Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The verb πλησσω (plesso) or πληττω (pletto) means to strike or smite, either literally with a fist or weapon, or with terror (to strike terror in one's heart) or grief (to be stricken with grief) or misfortune or overwhelming emotions (or alcoholic beverages).
In the classics this verb was also used to describe Zeus' lightning (hence a lightning strike), which said as much about the fear this provoked as the actual impact. One could strike a coin or stamp with some image, or a musical instrument to make it produce a tone.
Our verb stems from a widely attested Proto-Indo-European root "plehk-", from which also comes our English noun plague (and the Dutch verb vloeken, to curse). It's used a mere one time in the New Testament (Revelation 8:12 only) but from it derive:
- Together with the preposition εκ (ek), meaning out or from: the verb εκπλησσω (ekplesso) or εκπληττω (ekpletto), literally meaning to strike out (or out-strike), but used only in the sense of being figuratively knocked out of one's equilibrium, to be baffled. This verb is used 13 times; see full concordance.
- Together with the preposition επι (epi), meaning on or upon: the verb επιπλησσω (epiplesso), meaning to strike upon, but in the classics predominantly used figuratively: to chastise or rebuke. This verb occurs in the New Testament in 1 Timothy 5:1 only, obviously likewise figuratively.
- The noun πληγη (plege), meaning a strike or hit, whether literally (with a fist or weapon) or figuratively (with terror, emotions, grief, and so on). From this noun comes our English word plague. It's used 22 times; see full concordance.
- The noun πληκτης (plektes), meaning striker: a person who strikes, whether literally with fists or figuratively with words (1 Timothy 3:3 and Titus 1:7 only).