V. 56 N. 1 (2018)

L'etimologia di gr. θεός: un bilancio

Pubblicato 2018-04-06

Parole chiave

  • etymology,
  • Greek,
  • Indo-European,
  • god


In this paper the main problems relating to the etymology of Gk. θεός “god” are discussed. After a brief discussion of the principal etymologies proposed both in ancient and modern times, two etymologies are taken into account, which have established themselves as the most probable: the first one traces θεός back to an i.-e. root *dhwes- meaning “blow, breathe”, while the second one starts from a reconstructed root noun *dheh1s- “sacred”. Although in recent years the second etymology established itself as the most certain, the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of both etymologies shows that, although the second etymology does not involve problems as regards formal aspects and is therefore preferable, there is no compelling evidence to exclude the first one.