Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb δεω (deo) means to bind, pretty much on a precise par with the English verb to bind. It describes the forced joining of elements: bundling things or binding one thing to some other thing, implying constraint or restriction. It's used 44 times in the New Testament, see full concordance, and from it derive:
- The noun δεσμη (desme), meaning a bundle or something bound (Matthew 13:30 only).
- The noun δεσμος (desmo), meaning a thing that binds: a bond or restriction; or the condition of being bound: imprisonment, bondage. This noun is used 20 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn derive:
- The verb δεσμευω (desmeuo), meaning to apply bonds or imprison (Matthew 23:4 and Acts 22:4 only).
- The alternate but similar verb δεσμεω (desmeo), also meaning to apply bonds or imprison (Luke 8:29 only). From this verb comes:
- The noun δεσμιος (desmios), meaning a bound one, a prisoner. And note that in the old world imprisonment was not a form of punishment; one was thrown in prison in order to wait one's trial during which one was either acquitted or else punished with a fine, torture, forced labor, exile or death. Only on rare occasions would a person be bound — perhaps to protect others from his violent outbursts (Mark 5:3). This word is used 16 times, see full concordance, and is equivalent with the noun δεσμωτης (desmotes), see below.
- Together with the noun φυλαξ (phulax), meaning keeper, from the verb φυλασσω (phulasso), to ward or guard: the noun δεσμοφυλαξ (desmophulax), meaning prison-keeper or warden (Acts 16:23, 16:27 and 16:36 only). In the classical world, a prison was a holding pen where to-be-tried people were held. Since these suspects might be guilty of a crime punishable by death, letting any prisoner escape translated to a death sentence to the prison-keeper.
- The noun δεσμωτηριον (desmoterion), meaning a prison or place of bondage: a place where suspects awaited their trial. This word is used 4 times; see full concordance.
- The noun δεσμωτης (desmotes), meaning a prisoner (Acts 27:1 and 27:42 only). A more common word for prisoner is δεσμιος (desmios), see above.
- Together with the preposition κατα (kata), meaning down from or down upon: the verb καταδεω (katadeo), meaning to bind down, or to dress or bandage (Luke 10:34 only).
- Together with the preposition περι (peri), meaning around or about: the verb περιδεω (perideo), meaning to bind around: to swaddle or wrap (John 11:44 only).
- Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συνδεω (sundeo), meaning to bind together with or jointly bind (Hebrews 13:3 only). From this word comes:
- The noun συνδεσμος (sundesmos), meaning a thing that binds together or is bound together: a conglomeration. This noun is used 4 times; see full concordance.
- Together with the preposition υπο (hupo), meaning under, beneath: the verb υποδεω (hupodeo), meaning to bind under. This verb served as the regular verb for shoeing foot wear (Mark 6:9, Acts 12:8 and Ephesians 6:15 only), and from it in turn derives:
- The noun υποδημα (hupodema), literally meaning under-bound and denoting foot wear: sandals or shoes. The sandal is probably a much younger invention than the shoe and even in Biblical times many cultures (including the Greeks) shunned the wearing of foot wear. The Romans normalized footwear, but only for free people, and slaves still went barefoot (Acts 7:33). This may also help to understand why John the Baptist seemed so concerned about the foot wear of Jesus (Matthew 3:11). This noun is used 10 times; see full concordance.
An identical verb δεω (deo), or perhaps rather a specialized nuance of the previous, means to lack, miss or be in need of. This verb, or this particular specialization, is very common in the Greek classics but not at all used in the New Testament. From it, however comes:
- The curious verbal expression δει (dei) or δειν (dein), which is basically an impersonal 3rd person singular form of our parent verb, meaning: it is needed, required, necessary, fitting or even morally obligatory. The imperfect form points to something that's been long deemed necessary: it ought to be so ... according to long-standing conviction. The present tense refers to necessity derived from an acute situation. Our verb is used 104 times; see full concordance.
The inseparable prefix δυσ- (dus-) is the opposite of ευ (eu): it spoils any positive sense of a word it's connected to and exacerbates any negative sense. Like the previous word, this prefix expresses a degree of want and both words derive from the ancient Proto-Indo-European root "deu-", to lack or be wanting.
Our prefix δυσ- (dus-) differs from ευ- (eu-) also in that it doesn't occur independently, and the cluster of compounds it's part of is also much smaller. It's the source of our English prefix "dys-", which describes poor functioning, abnormalcy or impairment (the word dysfunction refers to poorly functioning).
The Latin look-alike dis is really a wholly other word and describes a total absence or separation from (the word disfunction would mean: without a function). This Latin word comes from the Proto-Indo-European root "dis-", meaning apart, and is much closer related to the word duo than to δυσ- (dus-).
The pronoun δεινα (deina) means so-and-so or "that guy from the place with the thing". It's a curious and deliberately vague way of referring to someone one rather not mention or won't mention by merit of that person's utter irrelevance. In the classics this same pronoun was used as interjection to introduce a suddenly striking idea: "Oh, and by the way...!"
This word is used only once in the New Testament, namely in Matthew 26:18, where it points to the curiously unimportant proprietor of the room where Jesus instituted the enormously important rite of the Lord's Supper.
The adverb δειως (deinos), means terribly (Matthew 8:6 and Luke 11:53 only). It comes from an unused adjective δειος (deinos), terrible or fearful (hence the dino- part of the word dinosaur), which in turn comes from noun δεος (deos), fear or alarm.
Identical to the previous adjective, and also not used in the New Testament, the noun δειος (deinos) describes a variety of round or spinning things (a kind of dance, a threshing floor, some kind of device that made pills). That noun also occurs in the forms δινος (dinos) and δινη (dine), and derive from the verb δινευω (dineuo), to whirl or spin around. Hebrew equivalents of these words are the verb חגג (hagag) and חול (hul).