A prefix question

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Mark Trzasko
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Joined: June 5th, 2011, 9:41 am

A prefix question

Post by Mark Trzasko » January 27th, 2012, 7:57 am

In the word "apotheosis," does "apo" mean "from"? I scoured my Liddell and Scott lexicon and found basically that meaning. A friend asked if it means "becoming."

cwconrad
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Re: A prefix question

Post by cwconrad » January 27th, 2012, 8:40 am

Mark Trzasko wrote:In the word "apotheosis," does "apo" mean "from"? I scoured my Liddell and Scott lexicon and found basically that meaning. A friend asked if it means "becoming."
This clearly, from the way it's formulated, is a beginner's question, but it's a good question in that it calls for useful information, viz. where to find information about the sense of a prefix -- answer: toward the end of the LSJ article on the preposition or adverb that is used as a prefix.

You should have looked at ἀπο- in composition (in the unabridged LSJ):
D. IN COMPOS.:
1. asunder, as ἀποκόπτω, ἀπολύω ἀποτέμνω: and hence, away, off, as ἀποβάλλω, ἀποβαίνω; denoting, removal of an accusation, as ἀπολογέομαι, ἀποψηφίζομαι.
2. finishing off, completing, ἀπεργάζομαι, ἀπανδρόω, ἀπανθρωπίζω, ἀπογλαυκόω.
3. ceasing from, leaving off, as ἀπανθέω, ἀποζέω, ἀφυβρίζω.
4. back again, as ἀποδίδωμι, ἀπολαμβάνω, ἀπόπλους: also, in full, or what is one’s own, as ἀπέχω, ἀπολαμβάνω: freq. it only strengthens the sense of the simple.
5. by way of abuse, as in ἀποκαλέω.
6. almost = ἀ- priv.; sts. with Verbs, as ἀπαυδάω, ἀπαγορεύω; more freq. with Adjectives, as ἀποχρήματος, ἀπότιμος, ἀπόσιτος, ἀπόφονος.

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon (Rev. and augm. throughout) (192). Oxford; New York: Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press.
The word ἀποθέωσις means "deification"; it derives from a verb ἀποθεόω, "turn (someone) into a god." I would say that the sense of the prefix here is #2 of LSJ's options, "finishing off, completing" -- look at the verbs listed there, all of them involving processing or transformation.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Mark Trzasko
Posts: 15
Joined: June 5th, 2011, 9:41 am

Re: A prefix question

Post by Mark Trzasko » January 29th, 2012, 9:59 am

Thank you sir.

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