Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The noun or adjective γερον (geron) means old and specifically an old man (hence our English word geriatric): a πρεσβυτερος (presbuteros), a first-comer, and not a νεανιας (neanias), a new-comer. In certain arenas (particularly Sparta), this word γερον (geron), old man, became a badge of honor and signified a Senator (which, like the word "senior", comes from the Latin senex, meaning old). Our noun γερον (geron) stems from the Proto-Indo-European root "gerh-", meaning to mature or grow old, from which also came the name Greece.
Our word γερον (geron), old or old man, is used in John 3:4 only, where Nicodemus wonders about rebirth. His use of this particular word reveals that he's not simply talking about being old in the sense of having been around for a long time, and also not in the sense of being mature and big, but rather in the sense of being experienced and learned and even in a position of authority, which makes a switch to vulnerability and surrender an extremely hard move to make.
From this word comes:
- The noun γερουσια (gerousia), which literally described a group of elders, and in practice denoted the governing council of the Senate in Rome, Sparta, Carthage and the Jewish Sanhedrin. Notably, the Septuagint used this word in its translation of Exodus 3:16. In the New Testament, this word occurs in Acts 5:21 only.
Obviously related to the previous, the noun γηρας (geras) means old age (Luke 1:36 only). From it comes:
- The verb γηρασκω (gerasko), meaning to be or become old (John 21:18 and Hebrews 8:13 only).
The adjective γραωδης (graodes) means pertaining to old ladies. It derives from the noun γραυς (graus), meaning old lady, which occurs with the greatest respect in Homer (Od.1.191, Od.19.346). And although vulgar writers spoke of γραων υθλος (graon uthlos), or old ladies' nonsense, authors (and translators) who honored their elders would of course never.
In antiquity, society at large was deemed maternal, whereas the centralized government was considered paternal (and see for more on this our articles on μητηρ, meter, and πατηρ, pater). Since the paternal government was also mostly associated with issuing law, society at large was mostly associated with the narrative economy, with the vast world of storytelling that literally gave humanity its mind (see our article on μυθος, muthos, myth) and which ultimately itself gave birth to the masculine son: the scientific and governmental Logos.
Our word γραωδης (graodes) occurs in 1 Timothy 4:7 only, where it respectfully speaks of the great matriarchal narrative tradition that brought forth the masculine scientific tradition; the latter will forever govern mankind and the former has always embraced mankind.