Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts


  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Example and Directions
    Words (or words that have the same definition) The definition is case sensitive (Optional) Image to display with the definition [Not displayed in Glossary, only in pop-up on pages] (Optional) Caption for Image (Optional) External or Internal Link (Optional) Source for Definition
    (Eg. "Genetic, Hereditary, DNA ...") (Eg. "Relating to genes or heredity") The infamous double helix CC-BY-SA; Delmar Larsen
    Glossary Entries
    Word(s) Definition Image Caption Link Source
    Ablative Genitive of Separation The genitive noun is separated in some way from the head noun or verb (usually translated “[away] from”).        
    Accompaniment/Association Σύν + dative, μετά + genitive, and πρός + accusative. Σὐν tends to connote more personal union, while μετά tends to connote attendant circumstances or close association.        
    Accusative of Extent The accusative noun denotes the extent of time, space, or degree of the verbal action (before the accusative noun, supply a gloss like “to/for the extent of”).        
    Accusative of Reference/Respect The accusative noun restricts the reference of the verbal action (usually glossed “with reference/respect to” or “concerning” before the accusative noun).        
    Accusative Subject of Infinitive An accusative noun may function as the subject of an infinitive. Since the infinitive takes both its subject and direct object in the accusative case, context will dictate which is correct.        
    Adjectival Participle The participle can function in the same way as an adjective, i.e., attributively or in a predicate construction. Adjectival participles will usually (but not always) have a definite article.        
    Adverbial Accusative The accusative noun qualifies the verbal action by functioning in an adverbial capacity. This usage is restricted to words that were historically used adverbially (e.g., Gal 2:21 ἄρα Χριστὸς δωρεὰν ἀπέθανεν, “Then Christ died for nothing”).        
    Adversative Conjunction This conjunction indicates a contrast with the idea to which it is connected and is commonly translated “but,” “rather,” or “however.” The most common adversative conjunction in Galatians is ἀλλά.        
    Agency Usually διά + genitive. The prepositional phrase explains the personal agent by whom the verbal action is accomplished.        
    Anaphoric Use of the Article The article functions as a pointer to a previous occurrence of the same noun. In this scenario, a (usually anarthrous) noun is used (e.g., πίστις). Then, a subsequent occurrence of the noun (e.g., ἡ πίστις) will take a definite article in order to signal to the reader that it is referring to the previous occurrence. For this reason, the article will function like a demonstrative pronoun (“this faith” or “the faith previously mentioned”).        
    Anarthrous Without a definite article.        
    Anarthrous Attributive Participle An attributive participle that does not have a definite article (e.g., Gal 5:3 παντὶ ἀνθρώπῳ περιτεμνομένῳ, “every man who is circumcised”). Context will determine this usage.        
    Apodosis The “then” half of a conditional statement.        
    Appositive A noun in apposition refers to the same thing as the noun it modifies.        
    Articular Infinitive An infinitive with a definite article. The article does not necessarily indicate that an infinitive is substantival. For instance, articular infinitives are often found in prepositional phrases that modify verbs, so the preposition with articular infinitive would carry adverbial force.        
    Ascensive καί This usage of καί communicates a point of focus and is often translated “even.”        
    Attributive Adjective This is the most straightforward adjectival function, with the adjective modifying the noun (e.g., “The good king,” “A humble servant,” etc.).        
    Attributive Genitive The genitive noun specifies an attribute of the head noun and is translated like an attributive adjective (e.g., Gal 6:1 ἐν πνεύματι πραΰτητος, “with a spirit of gentleness” = “with a gentle spirit”), but its emphasis is more forceful than a simple adjectival construction.        
    Attributive Participle An adjectival participle that is functioning in an attributive position.        
    Autograph This term refers to the original document of a given text. We do not possess any biblical autographs.        
    Causal Dative The dative noun indicates the cause of the verbal action.        
    Causal Participle An adverbial participle that indicates the cause for the verbal action.        
    Causative Direct Middle Voice The subject causes the verbal action to be done to/for himself or herself. This usage is rare.        
    Cause/Causal Common with ἐν + dative and διά + accusative. The prepositional phrase specifies the cause of the verbal action.        
    Chiasmus An ancient literary convention that utilizes mirrored parallelism to enhance rhetorical and/or poetic effect. This construction can occur on the level of words, sentences, or larger sections. Examples of chiastic structure include (but are not limited to) A-B-B’-A’ and A-B-C-B’-A’ (note the central unit C in the second example).        
    Clausal Complement (introduced by ὅτι) Ὅτι is often used to complete the action of a verb. Syntactically, then, the clausal complement functions as the direct object of the verb.        
    Comparative Conjunction The conjunction establishes a comparison or analogy between ideas. Common comparative conjunctions include καθώς, οὕτως, and ὡς.        
    Comparative Pronoun A pronoun that communicates a quantitative comparison (e.g., ὅσος, “as many as/a much as/as long as”).        
    Compensatory Lengthening Because liquid verbs reject σ, their first aorist forms sometimes experience a lengthening of the stem to compensate. E.g., μένω (present) → ἔμεινα (aorist).        
    Complementary Infinitive The infinitive completes the action of the main verb (e.g., “She wanted to meet the teacher”).        
    Compound Verb A verb built from the components of multiple words, usually by combining a prepositional prefix with an existing verb (e.g., εἰσέρχομαι = εἰς + ἔρχομαι).        
    Concessive Participle An adverbial participle that indicates that the verbal action is true despite the action or state communicated by the participle, often translated “although” (e.g., Phil 2:6 ὅς ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων, “who, although he existed in the form of God”).        
    Constructio ad Sensum: Sometimes a pronoun will agree with its antecedent “naturally” but not grammatically, often involving a difference in gender (e.g, Gal 4:19 τέκνα μου, οὕς πάλιν ὠδίνω). In such cases, a translation must be “constructed according to sense.”        
    Contract Verb Verb whose stem ends in α, ε, or ο and which undergoes a contraction in the first principal part when the ending vowel meets the connecting vowel. In the other principal parts, the final vowel is often lengthened before the addition of the tense formative.        
    Crasis The merging of two words through contraction (e.g., κἀγώ = καί + ἐγώ).        
    Dative Direct Object Some verbs take their direct object in the dative (e.g., πιστεύω). In this case, one should not look for extra nuance in the dative case, but rather treat it simply as the object of the verb.        
    Dative of Advantage The dative noun indicates a person (or, rarely, thing) who has an interest in the verbal action. This usage (the translational opposite of the dative of disadvantage) should be glossed something like “for,” “in the interest of,” or “to the advantage of.”        
    Dative of Agency The dative noun indicates the personal agent of the verbal action. This usage is extremely rare in the NT.        
    Dative of Association The dative noun indicates the person or thing one is associated with (usually translated “with” or “in association with”).        
    Dative of Manner The dative noun specifies the manner in which the verbal action is accomplished, indicating an accompanying emotion, attitude, action, or circumstance. In translation, a gloss of “with” or “in” is usually supplied (e.g., “She spoke with grace”).        
    Dative of Means The dative noun indicates the means by which the verbal action is accomplished.        
    Dative of Possession The dative noun functions somewhat like a possessive genitive in that it possesses the noun that it modifies. In translation, supply the gloss “possessed by” or “belonging to.”        
    Dative of Reference The dative noun indicates that in reference to which the verbal action applies (translated with “in reference to,” “concerning,” “in regard to,” etc.).        
    Dative of Rule The dative noun specifies a rule or standard to be followed, to be translated with “in accordance with” or “in conformity to.” This usage is rare.        
    Dative of Sphere The dative noun indicates the location in which the word it modifies takes place or exists.        
    Dative of Time The dative noun indicates the time when the verbal action takes place (e.g., Gal 6:9 καιρῷ γὰρ ἰδίῳ θερίσομεν, “For we will reap at the proper time”).        
    Dental A letter whose vocalization involves the teeth. The Greek dentals are δ, ζ (except when beginning a word), θ, and τ.        
    Descriptive Genitive The genitive noun describes the head noun in an unspecified way. This is the last-resort “catch-all” category if no other adjectival genitive classification seems to fit.        
    Direct Discourse A quotation, often (but not always) signaled by ὅτι. In the case of direct discourse, ὅτι is not to be translated but serves simply to mark the beginning of the quotation.        
    Elision Omission of the final vowel of a preposition to avoid the occurrence of consecutive vowels in adjacent words (e.g., Gal 1:1 ἀπ᾽ ἀνθρώπων).        
    Epexegetical Infinitive The infinitive is explaining a noun or adjective (e.g., Gal 5:3 ὀφειλέτης ἐστιν ὅλον τὸν νόμον ποιῆσαι explains the noun ὀφειλέτης: “he is a debtor to do the whole Law”).        
    Epexegetical ἵνα This usage of ἵνα introduces a clause that completes the thought of a noun or adjective (translated “that”).        
    Epistolary Aorist This use of the aorist is used to communicate action from the timeframe of the recipient.        
    Ethical Dative The dative noun specifies the person who is especially concerned with the verbal action, to be translated with “as far as I am concerned,” “as for me,” etc. This usage is rare.        
    Explanatory Conjunction A conjunction used to introduce additional information about something (e.g., γάρ).        
    First-Class Conditional Statement The protasis of this condition consists of εἰ with an indicative verb in any tense, with the apodosis containing a verb of any mood and tense. It communicates a condition in which the protasis is assumed true for the sake of the argument.        
    Genitive of Apposition (or Epexegetical Genitive) The genitive noun refers to the same thing as the head noun that it modifies. In translation, replace the usual “of” with “which is/who is” or “namely.”        
    Genitive of Association The genitive noun indicates that/those with whom/which the head noun is associated. In translation, “of” is replaced by “(in association) with.”        
    Genitive of Content The genitive noun specifies the contents of the word that it modifies.        
    Genitive of Product The genitive noun is the product of the head noun. In translation, replace “of” with “which produces.”        
    Genitive of Purpose The genitive noun specifies the purpose for the existence of the head noun.        
    Genitive of Reference The genitive noun specifies that in reference to which the head noun is true. In translation, replace “of” with “with reference/respect to.”        
    Genitive of Relationship The genitive noun specifies a familial relationship with the head noun; usually the genitive noun is the progenitor of the noun it modifies (e.g., Matt 26:37 τοὺς δύο υἱοὺς Ζεβεδαίου, “the two sons of Zebedee”).        
    Genitive of Source The genitive noun specifies the source of the head noun (usually translated “from”).        
    Genitive of Time The genitive noun specifies the time during which the head noun takes place. Often in translation, “of” is replaced with “during.”        
    Gnomic Future This use communicates a “timeless truth.”        
    Goal Common with εἰς + accusative. The prepositional phrase indicates the goal of the verbal action.        
    Hapax Legomenon (pl. Legomena) This term describes a word or words that occur only once, e.g., a “NT hapax legomenon” is a word that only appears once in the entire NT.        
    Hendiadys Lit. “one through two.” This term describes the use of two grammatically linked words (linked by καί) that describe one idea, which can be translated as a noun-adjective phrase. E.g., “God’s glory and radiance” becomes “God’s radiant glory.”        
    Hortatory Subjunctive Since there is no first-person imperative form, the first-person plural subjunctive (and, on a few occasions, the first-person singular) often functions in this way. It is usually translated “let us.”        
    Imperatival Future In this usage, the future-tense verb functions as a command. Most NT occurrences of the imperatival future are in OT quotations (e.g., Gal 5:14, quoting Lev 19:18, ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν).        
    Indirect Discourse Reported speech used after a verb of communication or perception. This type of speech is to be distinguished from direct discourse, in which speech is being quoted: “She said, ‘I pray daily’” (direct discourse) differs from “She said she prays daily” (indirect discourse).        
    Inferential Conjunction A conjunction that introduces a conclusion, deduction, etc., from what precedes it (usually translated “therefore”).        
    Infinitive of Indirect Discourse An infinitive follows a verb of perception or communication (e.g., λέγω, δοκέω, ἐρωτάω) to report discourse without providing a direct quotation. For example, behind the indirect discourse in Jas 2:14 (πίστιν λέγῃ τις ἔχειν, “Someone claims to have faith”), the reader may infer the underlying direct discourse, “I have faith.”        
    Infinitive of Purpose The infinitive indicates the purpose or goal of the verbal action (translated “in order to,” “for the purpose of,” etc.).        
    Infinitive of Time A preposition + infinitive construction that communicates a temporal relationship between the infinitive action and the action of the main verb (e.g., Gal 2:12 πρὸ τοῦ . . . ἐλθεῖν, “Before the coming”).        
    Labial A letter whose vocalization involves the lips. The Greek labials are β, π, and φ.        
    Liquid Verb This set of verbs have stems ending in λ, μ, ν, or ρ and reject the σ formatives of the first aorist and future tenses. As a result, liquid verbs have irregular morphologies in these tenses.        
    Manner Typically ἐν + dative or μετά + genitive. The prepositional phrase specifies the accompanying manner of the verbal action, adding emotion, attitude, or “extra color.”        
    Means Ἐν + dative, διά + genitive, and ἐκ/ἐξ + genitive. The prepositional phrase indicates the means by which the verbal action is accomplished.        
    Nominative Absolute The nominative absolute is used in introductory material such as headings, titles, and addresses, which are not to be thought of as sentences (e.g., Gal 1:1 Παῦλος ἀπόστολος . . . διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, which as a prescript should not be viewed as a proper sentence).        
    Nominative in Simple Apposition The nominative noun refers to the same thing as the noun of the same case to which it is appositive. Unlike the predicate nominative, it is not linked by an equative verb. See Gal 1:1, Παῦλος ἀπόστολος: “Paul, an apostle” (simple apposition), not “Paul is an apostle” (predicate nominative).        
    Objective Genitive The genitive noun functions as the direct object of the verbal idea implicit in the head noun (e.g., πίστις Χριστοῦ would be translated “faith in Christ”).        
    Optative Mood The optative mood was generally used to portray possible action, but by the NT period it had been largely absorbed into the subjunctive, hence its rarity (approx. seventy occurrences in the NT). In expressions like μὴ γένοιτο (e.g, Gal 2:17), it is used to express a wish or desire.        
    Palatal A letter whose vocalization involves the palate. The Greek palatals are γ, κ, and χ.        
    Participle of Attendant Circumstance The participle communicates action that is coordinate with the main verb. This usage is translated as a finite verb (e.g., Matt 28:19 πορευθέντες οὖν μαθητεύσατε πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations”).        
    Participle of Manner An adverbial participle that communicates the accompanying emotion/attitude/“color” of the verbal action.        
    Participle of Means An adverbial participle that communicates the means by which the verbal action is accomplished.        
    Partitive Ἐκ/ἐξ + genitive. The prepositional phrase expresses the whole of which the head noun is a part. This is another way of expressing the partitive genitive idea.        
    Partitive Genitive The genitive noun describes the whole of which the head noun is part (supply “which is a part of” in translation).        
    Passive Deponent Since the aorist and future have separate morphologies for middle/passive voice, deponent verbs like ἀποκρίνομαι will have future and aorist passive forms that maintain their deponency (e.g, ἀπεκρίθην “I answered,” ἀποκριθήσομαι “I will answer”).        
    Periphrastic Construction This construction consists of a verb of being (most commonly εἰμί) paired with a participle, which together communicate a finite verbal idea in a more roundabout way (e.g., ἦν λύων = ἔλυεν, “He was loosing”).        
    Possessive Genitive The genitive noun possesses (literally) the head noun.        
    Postpositive Certain particles/conjunctions will never occur in the first position within a clause. Some postpositive words include δέ, γάρ, and οὖν.        
    Predicate Accusative The accusative noun stands in a predicate relationship to another accusative, joined by an equative infinitive or participle.        
    Predicate Dative The dative noun describes something about another dative, with the two linked by an equative participle (e.g., Gal 4:8 τοῖς φύσει μὴ οὖσιν θεοῖς, “Those by nature who are not gods”).        
    Predicate Nominative The nominative noun is approximately equivalent to the nominative subject, joined by an equative verb (e.g., Gal 3:24 ὁ νόμος παιδαγωγὸς ἡμῶν γέγονεν, “The Law has become our guardian”).        
    Prepositional Syntax Prepositions in Greek tend to make explicit syntactical nuances that are implicit to the cases. E.g., a dative noun could communicate means or sphere on its own, or a writer may use ἐν with the dative to do so. Following are some basic descriptions of the various prepositional usages encountered in this book’s lessons (you will notice that these nuances coincide with many of the case usages defined elsewhere in the glossary).        
    Present-Tense Reduplication: The morphology of present-tense forms of μι-verbs will often include a reduplication of the initial stem consonant, but this reduplication will differ from the usual perfect-tense consonant + ε construction and will instead consist of consonant + ι (e.g., δίδωμι [stem = δο], τίθημι [stem = θε]; however, see ἵστημι [stem = στα]).        
    Prohibitive Subjunctive A use of the subjunctive with a particle of negation (usually the aorist subjunctive with μή) that has imperatival force.        
    Protasis The “if” half of a conditional statement.        
    Purpose Usually εἰς + accusative, but also ἐπί + dative and πρός + accusative. The prepositional phrase specifies the intention of the verbal action.        
    Purpose Clause This type of clause specifies the purpose of a verbal action. It is often introduced by ἵνα and features the subjunctive mood.        
    Result Typical εἰς + accusative. The prepositional phrase specifies the result of the verbal action.        
    Second-Class Conditional Statement The protasis of this condition consists of εἰ with an aorist or imperfect indicative verb, with the apodosis containing an aorist or imperfect indicative verb (often with ἄν). It communicates a condition in which the protasis, a false statement (from the speaker’s perspective), is assumed true for the sake of the argument.        
    Source/Origin Ἐκ/ἐξ + genitive, ἀπό + genitive, διά + genitive, and παρά + genitive. The prepositional phrase indicates the source of the noun being modified.        
    Spatial/Sphere Ἐν + dative, εἰς + accusative, πρός + accusative, ἐπί + dative/genitive/accusative. The prepositional phrase indicates some sort of spatial nuance, e.g., direction (as with εἰς + accusative) or location (as with ἐν + dative).        
    Standard Κατά + accusative and ἐν + dative. The prepositional phrase communicates a rule or standard to be followed or an idea of correspondence.        
    Subjective Genitive The genitive noun functions as the subject of the verbal idea implicit in the head noun (e.g., if Gal 1:12 δι᾽ ἀποκαλύψεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ were read this way, it would be translated “through what Jesus Christ revealed”).        
    Subjunctive Equivalent The conjunction ἵνα normally expects a subjunctive verb, but sometimes the future indicative occurs instead (e.g., Gal 2:4 ἵνα ἡμᾶς καταδουλώσουσιν). These instances should be considered equivalent to subjunctive usages, as the subjunctive deals with potential action and is therefore necessarily future-oriented.        
    Substantival Adjective An adjective that functions syntactically as a noun (e.g., as the object of a preposition: Gal 1:1 ἐκ νεκρῶν).        
    Substantival Infinitive The infinitive is functioning as a noun and can act as subject or object, or it can be in apposition or function epexegetically to another noun or adjective.        
    Substantival Participle An adjectival participle that is functioning independently, i.e., it is functioning as a noun would. In order to distinguish between a proper adjectival participle and a substantival participle, ask the question, “Is there a noun that this participle could be modifying?” If not, the participle is likely substantival.        
    Temporal διά + genitive, μετά + accusative, ἐπί + accusative, ἄχρι + genitive, ἐν + dative. The prepositional phrase communicates some sort of timeframe (e.g., 2:1 διὰ δεκατεσσάρων ἐτῶν, “after fourteen years”).        
    Temporal Adverb An adverb that communicates some sort of timeframe for the verbal action, e.g., τότε (“then”), νῦν (“now”).        
    Temporal Participle An adverbial participle that communicates when the action of the main verb occurs. For example, a present temporal participle generally communicates contemporaneous time (“while”), and an aorist generally communicates antecedent time (“before”).        
    Third-Class Conditional Statement The protasis of this condition consists of ἐάν with a subjunctive verb of any tense, with the apodosis containing a verb of any mood and tense. It can communicate a condition in which fulfillment of the protasis is unclear, unlikely, or probable.        
    Vocative Case The vocative case is often used in direct address and is often morphologically identical to the nominative. It is syntactically disconnected from the rest of the sentence. See Gal 3:15 Ἀδελφοί, κατὰ ἄνθρωπον λέγω, where Ἀδελφοί is in the vocative case (but identical in form to the nominative), while the verb λέγω specifies a different subject for the rest of the sentence (Paul).        
    Voluntative Imperfect The imperfect tense is used to communicate an action that is desired (e.g, Gal 4:20 ἤθελον δὲ παρεῖναι με πρὸς ὑμᾶς, “I would like to be with you”; cf. Lk 1:59 ἐκάλουν αὐτὸ ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Ζαχαρίαν, “They wanted to call him by the name of his father, Zachariah”).        
    • Was this article helpful?