Does word gerokronoliros (γεροκρονόληρος) contain non-Greek (borrowed) elements? What is its meaning and etymology?

By: | Post date: 2016-09-01 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, Linguistics

I checked LSJ: no γεροκρ- anything. And there wouldn’t be: γερο- for “old” is Modern Greek, the Ancient Greek would be γεροντο-.

I googled γεροκρονοληρος, as Dimitris Sotiropoulos suggested in his exchange with Konstantinos Konstantinides.

The good thing about Google, is that it assumes you misspell things. So it tries taking words apart.

I didn’t guess what κρονόληρος means, which does me no honour, because when you see it in context, it is obvious. (And god knows Dimitris dropped enough hints, in his Quora Jeopardy!)

Κρονόληρος – Βικιλεξικό

Used by Plutarch to refer to an “old twaddler”, a foolish old man. From Kronos, Cronus (Roman Saturn), father of Zeus and a proverbially old god; and λῆρος, (originally) “gaudy”, (eventually) “delirious, silly”. (Modern Greek speakers will recognise it in παραλήρημα, “babbling, nonsense”.)

The etymology of λῆρος is uncertain, but it may derive from a Boeotian word for a gold ornament on women’s tunics.

So: “delirious Saturn”, of a foolish old-timer.

Now. Dimitris reports that:

It was in a phrase with a Description for a neighbor in the village

So what is a modern Greek prefix doing on a word used by Plutarch?

Someone in your village in Greece, Dimitris, had a classical education.

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