Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The identical noun κορος (koros), also spelled κουρος (kouros), means son in the sense of boy or lad. This word stems from the Proto-Indo-European root "ker-", meaning to grow or become bigger (hence too the familiar Latin verb creo, from which English gets the verb to create). This PIE root is suspiciously similar to the Hebrew root כרר (karar), which describes circular motions with the added nuance of amassing something within the circle so formed.
Our noun κορος (koros) isn't used independently in the Bible, but it's part of the name Dioscuri, and from it derive:
- Combined with the prefix επι (epi), meaning on or onto: the noun επικουρος (epikouros), which denotes auxiliary troops as opposed to the military force formed from πολιτης (polites), civilians. In other words: the elite army consisted of the "sons", and the επικουρος (epikouros) were the "for-the-sons" or "in addition to the sons". This word appears in the New Testament only as the name Epicurean, but from it in turn comes:
- The noun κορη (kore), meaning girl. This word was broadly applied to anything young and feminine, from young girls to young brides, nymphs and goddesses, muses and furies, even dolls and pillars in the shape of women, the eye's pupil and probably most notably: the Athenian δραχμη (drachme), drachma, which bore a portrait of Pallas Athena and was nicknamed girl. Our noun κορη (kore) is not used in the New Testament, but note the similarity with the Greek transliteration of the name Korah, namely Κορε (Kore). From this noun comes:
- The diminutive form of the previous: the noun κορασιον (korasion), meaning little girl. This word may indeed denote a literally small or young girl, but in Greek, a diminutive most often refers to a specific individual from a greater general category: one individual from the general class of κορη (kore) is a κορασιον (korasion). This word is used 8 times; see full concordance.
An identically spelled noun κορος (koros) means satiety or surfeit (in Homer) and the consequence of it: insolence or wanton (in Pindar and others). This noun clearly stems from the same PIE root as the above. It's also not used independently in the New Testament, but from it derives:
- The verb κορεννυμι, korennumi, to satiate, to be full with food (Acts 27:38 and 1 Corinthians 4:8 only).
κορος IV κοραξ
The noun κοραξ (korax) means raven. It occurs in Luke 12:24 only, in a play on words that associates ravens to reaping and storing harvests in barns at the completion of the agricultural year (or rather proverbially not doing that).
From this noun comes the adjective κορος (koros), raven-black, which looks obviously similar to the previous. Still, these words are not directly etymologically related to the above, but stems rather from the PIE root "(s)ker-", which means to cut off or harvest (hence also καρπος, karpos, fruit, and κειρω, keiro, to shave, see below). Still, this root "(s)ker-" is obviously not without overlap with the previous words, from PIE root "ker-".
The Hebrew word for raven, namely ערב ('oreb), stems from a verb that means to criss-cross or be a nomad, hence the name Arabia. This suggests that Paul's lengthy stay in Arabia (Galatians 1:17) may actually have denoted a proverbial stay among the ravens — seeing what flies in, so as to thoroughly learn before one commences to preach (hence also the story of Elijah, who was likewise sustained at the brook Cherith by whatever the "ravens" brought in: 1 Kings 17:4).
A presumed second adjective κορος (koros) means pure, although here at Abarim Publications we suspect it's the same one. Plato deemed Zeus the son (κορος, koros) of Cronus, not because he was his "child" but because of the purity (καθαρος, katharos) of his mind (Pl.Crat.396). A similar connection between brilliance of mind and obscurity exists in the adjective βαθυς (bathus), meaning deep. A link between darkness and purity of mind exists in the Hebrew word שחר (shahar), meaning eclipse.
The sound a raven makes is called κραζω (krazo). Certain Greeks poets made word jokes by confusing our noun κοραξ (korax) with κολαξ (kolax), which described someone engaged in flattery and feigned affection (1 Thessalonians 2:5 only).
The verb κειρω (keiro) means to shear or shave off and stems from the same PIE root "(s)ker-" as the noun κοραξ (korax), raven (see previous). A similar association between hair (i.e. memory), deep darkness and divine supremacy exists in the noun κοσμος (kosmos), meaning human world-order (from which English gets its noun cosmos). Whether by proper etymology or not, this verb and its applications are clearly associated with the noun καιρος (kairos), meaning the right time; the proverbial proper time for something to occur (specifically of sowing in the spring and harvesting in the fall). Our verb κειρω (keiro), to shear, occurs 4 times in three verses, see full concordance, and from it comes:
- The noun κειρα (keira), which describes a piece of cloth woven from something sheared (i.e. wool), as opposed to fabric made from plants or leather. In the New Testament it occurs in John 11:44 only, where it describes the burial cloths of Lazarus. Note that Jesus' burial cloths are rather described by the noun οθονιον (othonion), linen, which was a much more precious material than a woolen κειρα (keira).