H. W. Smyth

Greek Grammar (First Edition)

Part 2, 311-324


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adjectives of irregular declension


311. The irregular adjectives μέγας great (stems μεγα- and μεγαλο-) and πολύς much (stems πολυ- and πολλο-) are thus declined:

singular

Nom.

μέγας

μεγάλη

μέγα

πολύς

πολλή

πολύ

Gen.

μεγάλου

μεγάλης

μεγάλου

πολλοῦ

πολλῆς

πολλοῦ

Dat.

μεγάλῳ

μεγάλῃ

μεγάλῳ

πολλῷ

πολλῇ

πολλῷ

Acc.

μέγαν

μεγάλην

μέγα

πολύν

πολλήν

πολύ

Voc.

μεγάλε

μεγάλη

μέγα

dual

N. A. V.

μεγάλω

μεγάλᾱ

μεγάλω

G. D.

μεγάλοιν

μεγάλαιν

μεγάλοιν

plural

N. V.

μεγάλοι

μεγάλαι

μεγάλα

πολλοί

πολλαί

πολλά

Gen.

μεγάλων

μεγάλων

μεγάλων

πολλῶν

πολλῶν

πολλῶν

Dat.

μεγάλοις

μεγάλαις

μεγάλοις

πολλοῖς

πολλαῖς

πολλοῖς

Acc.

μεγάλους

μεγάλᾱς

μεγάλα

πολλούς

πολλά̄ς

πολλά


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a. Except in the forms μέγας, μέγαν, μέγα, the adjective is inflected as if the nominative sing. masc. were μεγάλος.  μέγας is sometimes found in the voc. sing. Except in πολύς, πολύν, πολύ, the adjective πολύς is inflected as if the nominative sing. masc. were πολλός.

b. The stem πολλο- is from πολυ̯-, i.e. πολϜο-, λϜ being assimilated to λλ.

c. πρᾷος mild forms its masc. and neuter sing. and dual from the stem πρᾳο-; its fem. in all numbers from the stem πρᾱϋ-, as nom. πρᾱεῖα for πρᾱευ̯-ια formed like ἡδεῖα (297 a). Thus πρᾷος, πρᾱεῖα, πρᾷον, G. πρᾴου, πρᾱείᾱς, πρᾴου, etc. In the plural we have

N. V.

πρᾷοι or πρᾱεῖς

πρᾱεῖαι

πρᾷα or πρᾱέα

Gen.

πρᾴων or πρᾱέων

πρᾱειῶν

πρᾴων or πρᾱέων

Dat.

πρᾴων or πρᾱέων

πρᾱειῶν

πρᾴων or πρᾱέων

Acc.

πρᾴοις or πρᾱέσι(ν)

πρᾱείαις

πρᾴοις or πρᾱέσι(ν)

d. Some compounds of πούς foot (ποδ-) have -ουν in the nom. sing. neut. and sometimes in the acc. sing. masc. by analogy to ἁπλοῦς (290). Thus, τρίπους three-footed, τρίπουν (but acc. τρίποδα tripod).


adjectives of one ending


312. Adjectives of one ending have the same termination for masculine and feminine. The neuter (like masc. and fem.) sometimes occurs in oblique cases. Examples:  ἀγνώς ἀγνῶτ-ος unknown or unknowing, ἄπαις ἄπαιδ-ος childless, ἀργής ἀργῆτ-ος white, ἅρπαξ ἅρπαγ-ος rapacious, μάκαρ μάκαρ-ος blessed, ἀκάμᾱς ἀκάμαντ-ος unwearied.  Here belong also certain other adjectives commonly used as substantives, as γυμνής γυμνῆτ-ος light armed, πένης πένητ-ος poor, φυγάς φυγάδ-ος fugitive, ἧλιξ ἥλικ-ος comrade, ἀλαζών ἀλαζόν-ος flatterer.  Some are masculine only, as ἐθελοντής (-οῦ) volunteer.  Adj. in -ίς -ίδος are feminine only. Ἑλληνίς Greek, πατρίς (scil. γῆ) fatherland, συμμαχίς (πόλις) an allied state.


comparison of adjectives


313. Comparison by -τερος, -τατος. The usual endings are:

For the comparative:  -τερος m. -τερᾱ f. -τερον n.
For the superlative: 
-τατος m. -τατη f. -τατον n.

The endings are added to the masculine stem of the positive.  Comparatives are declined like ἄξιος, superlatives like ἀγαθός (287).

δῆλος (δηλο-) clear, δηλό-τερος, δηλό-τατος; ἰσχῡρός (ἰσχῡρο-) strong, ἰσχῡρότερος, ἰσχῡρό-τατος; μέλᾱς (μελαν-) black, μελάν-τερος, μελάν-τατος; βαρύς (βαρυ-) heavy, βαρύ-τερος, βαρύ-τατος; ἀληθής (ἀληθεσ-) true, ἀληθέσ-τερος, ἀληθέσ-τατος; εὐκλεής (εὐκλεεσ-) famous, εὐκλεέσ-τερος, εὐκλεέσ-τατος.


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a. χαριέστερος, -έστατος are from χαριετ-τερος, -τατος (83, 299 b), from χαρίεις graceful. Compounds of χάρις grace add ο to the stem (χαριτ-ο-), whence ἐπιχαριτώτερος more pleasing. πένης poor has πενέσ-τερος from πενετ-τερος, with ε for η.

b. Originally -τερος had no other force than to contrast one idea with another, and this function is retained in δεξίτερος right) (ἀρίστερος left, ἡμέτερος our) ( ὑ̄μέτερος yourHom. has several such words:  ἀγρότερος wild) (tame, θηλύτεραι γυναῖκες) (men, cp. Arcadian ἀρρέντερος from ἄρρην male. Cp. 1082 b.

314. Adjectives in -ος with a short penult lengthen ο to ω:  νέο-ς new, νεώ-τερος, νεώ-τατος, χαλεπό-ς difficult, χαλεπώ-τερος, χαλεπώ-τατος. An undue succession of short syllables is thus avoided.

a. If the penult is long either by nature or by position (144), ο is not lengthened:  λεπτός lean, λεπτότερος, λεπτότατος.  A stop and a liquid almost always make position here (cp. 145); as πικρός bitter, πικρότερος, πικρότατος. κενός empty and στενός narrow were originally κενϜος, στενϜος (κεινός, στεινός, 37 D. 1), hence κενότερος, στενότερος.

315. The following drop the stem vowel ο: γεραιό-ς aged, γεραί-τερος, γεραίτατος; παλαιό-ς ancient, παλαί-τερος, παλαί-τατος; σχολαῖο-ς slow, σχολαί-τερος, σχολαί-τατος; φίλο-ς dear, φίλ-τερος (poetic), φίλ-τατος (319, 11).

a. Some other adjectives reject the stem vowel ο and end in -αιτερος, -αιτατος, as ἥσυχος quiet, ἴσος equal, ὄρθριος early.  These, like σχολαίτερος and γεραίτερος, imitate παλαίτερος, which is properly derived from the adverb πάλαι long ago.  So μεσαίτερος, -αίτατος imitate μεσαι- in Hom. μεσαι-πόλιος middle-aged.

316. -εστερος, -εστατος. By imitation of words like ἀληθέσ-τερος, ἀληθέστατος (313), -εστερος, -εστατος are added to stems in ον and to some in οο (contracted to ου). Thus, εὐδαίμων happy, εὐδαιμον-έστερος, -έστατος; ἁπλοῦς simple, ἁπλούστερος (for ἁπλο-εστερος), ἁπλούστατος; εὔνους well-disposed, εὐνούστερος, -ούστατος, and so in all others in -νους from νοῦς mind. (Others in -οος have -οωτερος:  ἀθροώτερος more crowded from ἀθρόος.)

a. Some stems in ον substitute ο for ον; as (from ἐπιλήσμων forgetful, ἐπιλησμονέσ-τερος) ἐπιλησμό-τατος; πί̄ων fat, πῑότερος, πῑότατος; πέπων ripe has πεπαίτερος, πεπαίτατος. Cp. 315 a.

b. Other cases: (with loss of ο) ἐρρωμένο-ς strong, ἐρρωμενέστερος, -έστατος, ἄκρᾱτο-ς unmixed, ἀκρᾱτέστατος, ἄσμενο-ς glad, ἄφθονο-ς abundant.

317. -ιστερος, -ιστατος. By imitation of words like ἀχαρίστερος for ἀχαριττερος (83) from ἄχαρις disagreeable, -ιστερος, -ιστατος are used especially with adjectives of a bad meaning, as κλεπτ-ίστατος (κλέπτης thief, 321), κακηγορίστερος (κακήγορος abusive), λαλ-ίστερος (λάλος talkative).

318. Comparison by -ῑων, -ιστος. Some adjectives add to the root of the positive the endings -ῑων for the masculine and feminine, -ῑον


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 for the neuter to form the comparative, and -ιστος -η -ον to form the superlative.  The vowel (or the syllable ρο) standing before ς of the nominative is thus lost.

Positive

Comparative

Superlative

ἡδ-ύ-ς sweet (ἡ ἡδ-ονή pleasure)

ἡδ-ί̄ων

ἥδ-ιστος

ταχ-ύ-ς swift (τὸ τάχ-ος swiftness)

θά̄ττων (112, 125 f)

τάχ-ιστος

μέγ-α-ς great (τὸ μέγ-εθος greatness)

μείζων(116)

μέγ-ιστος

ἀλγεινός painful (τὸ ἄλγ-ος pain)

ἀλγ-ί̄ων

ἄλγ-ιστος

αἰσχ-ρό-ς shameful (τὸ αἶσχ-ος shame)

αἰσχ-ί̄ων

αἴσχ-ιστος

ἐχθ-ρό-ς hateful, hostile (τὸ ἔχθ-ος hate)

ἐχθ-ί̄ων

ἔχθ-ιστος

Forms in -ίων are declined like βελτ-ίων (293), those in -ιστος like ἀγαθός (287).

319. Irregular Comparison. The commonest adjectives forming irregular degrees of comparison by reason of the sound changes or because several words are grouped under one positive, are the following.  Poetic or Ionic forms are in ( ).

1. ἀγαθός good

ἀμείνων (from ἀμεν-ῑων)
(ἀρείων)

ἄριστος (ἀρ-ετή virtue)

βελτίων

βέλτιστος

(βέλτερος, not in Hom.)

(βέλτατος, not in Hom.)

(κρατύς powerful)

κρείττων, κρείσσων

κράτιστος

(cp. κράτος strength)

(κρέσσων)

(κάρτιστος)

(φέρτερος)

(φέρτατος, φέριστος)

λῴων (λωίων, λωίτερος)

λῷστος

2. κακός bad

κακίων (κακώτερος) peior

κάκιστος

χείρων (χερείων) meaner, deterior (χειρότερος, χερειότερος)

χείριστος

ἥττων, ἥσσων (for ἡκ-ῑων) weaker, inferior (ἕσσων)

(ἥκιστος, rare), adv. ἥκιστα least of all

3. καλός beautiful

καλλί̄ων

κάλλιστος (κάλλ-ος beauty)

4. μακρός long

μακρότερος (μάσσων)

μακρότατος (μήκι-στος)

5. μέγας great

μείζων 318 (μέζων)

μέγιστος


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6. μῑκρός small

μῑκρότερος

μῑκρότατος

(ἐλάχεια, f. of ἐλαχύς)

ἐλά̄ττων, ἐλά̄σσων (for ἐλαχῑων)

ἐλάχιστος

μείων

(μεῖστος, rare)

7. ὀλίγος little, pl. few

ὀλείζων (inscriptions)

ὀλίγιστος

(ὑπ-ὀλίζων Hom. rather less)

8. πολύς much, pl. many

πλείων, πλέων, neut. πλέον, πλεῖν

πλεῖστος

9. ῥᾴδιος easy

ῥᾴων (Ion. ῥηίων)

ῥᾷστος

(ῥηίδιος)

(ῥηίτερος)

(ῥηίτατος, ῥήιστος)

10. ταχύς quick

θά̄ττων, θά̄σσων

τάχιστος

(ταχύτερος)

(ταχύτατος)

11. φίλος dear

(φίλτερος)

φίλτατος

φιλαίτερος (Xenoph.)

φιλαίτατος (Xenoph.)

(φιλίων, rare in Hom.)

a. ἀμείνων, ἄριστος express aptitude, capacity or worth (able, brave, excellent); βελτί̄ων, βέλτιστος, a moral idea (virtuous); κρείττων, κράτιστος, force and superiority (strong) (ἥττων is the opposite of κρείττων); λῴων means more desirable, more agreeable (ὦ λῷστε my good friend); κακί̄ων, κάκιστος express moral perversity, cowardice; χείρων, χείριστος, insufficiency, lack of a quality (less good) (worthless, good for nothing is φαῦλος).

b. ἐλά̄ττων, ἔλᾱττον, ἐλάχιστος refer to size: smaller (opposed to μείζων); or to multitude:  fewer (opp. to πλείων).  μείων, μεῖον, ἧττον, ἥκιστα also belong both to μῑκρός and to ὀλίγος.

c. The orators prefer the longer form of πλείων, especially the contracted πλείω, πλείους, but the neut. πλέον. πλεῖν is not contracted from πλέον.

320. Defectives. Some comparatives and superlatives are derived from prepositions or adverbs:

(πρό before)

πρότερος former

πρῶτος first

(ὑπέρ over, beyond)

ὑπέρτερος (poetic) higher, superior.

ὑπέρτατος (poetic) highest, supreme.

(πλησίον near)

πλησιαίτερος

πλησιαίτατος

(προὔργου serviceable)

προυργιαίτερος

ὕστερος later, latter

a. -ατος appears in ὕπατος highest, ἔσχατος farthest, extreme (from ἐξ).

321. In poetry and sometimes in prose comparatives and superlatives are formed from substantives and pronouns. Hom. has βασιλεύτερος more kingly,


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322. Double Comparison. A double comparative occurs sometimes to produce a comic effect, as κυντερώτερος (321). A double superlative is πρώτιστος.

323.  Comparison by μᾶλλον, μάλιστα. Instead of the forms in -τερος, -τατος or -ῑων, -ιστος the adverbs μᾶλλον more, μάλιστα most, may be used with the positive; as μᾶλλον φίλος more dear, dearer, μάλιστα φίλος most dear, dearest.  This is the only way of comparing participles and words that do not take the comparative and superlative endings (μᾶλλον ἑκών more willing).

a. Comparison by μᾶλλον, μάλιστα is common in the case of compound adjectives, adjectives with a prepositional prefix, verbal adjectives in -τός, and adjectives in -ιος.

324. To express equality or inferiority οὕτω as (often in correlation with ὥσπερ), ἧττον less, may be placed before the positive.  Thus, as good as handsome may be expressed by οὕτως ἀγαθὸς ὥσπερ καὶ καλός, ὥσπερ ἀγαθὸς οὕτω καὶ καλός, οὖχ ἧττον καλὸς ἢ καὶ ἀγαθός.

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