Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The noun οινος (oinos) means wine and is hugely old. It stems from a Proto-Indo-European root "win-o", from which stem pretty much every European and Slavic words for wine and possibly even the Hebrew one: yayan. And that suggests that this root does not merely denote the (fermented) juice of mushed grapes but rather something much more profound, perhaps even something entirely fundamental to humanity, that was compared to wine from the get go, and which was preached across the prehistoric world.
That profound thing, of course, is information technology: the systematic representation of whatever item, action and principle by synthetic symbols: initially abstract marks, then formalized symbols like stars, wavy lines, and arrows (see The First Signs, by Genevieve von Petzinger). Even language itself is a symbolic system, and every word is a symbol. And wine symbolizes what happens when the natural minds of homo sapiens begin to agree on symbols: they are mushed like grapes and the contemplative and comprehensive juices that sit naturally within any organic brain, flow out and together and form a mighty river of words, then script and science (Romans 1:20, Proverbs 25:2), then computer code and finally artificial intelligence.
The Hebrew word for wine is יין (yayan), which relates to the name Javan (Greece) but also to the noun ינה (yonah), meaning dove, and thus the name Jonah. This is significant because in the New Testament, God's Holy Spirit (which binds societies and human collectives together) assumes the form of a dove and alights on the Word (Matthew 3:16). This has been traditionally interpreted to mean that the Holy Spirit assumed the form of a single dove, but no, to the authors and original audience of the New Testament, the dove was proverbial for being as common and abundant as the sparrow is to modern Westerners. The word is περιστερα (peristera) and means All Over The Place.
See our article on the Hebrew word יין (yayan) for a review of wine in the Bible. Our Greek word is used 33 times, see full concordance, and from it derive:
- Together with the noun ποτης (potes), meaning a drinker, from the verb πινω (pino), to drink: the noun οινοποτης (oinopotes), meaning a wine-drinker (Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:34 only). In its literal sense, this word describes someone who consumes an inordinate amount of wine, but in its equally important figurative sense, it describes someone who is inordinately social: someone who talks all the time and, by implication, effectively about nothing at all.
- Together with the preposition παρα (para) meaning near or nearby: the adjective παροινος (paroinos), which literally means "near to wine" (1 Timothy 3:3 and Titus 1:7 only). This word is rare in the Greek classics but tends to describe someone who never strays far from a helping of wine and is thus rarely sober. Symbolically, this word may have two meanings. It may describe someone who is so eager to read symbology into everything that they can't see the regular world anymore. In modern terms, such a person is deemed psychotic. And by being psychotic, a person cannot partake in common human congress and the regular economy of information, and thus becomes a near-symbol himself. It's very difficult to assess of oneself whether one is psychotic rather than uniquely brilliant, but one's own psychosis can be recognized when everyone around you is continuously unable to comprehend your brilliant insights and nobody wants to talk with you anymore. A uniquely brilliant connoisseur of complicated theorems, on the other hand, is perfectly able to simply not mention difficult things, and interact with less brilliant neighbors about the simpler things they are eager to discuss.