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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The New Testament Greek word: αμφ

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/a/a-m-ph.html

αμφ

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

αμφι-  αμφο-

The two prefixes αμφι- (amphi-) and αμφω- (ampho-) are obviously related. Both stem from the idea of converging on one point from a position of dispersal (and as such are related to the Hebrew verb בוא, bo').

The prefix αμφι- (amphi-) describes a surrounding, and can usually be translated with round or roundabout; think for instance of the word amphitheatre, which is a round or circular theatre. This particular prefix was replaced by περι (peri) in later Greek.

The prefix αμφω- (ampho-) describes an approach from both or all sides, and can usually be translated with both or even two; think of the misspelled adjective amphibious, which means living both in water and on land, or the noun amphora, which is a two-handled vessel, or the adjective amphoteric, which means acting in both ways, and specifically: having both acidic and basic properties.

Our prefix also exists in Latin, namely as ambi-, meaning "both" in our words ambivalent, ambiguous and ambidextrous, and "round/surround" in words like ambiance and ambience.

In the Greek New Testament, the following compounds that make use of our prefixes occur:

  • Together with an expression of the verb βαλλω (ballo), meaning to throw: the noun αμφιβληστρον (amphiblestron), literally meaning a thing that's thrown round or round thing that's thrown. It denotes a so-called "cast net"; the kind of fishing net that a person would throw onto the water from the shoulder in a roundabout sweep (Matthew 4:18 and Mark 1:16 only).
  • Together with the otherwise unused verb εννυμι (ennumi), meaning to invest: the verb αμφιεννυμι (amphiennumi), meaning to wrap (oneself) in clothes. This word occurs 4 times in the New Testament; see full concordance.
  • Together with the noun οδος (hodos), meaning road or way: the noun αμφοδον (amphodon), which may denote a place where two roads meet, or else an urban area surrounded by a circular road (Mark 11:4 only).
  • The noun αμφοτερος (amphoteros), meaning either or each of two or more, and in plural this common noun means both or all. In the New Testament this word occurs 14 times; see full concordance.

Associated Biblical names