Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb αιρω (airo) means to lift up and carry along or away — hence our English word "air", which is a bit of a mismatch. Our verb usually implies taking control over and removal of that which is lifted up. It may also describe the directing of one's attention (to lift one's eyes) or expression (to raise one's voice).
Our verb is a contracted form of the more common αειρω (aeiro), and stems from the Proto-Indo-European root "hwer-", to raise. Its similarity to the verb αρω (aro), to join, and the noun αηρ (aer), air, is curiously accidental, as these words are not immediately related.
Our verb αιρω (airo) is used 102 times, see full concordance, and from it derive:
- Together with the preposition απο (apo), meaning from: the verb απαιρω (apairo), meaning to lift or take away from (Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:20 and Luke 5:35 only).
- Together with the preposition εκ (ek), meaning out or from: the verb εξαιρω (exairo), meaning to lift or take out of, to extract (1 Corinthians 5:2 and 5:13 only).
- Together with the preposition επι (epi), meaning on or upon: the verb επαιρω (epairo), literally meaning to raise upon but in effect to raise toward or with a specified intention. This verb is used in reference to eyes, voices, hands, sails, one's heel. One specific time this verb is used to describe the ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:9), which indicates that the ascension event probably not simply tells of Jesus sailing off into the atmosphere (compare Hebrews 12:1 to 2 Corinthians 11:20). Our verb is used 19 times; see full concordance.
- Together with the preposition μετα (meta), meaning with or among and implying motion toward the inside (and our verb's alternate form αειρω, aeiro): the familiar noun μετεωρος (meteoros), which denotes anything lifted up or being in mid-air (hence our word "meteor"). This noun does not occur in the New Testament, but from it derives the verb μετεωριζω (meteorizo), meaning to lift up into the air. Since dry ground serves as a metaphor for certainty (see our review of the hydrological cycle of cognition in our article on the Hebrew noun ארץ, 'eres), our verb μετεωριζω (meteorizo) refers to a mind that's not firmly grounded and easily moved: to be an airhead. This verb occurs only in Luke 12:29.
- Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συναιρω (sunairo), meaning to jointly lift. This verb is used to describe the "taking up" of some matter to settle with some other person(s). It's used in Matthew 18:23, 18:24 and 25:19 only.
- Together with the preposition υπερ (huper), meaning over or beyond: the verb υπεραιρω (huperairo), literally meaning to lift above. Done to someone else it means to praise or exalt; done to oneself it implies boasting or self-glorification. It's used in 2 Corinthians 12:7 and 2 Thessalonians 2:4 only.