Greek: νηστεία


Senior Member
Hello everyone,

I would like to know what is the known etymology of this Greek word?

Thanks in advance for your time and help.
  • It's a compound of the Ancient Greek privative prefix «νη-» /nɛː-/ (also the privative prefixes «να-» /nɐː-/ & «νω-» /nɔː-/) which according to Beekes:
    arose from the lE negating prefix *n- combined with a following sequence *HC- (*H = *h₁, *h₂, *h₃, respectively). After reanalysis of such forms, νη- spread as a separate prefix to words without original initial laryngeal (pge 1015)
    + Ancient Greek verb for eat, «ἔδω» /ˈedɔː/ (PIE *h₁ed- to eat cf. Hittite edmi, Sanskrit अत्ति /ˈɐtːi/, Lat. ēst). The paragogic ti- to the word *n-h₁d-ti- is what changes the dental stop /d/ to the fricative /s/ (assibilation):
    «νη-δ-τεί-ᾱ» > «νη-σ-τεί-ᾱ»
    έδω and εσθίω are two variants of the verb, aren't they? Compare Eng. edible to German essen.