Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb δαμαζω (damazo) means to overpower in the sense of bringing someone or some animal into the common fold. It's used to describe the breaking of animals such as horses, but also of maidens, who were evidently thought of as naturally feral but destined to be domesticated (the unused noun δαμαρ, damar, means wife or spouse). Metallurgy was also described by this verb (see our article on χαλκος, chalkos, copper, for a closer look at metals in the Bible). Our English verb to tame ultimately came from this Greek verb, and it's closely similar to the familiar Latin word domus, hence our English verb to domesticate and the noun dame.
The Hebrew equivalent of our verb is כנע (kana'), hence the name Canaan, which speaks of the synchronization of many elements into a larger, unified whole, which is the basis of all speech, all intelligence and all society. We moderns may sometimes romanticize the wilderness, but that's because we have Gore-Tex and GPS and canned food, science, medical facilities, laws that keep us from getting robbed, and either the absence of or else carefully managed wild animals. For actual pre-civilized humans, the wilderness was something they couldn't wait to get out of.
Fortunately for all of us, some pre-civilized humans actually didn't wait but investigated, invented and engineered, until mankind had cities and food galore, information technology and arts to inspire, and the grateful masses lavished the engineers will all the honor and funding they desired. Freedom only actually feels like freedom when it is governed, guarded and guaranteed by law — and read for more on this our riveting article on ελευθερια (eleutheria), meaning freedom-by-law.
Our verb δαμαζω (damazo), to tame and so give freedom, is used 4 times; see full concordance. From it comes:
- The noun δαμαλις (damalis), which described a bovine that was just old enough to understand training, and thus could be trained to carry the yoke. This noun occurs in Hebrews 9:13 only.