Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The enclitic particle πω (po) means yet or even. It does not occur independently but always in combinations that express a negative:
- Together with the particle of negation μη (me): μηδεπω, (medepo; Hebrews 11:7 only), not even, and μηπο, (mepo; Romans 9:11 and Hebrews 9:8 only), not yet;
- Together with the particle of negation ου (ou): ουπω, (oupo; occurs 23 times; see full concordance), not yet, and ουδεπω, (oudepo; occurs 5 times; see full concordance), not yet.
- Together with ποτε (pote), meaning when(ever): πωποτε (popote), yet ever. This word occurs 6 times; see full concordance.
Another word πω (po) is the Dorian variant of the particle που (pou), meaning where (see next). Yet a third word πω (po) is an imperative from the verb πινω (pino), meaning to drink.
The particle που (pou I) expresses an approximation and occurs only twice: referring to locality it may mean "somewhere" or "anywhere" (Hebrews 2:6), and referring to some other statement or fact it may mean "about" or "to some degree" (Romans 4:19). Sometimes it's not wholly clear whether the author meant to use this word or the next, and the interpretation is up to the discretion of the reader.
The particle που (pou II) is an interrogative adverb meaning "where?" or "how?" — "Where is the king of the Jews" (Matthew 2:2:), or "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?" (Matthew 26:17). On occasion the strength of the inquiry abates somewhat and the particle serves to indicate a certain place: "the Son of Man has no where to lay his head" (Matthew 8:20), "And Mary Magdalene and Mary of Joses beheld where he was laid" (Mark 15:47). This word occurs 48 times; see full concordance.
Our adverb comes with two derivatives, one compound and one direct:
- Together with the particle δε (de), which indicates a mild objection, the adverb δηπου (depou), which appears to have originally reflected a mild degree of uncertainty ("perhaps," or "it may be") but in Biblical times had assumed a rather affirmative character: "I suppose" or "of course" or "surely" as in "surely, you must be joking ... ?". Our word is essentially an interrogative interjection that implies an affirmative reply. This nuance is important when we review this word's only appearance in the New Testament. In Hebrews 2:16 the author does not state a fact that commentators may isolate and use elsewhere (something like: Fact 42a: "God does not lead angels."), but rather employs an assumed truth for the sake of argument (something like: "God leads human beings, and not horses or comets or angels, does he?").
- The relative adverb οπου (hopou), meaning where, as in: "... where moth and rust corrupts" (Matthew 6:19). It's used 81 times in the New Testament; see full concordance.
Also note the similarity with the noun πους (pous), meaning foot.
The interrogative adverb ποθεν (pothen) asks: from where? It's an alternative spelling of κοθεν (kothen), which consists of a Proto-Indo-European particle of inquisition that asked "who?" The form used in the New Testament, ποθεν (pothen), was possibly helped into existence by an alternative spelling of που (pou II), namely πω (po), where? Our adverb ends on the common Greek locative suffix -θεν (-then). This adverb occurs 28 times; see full concordance.