Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The adjective ηδυς (hedus) means sweet or pleasant. It occurs often in Homer to describe the pleasant taste or smell of meat or wine. In the classics our word may describe the sweetness of pleasant words, feelings, a sweet welcome given to friends, or even sweet friends themselves. Our word could be used adverbially, and describe the gladness with which an action was undertaken (to gladly ask or to be pleased with some situation).
Our adjective ηδυς (hedus) appears to mostly describe physical or sensual pleasure. It's perhaps closely similar to the Hebrew verb נעם (na'em), to be pleasant, delightful or sweet (hence names like Naomi and Naamah). Our adjective isn't used independently in the New Testament and only the following derivatives occur:
- The adverb ηδιστα (hedista), meaning most sweetly (2 Corinthians 12:9 and 12:15 only). This adverb derives from the accusative, neutral plural of the superlative of ηδυς (hedus), sweet or pleasant.
- The noun ηδονη (hedone), meaning pleasure (hence our English word hedonism). This noun formally stems from the verb ηδομαι (hedomai), to have pleasure, which doesn't occur in the New Testament. But that means that our noun doesn't really mean pleasure in some abstract sense, but rather pleasure had or experienced: that which pleasure-seekers seek or pleasure-havers have. It's essentially the Greek word for what we moderns call entertainment. Our noun is used 5 times; see full concordance. From it in turn comes:
- Together with the familiar noun φιλος (philos), lover or friend: the adjective φιληδονος (philedonos), meaning pleasure-loving (2 Timothy 3:4 only).
- Together with the verb οζω (ozo), to smell: the adjective-slash-noun ηδυοσμον (heduosmon), literally meaning sweet-smelling. It's the Greek word for mint, which occurs in Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42 only, both times as the first mentioned goods in a series of items proverbially taxed by the authorities. The familiar term μινθη (minthe) is actually pre-Greek, and here at Abarim Publications we wouldn't be surprised if it were actually Semitic and was imported into the Greek language basin along with the alphabet and words like, say, myrrh (מור, mor, from מרר, marar, to be strong or bitter). In that case, it could very well be adapted from the noun מנת (menat), portion or part, from the verb מנה (mana), to count or assign. And that, of course, would tie into the tithing mentioned in the gospels.