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

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/p/p-o-l-u-sfin.html

πολυς

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

πολυς

The familiar adjective πολυς (polus), means much or many (Matthew 8:16, Mark 5:24, Luke 7:21, John 6:2), or great or intense (Matthew 2:18, John 7:12, Acts 15:7), and is the source of the many "poly-" words in English. It and the other words below stem from the Proto-Indo-European root pele-, meaning to fill, and from which we also get English words such as accomplish, complete, deplete, fill, plenary and plus.

Our adjective πολυς (polus) often used to describe many people; the Anglicized phrase "hoi polloi", meaning the masses or the rabble, is directly adopted from Greek (Romans 5:15). And this appears to suggest relations between our word πολυς (polus) and the evenly familiar noun πολις (polis), meaning city (which in reality stems from the Proto-Indo-European root tpolh-, meaning citadel).

This adjective is used 365 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derive:

  • Together with the adjective πας (pas), meaning all or whole: the adjective παμπολυς (pampolus), meaning very much, vast (Mark 8:1 only)
  • Together with the suffix -κις (-kis), which denotes frequent occurrence: the adverb πολλακις (pollakis), meaning often or many times. This adverb occurs 18 times; see full concordance.
  • The adjective πολλαπλασιον (pollaplasion), meaning many times more (Luke 18:30 only).
  • Together with the noun λογος (logos), meaning word: the noun πολυλογια (polulogia), denoting the use of many words, long-windedness (Matthew 6:7 only)
  • Together with the noun μερος (meros), meaning a part or side: the adverb πολυμερος (polumeros; hence our English word "polymer"), meaning of many parts or many angles (Hebrews 1:1 only).
  • Together with the adjective ποικιλος (poikilos), meaning varied: the adjective πολυποικιλος (polupoikilos), meaning greatly varied (Ephesians 3:10 only).
  • Together with the noun σπλαγχνον (splagchnon), meaning (upper) intestines and figuratively the heart and emotions: the adjective πολυσπλαγχνος (polusplagchnos), or big-heartedness: very compassionate (James 5:11 only).
  • Together with τελος (telos), meaning end or completion, or in this case, cost: the adjective πολυτελης (poluteles), meaning very costly (Mark 14:3, 1 Timothy 2:9, 1 Peter 3:4 only).
  • Together with the noun τιμη (time), meaning worth or dearness: the adjective πολυτιμος (polutimos) meaning of great honor or price; very valuable (Matthew 13:46 and John 12:3 only).
  • Together with the noun τροπος (tropos), meaning manner, way or mode: the adverb πολυτροπως (polutropos), meaning in many ways or polymodal (Hebrews 1:1 only).

πλειων

The adjective πλειων (pleion), also spelled πλειον (pleion) and πλεον (pleon), is the comparative of πολυς (polus; see above) and means more. It is used pretty much in the same way as the English word "more" and occurs 56 times; see full concordance.

Note the similarity with the verb πλεω (pleo), meaning to sail, which shares its root with the Latin pleo (hence our word "plenty"), which means to fill (which is what one does with ships). It's also the source of the name Pleiades, or the constellation of the Seven Sisters (see Exodus 2:16 and Isaiah 4:1).

It comes with the following derivations:

  • The verb πλεοναζω (pleonazo), meaning to have more, to have surplus, to abound. This verb is the source of our English word "pleonasm". It occurs in the New Testament 9 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn derives:
    • Together with the preposition υπερ (huper), meaning over or beyond: the verb υπερπλεοναζω (huperpleonazo), meaning to super-abound (1 Timothy 1:14 only).
  • Together with the verb εχω (echo), meaning to have: the verb πλεονεκτεω (pleonekteo), literally to more-have; to covet or to harvest the resources of someone else out of sheer greed, to take advantage of. This verb occurs 5 times, see full concordance, and from it comes:
    • The noun πλεονεκτης (pleonektes), denoting a covetous person, an advantage taker. This noun is used 4 times; see full concordance.
  • Closely related to the previous and consisting of the same elements: the noun πλεονεξια (pleonexia), meaning covetousness or greediness. This noun occurs 10 times; see full concordance.

πλειστος

The adjective πλειστος (pleistos) is the superlative of πολυς (polus) and means most (Matthew 11:20, 21:8 and 1 Corinthians 14:27 only). It has no derivatives.


πληρης

The adjective πληρης (pleres) means full, filled or complete. It may describe the fullness of a vessel, but also that of a surface (with, say, vegetation) or even the passing of a specified stretch of time. In general this verb describes the process that sits between the manifestation of an empty thing (a jug, a promise, a universe) and the achievement of its potential capacity (a full jug, a kept promise, a universe evolved onto infinite complexity). On occasion our word serves as equivalent for the adjective πολυς (polus), meaning much or many (see above).

The adjective πληρης (pleres) is used 17 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derive:

  • Together with the verb φερω (phero), meaning to bring: the verb πληροφορεω (plerophoreo), meaning to fulfill or wholly accomplish. This verb is used 5 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn derives:
    • The noun πληροφορια (plerophoria), which denotes "something that was carried to fullness" or rather the "achieved fullness" (1 Thessalonians 1:5). This noun describes the manifestation of a process: something that took a while to become as full as it now so recognizably is. This noun occurs 4 times; see full concordance.
  • The verb πληροω (pleroo), meaning to make full or complete: to fill a hollow thing with something, to keep a promise, to substantiate a prophecy or to accomplish a previously proclaimed objective. Note that while in English this verb goes all over the place, in Greek it's still the same verb, saying the same thing each time: to inflate something that came into the world flat and empty; wholly there but not yet endowed with volume and structure — like the universe or any organism that grows from a genetically complete seed.
    This verb is also used to describe how events line up with Scriptures. This is commonly translated with to "fulfill" but that makes it seem as if a previously uttered prediction comes true at a later time without there being a connection between the two. In stead, the Scriptures function by means of a certain order that is also found in nature (and which has to do with fractals; Matthew 13:35). Events in real-time must either unfold according to this same order, or else create dissonance between what humans try to accomplish and what nature tries to accomplish. Since nature always wins, following the natural order of things leads to situations that are perpetual and eagerly sustained by the very laws of nature. All other efforts are literally a waste of time and will ultimately be brought to nought.
    Although the figurative idiom is enticingly familiar to English speakers, there's nothing literally being "filled" when we are "filled" with love or hope or rage or any of that (not counting hormones). In stead our minds assume a modus that congrues to some acknowledged definition and commonly leads to respective associated behavior. Likewise a being "filled" with the spirit may not be like filling a vessel with liquid (and going ape in the process), but rather building a building according to a blueprint (and remaining calm, calculating and controlled while doing so).
    This magnificent verb is used 89 times, see full concordance, and from it derive:
    • Together with the preposition ανα (ana), meaning on, upon or again: the verb αναπληροω (anapleroo), meaning to fill, complete or accomplish but with implied multiple efforts; to accomplish but over an extended period. This verb is used 6 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn derive:
      • Together with the preposition αντι (anti), meaning over or against: the verb ανταναπληροω (antanapleroo), meaning to fill, complete or accomplish instead of (in stead of, say, some other situation or condition, or in stead of someone else who should be doing the filling but fails to). This curious verb is used only once, in Colossians 1:24.
      • Together with the prefix προς (pros), which describes a motion toward: the verb προσαναπληροω (prosanapleroo), meaning to fill with a specific goal, intent or direction (2 Corinthians 9:12 and 11:9 only).
    • Together with the common preposition εκ (ek), meaning out: the verb εκπληροω (ekpleroo), which means the same thing as in English: to fill out, meaning to fill to a certain required number or mark, to spell out, to lay out (Acts 13:32 only). From this verb comes:
      • The noun εκπληρωσις (ekplerosis), meaning a fulfilling, a meeting a requirement (Acts 21:26 only).
    • The noun πληρωμα (pleroma), which describes the result of the verb: the reaching of some item's full potential, whether a filled jug, a kept promise, a fully developed universe, and so on. This noun works rather the same as the "-ful" part of English nouns like a handful and a bellyful, and adjectives like beautiful and awful. It's is used 17 times in the New Testament; see full concordance.
    • Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συμπληροω (sumpleroo), meaning to jointly fill. In the classics this verb is most often used to mean to help to fill by pitching in, or to accomplish some potential by adding an additional helpful skill or asset or something like that. In the New Testament this verb is used only to describe a filling that befalls a group of people together (Luke 8:23: perhaps with water but perhaps with fear; the emphasis lies on their joint experience), or a cluster of days that jointly add up to a span of time that's now over (Luke 9:51 and Acts 2:1).