the nouns in -ευ- are usually present (with the exceptions noted above), e.g. βασιλεύς / *βασιλείω → βασιλεύω. Further analogical pressure was exerted by the other tense/aspect forms aor. βασιλευσ(α)- and fut. βασιλευσε/ο-, while there is no evidence for secondary sigmatic forms built to *-s-eu̯-nouns.

But even if we assume that some of the names in -s-eus are based on sigmatic verbal stems and that it was possible to derive appellatives in -eus from verbal stems in general (such as πνιγεύς), the lack of unambiguous appellatives in -s-eus makes a direct derivation of these simplicia unlikely, i.e. there is no evidence for a nomen agentis of the type *ὀψεύς ‘one who wants to see’ derived from the stem of ὄψομαι. The exception is personal names in -s-eus, and these are likely to be the result of a shortening of corresponding longer forms, mostly compounds, even though such compounds may not be attested in early times for all such personal names, cf.31

  • a-re-ke-se-u : Ἀλεξίκακος (Athens, 188/7 AD), Ἀλεξίμβροτος (3×)32

  • a-we-ke-se-u : Αὐξίβιος (Delos, 218 BC), frequent Αὐξησίβιος, Αὐξιτύχη (3rd c. AD), cf. also adj. ἀεξίγυιος ‘strengthening the limbs’ (Pi. N. 4.73), ἀεξίφυλλος ‘nourishing leaves’ (A. Ag. 697)

  • de-ke-se-u : Δεξίμαχος (10×), Δεξίχαρις (2×), δεξίμηλος ‘receiving sheep, rich in sacrifices’ (E. Andr. 129 [lyr.], 1138, Ph. 632)

  • ka-ri-se-u : Χαρίσανδρος (34×)

  • o-na-se-u : Ὀνασίτιμος (6×), overall names with Ὀνασι° 380×

  • pa-ra-ke-se-u : Πραξίδαμος (14×)33

4 Comparative data

4.1 Vedic

If an inner-Greek explanation of the desiderative in -σειε/ο- is not forthcoming, a comparative perspective may be helpful. In Vedic, the productive desiderative is a reduplicated form with a suffix -s-a-,34 e.g. cit ‘realize, note’ : ci-kit-sati ‘tries to see’, ‘drink’ : --sati/pi--ṣati ‘is thirsty, wishes to drink’ and dabh- ‘damage’ : di-p-sati ‘wishes to damage’ < *di-dbh-sa-, cf. OAv. inf. diβžaidiiāi [Y. 45.4] ‘deceive’.35 In the latter case, the proto-form *di-dbh-se/o- underwent loss of the intermediate /d/ followed by assimilation of *b(h)s to Ved. -ps- and Av. -βž- respectively. The desiderative stem serves as a basis for u-stem adjectives, i.e. dabh- : dipsú- ‘wishing to damage’, cit : cikitsú- ‘cautious, wise’ (AV), yaj- ‘sacrifice’ : īyakṣú-, ji ‘win, conquer’ : jigīṣú- etc.36

Beside this, an unreduplicated desiderative may be supposed to have existed in an early layer of Indo-Iranian, of which only a few remnants seem to be attested in Vedic such as RV 1.100.8 apsanta ‘they try/want to reach’, which may be an independent -sa-subjunctive built to the root ap ‘reach’ or a desiderative without reduplication,37 and the presents nákṣa- from PIE *h2neḱ- ‘reach’, which may continue *h2neḱ-s(e/o)-;38 ukṣáti ‘to sprinkle’, from PIE *u̯eg- ‘make wet’;39 and caṣṭe ‘sees’, to which corresponds YAv. cašte ‘teaches’ (PIE *keḱ-s-).40 Other membra disiecta of this formation may be Hittite kweršun ‘I cut’ (KBo 10.2 ii 48 [OH/NS]) beside the reduplicated form kuguršant- ‘mutilated’41 and a set of roots ending in /s/ that seem to have been lexicalized already in the protolanguage, losing the putative desiderative meaning, such as Gk. ἀέξω and ἀλέξω (v. supra), which are simple presents meaning ‘grow’ and ‘defend’ respectively. Instances of this type may be PIE *bhleh1(s)- ‘blow’ (Goth. blesan, OHG blâsan [v. infra on Gk. φαῦλος] beside OHG blāen ‘id.’, Lat. flēre, fleō ‘to cry’, Latv. blêju, blêt ‘to bleat’),42 *ḱleu̯(s)- ‘hear’ (Ved. śroṣan ‘they obey’, OCS slyšati, slyšǫ, OHG [h]losēn), *h2eu̯g- ‘grow’ : *h2u̯eks- (Lat. augēre, Goth. aukan; Gk. ἀέξω, αὐξάνω, Ved. úkṣant-), *h2elk- ‘defend, ward off’ : *h2leks- (Gk. ἀλαλκεῖν, Lat. ulciscor; Gk. ἀλέξω, Ved. rákṣati), *kei̯(s)- ‘realize, notice’ (Ved. cā́yati, Gk. τίω ‘honour’; OAv. cōišt [aor.], cinasti ‘assign’),43 and *ten(s)- ‘stretch’ (Gk. τείνω; Goth. °þinsan ‘draw’, Lith. tęsiù, tę̃sti ‘stretch’, Ved. taṁsaya- ‘pull’). Beside such lexicalized forms, the Baltic and Italic s-futures (Lith. 3sg duõs ‘will give’, Osc. 3sg fust ‘will be’) may speak in favour of the assumption of an original athematic s-present, probably with desiderative meaning, from which the thematic futures in *-se/o- and *-si̯e/o- and the reduplicated Indo-Iranian desiderative and Old Irish future (3sg gigis, ·gig ‘will pray’) are derived.44

As discussed by Nussbaum (2014: 222 f.), u-stem adjectives based on unreduplicated desideratives may be dah ‘burn’ → d(h)ákṣu- ‘eager to burn [Jamison/Brereton]; brennlustig [Geldner]’ (RV 10.115.4)45 and cákṣuṣ- ‘eye’, if this is derived from a desiderative adjective *cakṣu- *‘wishing to see’. Cf. similar -s-derivatives based on u-stem adjectives such as tápuṣ- ‘heat’ from tápu- ‘hot’ and ā́yuṣ- ‘life, vitality’ from āyú- ‘lively’, and from the -su-adjective d(h)ákṣu- the s-stem d(h)akṣuṣ- in RV 1.141.7 dakṣúṣaḥ ‘burning [gen. sg.]’.46

4.2 Myc. e-wi-su

This unreduplicated formation in -su- has been suspected in Greek as well in the Myc. form e-wi-su-zo-ko, read as /ewisu-°/ since the first edition of Documents in Mycenaean Greek in 1956:47

  • e-wi-su-zo-ko (KN Se 965, 1007) (epithet of a chariot)

  • e-wi-su-*79-ko (PY Va 404, 482) (related to pieces of ivory)

Since intervocalic /s/ may denote a geminate /ss/ going back to a consonant cluster, one possible interpretation is /ewi(s)su-/ from */ewidsu-/, a form which would be the predecessor of thematized Alph.-Gk. *ἐϝισϝᾱ in Homer, e.g. Il. 1.468 δαιτὸς ἐΐσης, Il. 13.405 ἀσπίδι πάντοσ’ ἐΐσῃ, beside the form without initial ἐ- found in Att. ἴσος ‘same, identical’ < *ϝισϝος (Arc. Cret. Boeot. ϝισϝός, Hesych. γισγόν· ἴσον)48 and probably attested in Myc. wi-so-ẉọ-pa-ṇạ /wiswo-°/ (PY Sh 740), an epithet of armour. The parallel presence and absence of initial /e-/ in Mycenaean /ewisu-/ and /wiswo-/ on the one hand and Alphabetic Greek *ἐϝισϝo- and *ϝισϝο- on the other makes a connection of these forms likely, whatever the origin of /e-/.49 Myc. /(e)wisu-/ and its putative continuants in Alphabetic Greek may derive from an adjective *u̯id-s-u- built to PIE *u̯ei̯d- ‘look, see’, cf. the -s-form from the same root in Lat. vīsere ‘go to see, look closely’. The process of thematization can be compared with that found in στενός ‘narrow’ < *stenu̯o- for earlier *stenu-, cf. the name of a plane in Messenia Στενύκληρος (Hdt. 9.64).50 As argued by Ruijgh (1987: 536 f.), the thematic forms may be backformed from the neuter plural as in δάκρυ : δάκρυα → δάκρυον ‘tear’, i.e. *στενϝά (like *δόρϝα after the oblique cases *δορϝός etc.) → *στενϝός.51 Alternatively, one may consider a derivation with “possessive” *-ó- of the type βιός ‘bow’ < *‘having a bowstring’ (Ved. jyā́), which would, however, require the additional assumption of a substantivized adjective as intermediary, i.e. *stenú- ‘narrow’ → *sténu- ‘something narrow, strait; narrowness’ → *stenu̯-ó- ‘having narrowness = narrow’. The adjective *u̯idsu- was probably polysemous, meaning ‘wishing/trying to see’ and ‘wishing/trying to look like x’, which corresponds to the activity and phenomenon readings in Viberg’s classification of the semantics of verbs of perception.52 As in NE look, these meanings may be colexified, cf. (activity) Look at that! beside (phenomenon) He looks sad., Gk. Att. ἰδέ/Hom. ἴδε (Il. 17.179) ‘Look!’ and εἰδόμενος ‘looking like x’ (Il. 5.462 εἰδόμενος Ἀκάμαντι ‘looking like Akamas’). A neuter plural *u̯idsu̯a referring to non-agents would probably have meant ‘things looking like x’, or, if one follows the possessive derivation, the adjective *u̯idsu̯ó- may have come to mean ‘having the look of x’ from *u̯ídsu- ‘wishing/attempting to look like x’.

4.3 Gk. φαῦλος

Another instance of a -su-adjective could be Gk. φαῦλος ‘slight, mean, bad’, which may have been dissimilated from *φλαῦλος; cf. the parallel adjective φλαῦρος (Pi. P. 1.87) which may either show a different dissimilation or contain the suffix -ro-.53 Gk. φαῦλος may be connected with the root PIE *bhleh1- ‘to blow, howl’ (Lat. flēre, fleō ‘to cry’, OHG blāen ‘to blow’, etc., v. supra), which may be analyzed as a stative present in *-eh1- built to a root *bhel-54 whose anteconsonantal zero-grade form *bh- would be reflected in Greek as *φλα-. A possible context for *bhl̥C- could be a formation in /s/ parallel to that found in *bhleh1-s- (Goth. blēsan, OHG blâsan etc.), i.e. *bhel-s-, to which an adjective *bhl̥-s-ú- was built that resulted in Greek *φλαhύ- > *φλαΰς → φ(λ)αυ-λο- / φλαυ-ρο-. The semantic development would have been from ‘blowing; like a breath, hint’ to ‘windy, mean, worthless, bad’, cf. ἀνεμώλιος ‘windy, vain, powerless’ from ἄνεμος ‘wind’. The same complex suffix -υλο- is found in other adjectives with a pejorative meaning, cf. στωμύλος ‘talkative’ (Ar. Ach. 429, Pl. Erx. 397d, Theoc. 5.79)55 and αἱμύλος (Hes.+), αἱμύλιος (H.) ‘flattering’.56

4.4 Gk. αἴσυλος

Finally, the adjective αἴσυλος* may belong to this small group as well. It means roughly ‘unseemly, evil’ (LSJ), ‘verderblich, frevelhaft, ungebührlich, schlecht’ (LfgrE), cf. in Hesychius αἴσυλα ῥέζεις· ἀπρεπῆ πράττεις (Φ 214) and αἴσυλα· κακά, ἄδικα, ἁμαρτήματα (E 403). The only attested form—apart from grammarians using the quotation form nom. sg. αἴσυλος/-ον—is the ntr. pl. αἴσυλα as a substantive ‘evil things’ used as the object of a verb meaning ‘say’ or ‘do’ (H. 6×),57 cf. Il. 5.403 αἴσυλα ῥέζων, 20.202, 20.433 αἴσυλα μυθήσασθαι, 21.214 αἴσυλα ῥέζεις, Od. 2.232, 5.10 αἴσυλα ῥέζοι (in Od. 2.231 f. opposed to αἴσιμα εἰδώς ‘(not) heeding righteousness’). It may go back to a form *ai̯d-su- > *αἰσύ- (+-λο-) built to αἴδομαι ‘be ashamed, feel awe’ (cf. αἰδώς, αἰδέομαι), meaning ‘wishing/trying to put someone to shame’ (Germ. beschämen). The neuter plural form expressing words and deeds that ‘put someone to shame’ may have applied both to the speaker feeling shame for someone else’s immoral behaviour and to the addressee who ought to be ashamed. From this use, the more general meaning ‘causing the feeling of shame, shameful, to be reproached, evil’ may have developed (cf. Germ. beschämende Worte/Taten).58 In Il. 20.201 f. ἐπεὶ σάφα οἶδα καὶ αὐτὸς / ἠμὲν κερτομίας ἠδ’ αἴσυλα μυθήσασθαι “I know well myself how to utter both taunts and αἴσυλα”, Düntzer has conjectured αἴσιμα ‘proper words’ against all mss., as ἠμὲν … ἠδέ may imply a contrast, but, as Edwards (1991: 315) points out, “there may be contrast enough between a mocking taunt […] and a malicious false statement”. Furthermore, the parallel in l. 246 ἔστι γὰρ ἀμφοτέροισιν ὀνείδεα μυθήσασθαι “Revilings are there for both of us to utter”, including the rebuked comparison with children’s talk in l. 200 νηπύτιον ὣς and l. 244 νηπύτιοι ὥς, can be taken to summarize both κερτομίας and αἴσυλα, the more so, if, as proposed here, αἴσυλα is related to αἴδομαι and hence close in meaning to ὄνειδος. A moral overtone is also noticeable in Il. 5.403 (describing Heracles) in the combination with οὐκ ὄθομαι ‘care not, have no scruples’, σχέτλιος ὀβριμοεργὸς (v.l. Ar. αἰσυλοεργὸς) ὃς οὐκ ὄθετ’ αἴσυλα ῥέζων “Harsh man, worker of violence, who did not hesitate (‘who had no scruples’) to do evil deeds.”59

It is unclear whether the hapax legomenon ἀήσυλα in Il. 5.87660 belongs to αἴσυλος. It has been supposed to be an itacistic spelling of *ἀΐσυλα, e.g., by Fraenkel (1955: 308), who connects both forms as *ἀϝίσυλα with *ϝίσϝος (ἴσος),61 but in this case a number of ad hoc changes have to be made to the relevant verses (as discussed by Fraenkel) for which there is no independent evidence. Therefore it seems best to separate the two forms and accept that ἀήσυλα remains unexplained for the time being.62

To sum up: the combined data of Greek and Vedic -su-adjectives and remnants of unreduplicated desiderative stems in various languages may allow the assumption that both Indo-Iranian and Greek inherited an unreduplicated desiderative in -s- to which adjectives in -u- could be built:63


Desiderative stem


Skt. dah





*cakṣu-, cakṣuṣ- ‘eye’

Gk. ϝιδ-

*ϝιδσ- (lat. vīsō)

Myc. e-wi-su- /e-wis(s)u-/



*φλα(h)υ- → φ(λ)αῦλος



*αἰδσυ- → αἴσυλος

5 Greek derivation

If this type of *-su- adjective existed in Greek, the question arises what a denominal verb stem derived from a u-stem adjective should look like. In the case of ablauting stems, denominal verbs usually take the weak stem as their basis, cf. βλίττω ‘cut out the comb of bees, take honey’ from μέλιτ- ‘honey’, i.e. *mlit-i̯e/o-, and n-stems like

Strong stem

Weak stem

Denominal verb

φρήν ‘midriff, mind’, φρέν(-ες)

dat. pl. φρασί (Pi.) < *--si

εὐφραίνω ‘to gladden’ < *--i̯e/o-

ποιμήν ‘shepherd’, ποιμέν-(ες)

dat. pl. *-ασι

ποιμαίνω ‘to herd’

In originally proterokinetic u-stem adjectives, the weak stem had the full grade of the suffix, i.e. *-eu̯-, cf. Gk. nom. sg. m. ἡδύς, gen. -έ(ϝ)ος ‘sweet’. The same ablaut grade is found in the feminine: *ἡδέϝια > ἡδεῖα. In contrast to this, Indo-Iranian derives the feminine from the strong stem: m./n. svādú- : f. svādvī́ < *-u-ih2, OAv. vohu- ‘good’ : f. vaŋv. Greek seems to have innovated here, reinterpreting the feminine stem as derived from the weak stem of the m./n., whereas in the other languages it derives from the strong stem with -u-.64 This innovation is known from other stem classes as well, e.g. n-stems such as f. τέρεινα ‘soft, delicate’ after m. τέρην, τερεν-(ος) instead of *τέραινα < *--ih2. In adjectives in *-u̯ent-, the vowel has been transferred from the m./n. to the f., cf. χαρίεσσα ‘graceful, beautiful’ instead of *χαρίασσα < *-u̯n̥ti̯a (~ Ved. -vatī) after m./n. χαριεντ-.65 This seems to invite the conclusion that if a) the weak stem of the m./n. is the basis of denominal verbs and if b) this stem in the case of u-stems has a full grade (as in the f. forms), the expected derivation based on an adjective in *-s-u- is a present in *-s-eu̯-i̯e/o- > -σειε/ο-.

A counterargument would seem to be verbs in -ύω, but these are not based on u-adjectives, but on substantives in *-u- or *-u-h2 of the type Ved. tanū́ ‘body’ f., instr. tanúā < *-uh2(-), and neither of them shows ablaut of the suffix in Greek,66 e.g.

  • ἀρτύω ‘to arrange, prepare’ : Hesch. ἀρτύς· σύνταξις, Ved. r̥tú- m. ‘right time’

  • κορθύεται ‘to rise to a head, tower up’ (Il. 9.7) : κόρθυς f. ‘heap’

  • πληθύω ‘to be/become full’ : Ion. πληθύς f. ‘crowd, people’

  • ὀϊζύω ‘to lament’ : ὀϊζύς f. ‘lamentation’

The derivational chain for the desiderative in -σειε/ο- would then look like this:

  • PIE desiderative *-se/o- → adj. *-s-u- → denom. verb *-s-eu̯-i̯e/o- > -σειε/ο-.

The lack of comparable denominal verbs to simple u-stem adjectives such as *βαρύω ‘be heavy’ on the one hand, and the presumed productivity of denominals to desiderative u-stem adjectives on the other, may be due to their different semantics: while simple u-stem adjectives mostly describe “basic property concepts” and hence stative concepts such as ‘hot, cold, heavy, light’ that tend to be expressed nominally in Indo-European languages, e.g. βαρύ ἐστι ‘it is heavy’, not **βαρύει ‘it heavies’, desiderative adjectives in *-su- would more frequently than not describe an agent’s transient desire and effort to bring about a state of affairs relevant at the moment of speaking, e.g. ‘wanting/trying to see’, ‘wanting/trying to fight’ etc., which tends to be expressed verbally. The preponderance of participles in the -σειε/ο- formation may in turn be due to the semantic equivalence between the basic *-su-adjectives and the participles of the denominal verbs, both meaning ‘wanting/trying to x’, which may have triggered the replacement of the former by the latter, leaving only isolated remnants in the lexicon as discussed in section 4.67

Appendix: desideratives in Attic authors

Ar. Eq. 888. οὔκ, ἀλλ’ ὅπερ πίνων ἀνὴρ πέπονθ’ ὅταν χεσείῃ, / τοῖσιν τρόποις τοῖς σοῖσιν ὥσπερ βλαυτίοισι χρῶμαι. “No, it’s your own tricks that I am borrowing, just as a drunken guest, when he has to take a crap, seizes some other man’s shoes.”

Ar. Eq. 998 οἴμ’ ὡς χεσείω· κοὐχ ἅπαντας ἐκφέρω. “Ugh! The weight of them is squeezing the crap right out of me, and still I’m not bringing them all!”

Ar. Nu. 295 κεἰ θέμις ἐστίν, νυνί γ’ ἤδη, κεἰ μὴ θέμις ἐστί, χεσείω. “And right now, if it’s sanctioned, and even if it isn’t, I need to shit!”

Ar. V. 168. ἅνθρωπος οὗτος μέγα τι δρασείει κακόν. “The man’s set to commit some awful crime!”

Ar. Pax 62 ὦ Ζεῦ, τί δρασείεις ποθ’ ἡμῶν τὸν λεών; “Zeus! What on earth are you trying to do to our people?”

E. Med. 92 ἤδη γὰρ εἶδον ὄμμα νιν ταυρουμένην / τοῖσδ’, ὥς τι δρασείουσαν. “For I have seen her turn a savage glance at them, as if she meant to do something to them.”

E. HF 628 οὐ γὰρ πτερωτὸς οὐδὲ φευξείω φίλους “For I cannot fly away, nor have I any wish to flee from those I love.”

E. Ph. 1208 τί τἀπὶ τούτοις παῖδ’ ἐμὼ δρασείετον; “What are my two sons planning to do after this?”

Pl. Phd. 64a–b Καὶ ὁ Σιμμίας γελάσας, Νὴ τὸν Δία, ἔφη, ὦ Σώκρατες, (b) οὐ πάνυ γέ με νυνδὴ γελασείοντα ἐποίησας γελάσαι. “And Simmias laughed and said, ‘By Zeus, Socrates, I don’t feel much like laughing just now, but you made me laugh.’ ”

S. Aj. 326 καὶ δῆλός ἐστιν ὥς τι δρασείων κακόν. “And plainly he plans to do something terrible”

S. Aj. 585 ὦ δέσποτ’ Αἴας, τί ποτε δρασείεις φρενί; “Ajax, my lord, what can you have in mind?”

S. Tr. 1232 ὡς ἐργασείων οὐδὲν ὧν λέγω θροεῖς. “Your words show no willingness to do as I say.”

S. Ph. 1001. τί δ’ ἐργασείεις; “What do you plan to do?”

S. Ph. 1245 Σὺ δ’ οὔτε φωνεῖς οὔτε δρασείεις σοφά. “Neither your words nor your intentions are clever!”

S. fr. 991 Radt ἀκουσείων

Th. 1.33.3 οὐκ αἰσθάνεται τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίους φόβῳ τῷ ὑμετέρῳ πολεμησείοντας. “[He] fails to perceive that the Lacedaemonians, through fear of you, are eager for war.”

1.95.7 οἱ Λακεδαιμόνιοι […] ἀπαλλαξείοντες δὲ καὶ τοῦ Μηδικοῦ πολέμου “The Lacedaemonians […] wanted to be rid of the Persian war.”

3.84.1 Ἐν δ’ οὖν τῇ Κερκύρᾳ τὰ πολλὰ αὐτῶν προετολμήθη, καὶ ὁπόσ’ ἂν ὕβρει μὲν ἀρχόμενοι τὸ πλέον ἢ σωφροσύνῃ ὑπὸ τῶν τὴν τιμωρίαν παρασχόντων οἱ ἀνταμυνόμενοι δράσειαν, πενίας δὲ τῆς εἰωθυίας ἀπαλλαξείοντές τινες. “It was in Corcyra, then, that most of these atrocities were first committed—all the acts of retaliation which men who are governed with highhanded insolence rather than with moderation are likely to commit upon their rulers when these at last afford them opportunity for revenge; or such as men resolve upon contrary to justice when they seek release from their accustomed poverty.”

4.28.2 ὁ δὲ τὸ μὲν πρῶτον οἰόμενος αὐτὸν λόγῳ μόνον ἀφιέναι ἑτοῖμος ἦν, γνοὺς δὲ τῷ ὄντι παραδωσείοντα ἀνεχώρει καὶ οὐκ ἔφη αὐτὸς ἀλλ’ ἐκεῖνον στρατηγεῖν. “As for Cleon, he was at first ready to go, thinking it was only in pretence that Nicias offered to relinquish the command; but when he realized that Nicias really desired to yield the command to him, he tried to back out, saying that not he but Nicias was general.”

8.56.3 ὁ δὲ Ἀλκιβιάδης, ἐπειδὴ ἑώρα ἐκεῖνον καὶ ὣς οὐ ξυμβησείοντα, δοκεῖν τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις ἐβούλετο μὴ ἀδύνατος εἶναι πεῖσαι. “But Alcibiades, as soon as he saw that even on his own terms he did not want to reach an agreement, wished it to appear to the Athenians, not that he was unable to persuade him.”

8.89.2 ἀπαλλαξείειν conj. for ἀπαλλάξειν (Abresch) οὔτοι ἀπαλλαξείειν τοῦ ἄγαν ἐς ὀλίγους ἐλθεῖν “(They did not indeed openly profess that) they wanted to avoid reducing the government to an extreme oligarchy.”


I thank E. Hill (Cologne) and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful remarks. Unless stated otherwise, translations of Greek authors are taken from the Loeb series (Harvard University Press).


Cf. Hsch. ὤψεον· †ὤπτεισαν† εἶχον. ˹περιεβ˺λ̣έποντο, ἰδεῖν ἐβούλοντο. See the appendix for a list of forms.


Cf. Wackernagel (1887: 142 f.).


E.g. cases without a clear model in classical literature such as γαμησειε/ο- ‘wish to marry’ (Alciphron -ω, Vitae Aesopi [Ferrari] 30.12 -ουσα) and κατηγορησειε/ο- ‘wish to accuse’ (Agath. 4.2 -οντες), which may be due to chance in transmission.


Probably already in the 5th c. the derivational rule for this rare formation had became ambiguous as shown by πολεμησειε/ο- on the one hand and transmitted ξυμβασειε/ο- (beside the conjecture ξυμβησειε/ο-) on the other hand in Thucydides: the former is to be related to the stem of the future πολεμησε/ο-, while for the latter only a relation to the abstract noun (σύμ-)βασις seems viable as opposed to the future stem βησε/ο-. Euripidean φευξείω (HF 628 οὐ γὰρ πτερωτὸς οὐδὲ φευξείω φίλους) is ambiguous; note the fut. φεύξομαι (Hom.+) and the abstract φεύξις in S. (Ant. 362 [lyr.]) beside φύξις (Hom. only Il. 10[!].311, 447; Nic.). Beside παραδωσείοντα in Thucydides, Hesychius has δοσείειν· δοτικῶς ἔχειν with the root vowel of the noun δόσις (contrast the future δώσω). As in the case of ξυμβασειε/ο-, it may remain open whether one should correct παραδoσείοντα, as Wackernagel (1887: 143) proposes.


Cf. section 5 for a possible reason why participles are frequent in this formation.


LSJ quote X. Mem. 1.1.11 οὐδεὶς Σωκράτους οὐδὲν ἀσεβὲς … οὔτε πράττοντος εἶδεν οὔτε λέγοντος ἤκουσεν and remark “where the constr. is suggested by the use of ἤκουσεν” and Arat. 429 νότον δ’ ἐπὶ σήματι τούτῳ [430] δείδιθι μέχρι βορῆος ἀπαστράψαντος ἴδηαι “But at this sign fear the South Wind, until thou see’st the North Wind come with lightning.”, where μέχρι + gen. may have influenced the construction.


“Les verbes exprimant l’ idée de ‘viser à, chercher à atteindre’ sont proches de τυγχάνω et s’ associent volontiers au génitif.”


Cf. also Lindemann (1965: 48).


Cf. LIV2 234.


Cf. Beekes (2010: 1057).


Cf. e.g. Jasanoff (2003: 133).


For the Doric future, cf. recently Willi (2017: 441), who assumes that forms in -σε/ο- may have developed by extension of the μενέω-type to roots ending in consonants other than resonants: *CeRh1se/o- > *CeRehe/o- → *CeC-ehe/o-, Dor. δειξέω, Hom. ἐσσεῖται etc.


Cf. Lejeune (1987: 132 f.).


The form may go back to a regular future *ḱei̯-h1se/o- with the suffix *-h1se/o- in resonant-final roots (i.e. the type μένω, fut. μενέω > μενῶ), developing via *kei̯-ese/o- to *ke’ehe/o- > *kē(h)e/o-, spelt κει-ε/ο-.


“Es kann nach attischen lautgesetzen auf εϝι (βασίλειος), auf εϝj (βραδεῖα), εσι (τέλειος) und natürlich auch auf εjι zurückgeführt werden.”


Cf. Schwyzer (1939: 728).


Cf. Minon (2007: 396 f.). Another instance may be attested in Dodona (Dor., ca. 400 BC) μαστείε̄ι from μαστεύω ‘search’ (Ἐ͂ ἄλλαν μαστείε̄ι ‘Should he look for a different wife?’), cf. Lhôte (2006: no. 29).


For discussion of the origin of nouns in -eu-, which is not treated here, cf. recently Meissner (2017).


Ventris & Chadwick (1973: 100), cf. also Ventris & Chadwick (1956: 100), Kerschensteiner (1955: 69 with fn. 56): “offenbar von s-Futur/Aoriststämmen gebildet”.


CEG II 816, 9.


On the probably original meaning ‘receive’ preserved in the personal name, cf. García Ramón (2017), see fn. 33.


Cf. Perpillou (1973: 354).


Hdt. 7.35 ἤδη δὲ ἤκουσα ὡς καὶ στιγέας ἅμα τούτοισι ἀπέπεμψε στίξοντας τὸν Ἑλλήσποντον. “I have even heard that he sent branders with them to brand the Hellespont”; perhaps an ad hoc formation beside the verb στίζω.


This is the only form with ῐ, cf. against this πνῖγμα and πνῖγος, so probably it is derived from the aorist stem πνῐγῆναι.


Parallel to the case of πνῐγεύς, the short vowel (ῠ) is attested only in the aorist ψῠγῆναι (Ar. Nu. 151).


No other nominal forms are attested.


Leukart (1994: 246) takes all these forms to be personal names from terms for professionals (miller, weaver, etc.) and nicknames (Ἐπειγεύς).


Cf. Szemerényi (1957: 164).


In Homer a Myrmidon, son of Agacles, slain by Hector, Il. 16.571.


Similarly, Leukart (1994: 227 fn. 251) assumes that personal names with ἀλξ- as first member, such as A-ko-so-ta /Alksoitās/ ‘der das (schlimme) Geschick abwehrt’, A-ka-sa-no /alksānor/ ‘der die (feindlichen) Männer abwehrt’, continue the desiderative *alk-s-. Beside A-we-ke-se-u we find the simple verbal root in Au-ke-wa /Augew(w)ās/ (probably a short form of a compound such as */Augewastus/); note also [.]-ke-se-ra-wo (KN As 1516), behind which a name /Aukselāwos/ may hide. This type was later contaminated with τερψίμβροτος-type compounds, e.g. ἀλεξίκακος instead of expected *alekse-kako-. De-ke-se-u may similarly go back to the desiderative/future stem *deks- of δέκομαι or simply be an analogical formation following the model of *alekse- and *aukse-, where the desiderative/future stem is inherited (cf. Ved. rakṣati, ukṣant-). In both cases, it is likely to be a short form of a compound, e.g. [de]-ke-se-ra-wo /Dekselāwos/, cf. Δεξίλᾱος, if we read KN As 1516 this way.


An unshortened form is qo-wa-ke-se-u /Gwōwakseus/, probably an inversion of *aksi-gwou̯-, cf. the thematic form in -αξος such as Χάραξος (Mytilene, 7–6th c. BC), Εὔαξος (Megara, 242–238) and see García Ramón (2017: 60 f.). The same process may underlie agent nouns in -eus not based on verbal stems, such as ἁλιεύς ‘fisherman; sailor’ as a short form of compounds such as H. ἁλιαής, ἁλίπλοος, ἁλιστέφανος [h. Ap.], ἁλίτροχος [Ibyc.], or σπογγο-θήρας (m.) ‘diver for sponges’ (Plu.2.950b, 981e) → σπογγ-εύς (Arist.HA620b34, Pr.960b21.etc.), cf. Perpillou (1973: 245 ff.).


Numbers of attestations are taken from the LGPN website (


The dossier of names in -seus has increased since 1952, but the basic situation still holds, cf. the recent treatment of the data by García Ramón (2017): ka-e-se-u /Kahēseus/ (PY Qa 1299, MY Ge 605.4B), dat. ka-e-se-we (MY Ge 7024B) is most probably a short form of ka-e-sa-me-no (PY An 656.19, TH Ug 5), gen. -o-jo (Vn 1191.2) related to Lat. cēnsēre, - ‘to tax, assess’, Ved. śaṁs- ‘to praise’; for qe-te-se-u /Kwhtheiseus/ (KN As [1] 609.3) cf. H. φθεισήνωρ, φθισίμβροτος ‘making men perish’. E-ne-ke-se-u /Enekseus/ is likely to continue the presuppletive meaning of PIE *h1neḱ- ‘get, acquire’, cf. ἕνεκα < *h1neḱm̥ ‘for the acquisition of, in order to get’, Toch. B /enk-/ ‘take, seize’, cf. similar names like Κτήσαρχος, Κτησάρετος, etc. The aorist ἐνεγκεῖν, which continues *h1neḱ-, may have had causative meaning ‘make someone get/acquire something’; in suppletion with φέρω this meaning developed into ‘bring’, cf. Kölligan (2007: 336). E° may derive from *enekti- or (less likely) from a future stem *enek-s-, cf. ambiguous Ἀξι° (Ἄξανδρος, Ἀξίλεως, Ἀξίπολις etc.) beside fut. ἄξω. The process has remained productive in post-Mycenaean Greek, cf. Ἀκεσεύς (-ις, -ίας, -[ί]ων, Ἀκεσώ) beside Ἀκεσίδαμος, Ἀκεσίμβροτος, Ἀκεσίστρατος, Ἀκεσίλαος, or Μνασεύς (-ις, -έας, -[ί]ων, Μνασώ) beside Μνησίστρατος etc. (609 names with Μνησι° in LGPN).


Cf. also Heenen (2006).


Or rather ‘wish to deceive’, implying that, according to the Mazdaist triad of thought, word and deed, the faithful should not even think of deceiving the supreme being (cf. in the Roman Catholic Confiteor cogitatione, verbo et opere).


Cf. Wackernagel & Debrunner (1964: II.2.468 f.).


tám apsanta śávasa utsavéṣu / náro náram ávase táṃ dhánāya. Kümmel (2000: 123): “Ihn [Indra] wollen sie erreichen bei den Unternehmungen der Kraft, die Männer den Mann zur Hilfe, ihn für den Gewinn.” Differently, but with a question mark, Jamison/Brereton: “Him they inspired [?] in the upsurgings of his vast power—the men inspired [?] the man to help, inspired [?] him to the stakes.”, supposing that apsanta belongs to bhas ‘blow, inspire’ as in compounds with -psu- and Gk. ψυχή (cf. online commentary


E.g. RV 1.95.10 śukraír ūrmíbhir abhí nakṣati kṣā́m (Agni) “with blazing waves he reaches the ground” (Jamison/Brereton), “mit lichten Wogen sucht er die Erde auf” (Geldner) from *‘is eager to reach’.


Cf. LIV2 662.


Cf. LIV2 383–385. The loss of desiderative meaning is paralleled by the case of Ved. īkṣa- ‘see’ < ‘wish to see, imagine’ (PIE *h3i-h3k-se/o-), cf. also Heenen (2006: 56–57).


Cf. LIV2 391. Oettinger (2002: 119) assumes that kweršun continues a sigmatic aorist, but the continuation of both a root aorist (Hitt. kwerta) and a sigmatic aorist would be unusual. Puhvel (1984: IV[1997]: 217) takes it to be a “suffixed variant of the root kuer-”, but the function of the suffix remains open. Kloekhorst (2008: 487) assumes an ad hoc formation “without any historicity”, but it remains unclear what the model for such a formation would have been.


Cf. LIV2 87.


Cf. recently Weiss (2017), who reconstructs *keh1-i̯e/o- and *keh1ih1s-.


Cf. Jasanoff (2003: 133) for a discussion of possible further types.


The form is usually interpreted as based on an -s-aorist, but such a derivational pattern cannot be supported by further evidence.


Cf. Wackernagel & Debrunner (1964: I.126, III.291).


Cf. Ventris & Chadwick (1956: 394), Ventris & Chadwick (1973: 547) and especially Ruijgh (1987) and de Lamberterie (1990: II.945–949).


On the accent cf. Ruijgh (1987: 534): the barytone accent may be due to analogy with the pronominal adjectives τόσος, ὅσος, πόσος.


Ruijgh (1987: 538) proposes a root *h1u̯ei̯s- for *εϝισύ-, *ἐϝισϝό- beside *u̯ei̯d- in *ϝεισάμενος ‘having made oneself similar to x’. *ϝισϝό- then arose by the proportional analogy *ἐϝισϝό- : *εϝεισάμενος :: x : *ϝεισάμενος, x=*ϝισϝό-. There is no further evidence for such a root. Since one would expect *h1u̯isu- to be reflected as */ewihu-/ in Mycenaean, Ruijgh (1985: 542) assumes a root aorist 3sg. *éwisto as the basis for the analogical restitution of /s/.


Probably also in the adj. στενυ-γρός ‘narrow’ [Semon. 14 στενυγρῆι … ἐν ἀτραπῶι], although the second element is unexplained, cf. de Lamberterie (1990: I.261), García Ramón (2014: 28 fn. 61).


Cf. τὰ στενά ‘the narrows, straits’ (Hdt. 7.223 etc.), also in Hesychius τέμπη· τὰ σύνδε(ν)δρα χωρία. τινὲς δὲ τὰ στενὰ τῶν ὀρῶν, cf. García Ramón (2014).


Cf. Viberg (2001).


Cf. Chantraine (2009: 1140). The form φαῦρος attested in Hesychius (φαῦρος· κοῦφος) may show loss of /l/, if from *φλαῦρος, or of /r/, if from *φραῦρος by assimilation.


Possible parallel cases are discussed by Lipp (2009: 1.78 f.), among them *ḱel- ‘to be warm’ : Ved. śr̥tá- ‘cooked, ready’, Lith. šil̃tas, Welsh clyd ‘warm’ < *ḱl̥-tó- → *ḱl-eh1- / *ḱl̥-h1- ‘get warm’: Ved. śrā́yant- ‘get cooked, ready’, Lith. šìlti ‘become warm’, Lat. calēre, - < *ḱl̥h1-eh1-i̯e/o-, OHG lāo (NHG lau) ‘lukewarm’ < *ḱleh1u̯o-, Ved. śarád- ‘autumn’ < *ḱolh1-éd-.


Cf. Vine (2019).


In LIV2 74 Germanic and Baltic forms are taken as evidence for a different root *bhelH- ‘to drone, resound’ (“tönen, dröhnen”), cf. OE bellan ‘to shout’, OHG bellan ‘to bark’ etc., Lith. bìlti [-sta/býla, -o] ‘to (start to) speak’, cf. also the probably inner-Baltic formations bal̃sas ‘voice’, balsùs ‘loud’ (cf. ALEW 88, 113–115) and Ved. bhāṣā ‘speech’ which could either go back to *bholHseh2 or derive from *bheh2-s- ‘speak’ with secondary -- (cf. EWAia II.261 f.). These forms might belong to *bhel-/bhl-(e)h1-, partly showing a secondary full grade *bhelh1- taken from the simple root *bhel- (cf. Ved. śarad- < *ḱolh1éd- from *ḱleh1-/ ḱl̥h1-). As in the cases quoted above like *ḱleu̯s- beside *ḱleu̯-, *bhelh1s- could be a lexicalized s-present/desiderative stem. If the root was *bhelh2-, a -su-adjective *bhl̥h2- would result in Gk. *φλᾱhύ- > *φλᾱΰ- > *φλᾱυ- > nom. sg. m. *φλαυς (with shortening by Osthoff’s Law) → *φλαυλός ‘chatty, mean’, cf. Lith. byliniñkas ‘chatterer’ from bìlti → bylinė́ti ‘to quarrel, litigate’.


Cf. also in h.Merc. 164 αἴσυλα οἶδε.


On the root *h2ei̯d- cf. Kölligan (2016). A derivation from the s-stem *ai̯dos- (cf. αἰδώς), *ai̯d-s-u-, would be without parallels.


The verse has been taken to be a later interpolation, cf. e.g. Leaf (1960: 222), but also Kirk (1990: 103), who interprets the relative clause as a typically Homeric etymological appendage, if the reading αἰσυλοεργός is correct (in which case °εργός would be picked up by ῥέζων).


Σὺ γὰρ τέκες ἄφρονα κούρην / οὐλομένην, ᾗ τ’ αἰὲν ἀήσυλα ἔργα μέμηλεν “You are father to that mad and accursed maid, whose mind is always set on deeds of lawlessness”.


Cf. also Leaf (1960: 253), Panagl (1987: 512).


For earlier proposals cf. Bechtel (1914: 15) (*ἀjήσυλος ~ Ved. yātú- ‘sorcery’), Chantraine (1933: 250: αἶσα, cf. also Panagl 1987 and the explanation of Apion [infra]), Frisk (1960–1972: I.27: remodelling of αἴσυλος, but the model is unclear), Panagl (1987: 514 f.), Chantraine (2009: 26, 38), Beekes (2010: 27 f., 44: Pre-Greek; still, the gloss in Hesychius ⟨αἰήσυλον⟩· ἄνομον (A) [οὐ] κακοποιόν may be a blend of αἰσυ- and ἀησυ-). Other possibilities, likewise undemonstrable: a) similar to ἄνεμος ‘wind’ : ἀνεμώλια ‘windy, empty’, folk etymology with ἄη-σι ‘blows’, i.e. αἴσυλα → ἀήσυλα as ‘idle words/deeds’ (cf. Chantraine 2009: 26 s.v. ἀήσυλος), b) derivation from *ἦθος ‘manner, custom’ as ‘deeds/words not according to custom, to good behaviour’. In αἴσυλος, the accent on the root instead of the suffix (*αἰσύλος), which one might expect based on στωμύλος, αἱμύλος, etc., may be due to various factors (either exclusive or adding up): analogy to the antonym αἴσιμα (cf. Od. 2.231 f., see Panagl 1987: 519), secondary root accent due to substantivization or reinterpretation as containing the negative particle ἄ-, cf. Apion (fragmenta de glossis Homericis) 15.8 ἔστιν οὖν αἴσυλα … ἀαίσυλα, ἐστερημένα τῆς αἴσης, τουτέστι τοῦ καθήκοντος.


Another obvious candidate would be ὀξύς ‘sharp’, but its derivational history is unclear. Narten (1986) revives a proposal of Delbrück to connect it with Ved. akṣṇóti ‘to sting’ and proposes a root *h3eḱs-—which lacks further support—or a connection with *h2eḱ- ‘sharp’, but in that case the o-grade in ὀξύς would be unexplained (transferred from the CoC-éi̯e/o-present *h2oḱ-ei̯e/o- [MWelsh hogi, OHG eggen, LIV2 261] or Gk. ὄκρις ‘rugged’ [cf. Narten 1986: 214 fn. 68]?). Cf. also Beekes (2010: 1089).


Cf. Chantraine (1961: 104): “Dans les thèmes en *-u- le vocalisme e de la voyelle présuffixale est général dès le grec commun: γλυκεῖα repose sur *γλυκεϝ-yα; cette extension du vocalisme e semble propre au grec.” Ruijgh (1987: 537) assumes analogy to the nom. pl. m. *γλυκ-έϝ-ες. According to Schindler (1972: 152) *-ih2-stems had e-grade in the last morpheme of the strong cases before the suffix already in the protolanguage, cf. the type *déi̯u̯-ih2 : *diu̯-i̯éh2-s with the fem. of u-stem adjectives *-éu̯-ih2; cf. also Schaffner (2001: 513). If so, the Indo-Iranian type in *--ih2 would be an innovation by intraparadigmatic analogy.


A transfer of the whole ending *-ϝεντ- would have given *-(ϝ)εῖσα, cf. Rix (1992: 165).


Cf. Schwyzer (1939: 727).


Thanks to one of the anonymous reviewers for pointing out this possibility.


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