Chameleon (Greek Word of the Week)

Perhaps there are a few of you in this club cultured enough to understand the link between the pic on the left and this week’s Greek WOTW. In case you’re a man without conviction or a man who doesn’t know, read on and learn.

Chameleon comes from two Greek roots: χαμαι and λεων. The latter is clear enough; we get our word lion from it, as well as the name Leon. The former, χαμαί, is an adverb that means ‘to/on the ground.’ Literally, then, the chameleon is a dirt-lion. Not sure exactly why you would call this lovable little creature that, but there you have it.

κεφαλοχαμαιλεων

κεφαλοχαμαιλεων

χᾰμαι-λέων, οντος, ὁ, chameleon, Chamaeleo vulgaris, Arist. HA503a15, Plin.HN8.120, Lib.Or.1.249; used as an image of changefulness, Arist.EN1100b6Plu.Alc.23.II. name of various plants, so called from their leaves changing colour, Thphr. HP6.4.39.12.19.14.1; χ. λευκός pine-thistle, Atractylis gummifera, Dsc.3.8; χ. μέλας,Cardopatium corymbosum, ib.9, Plin. HN22.47.

And that, dear readers, in red, gold and green, is this week’s Greek word of the week.

About these ads

About Daniel Streett

Associate Professor of Greek and New Testament at Criswell College, Dallas, Texas
This entry was posted in Word of the Week and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Chameleon (Greek Word of the Week)

  1. Paul Nitz says:

    ἥ ἔρχεται, ἥ ἕρχεται…..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s