Schoder and Horrigan (p. 23) say that a noun whose nominative ends in -ος, although "Three [feminine] exceptions ... will be noted in the vacabularies when they first occur." I originally took this to mean that there were only three exceptions in all of Homeric Greek, but maybe they just mean three exceptions that are in the vocab they cover. Schoder and Horrigan don't seem to give a list, just promise that they'll pop up and be noted.

Is the list short enough that one can list them for reference? Or if the list is actually long, is there a short list of the ones that would be most common? The only one I've been able to find by googling is παρθένος, "virgin."

  • Are you looking specifically for Homeric, or will any dialect do?
    – Draconis
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 19:24
  • I would expect there to be quite a few. Goddess, island, disease, and way come to mind.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 20:29
  • @Draconis: I'm specifically interested in Homer, but I don't know if that affects the answer much.
    – user3597
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 21:30
  • 1
    @Cerberus: Thanks! So that would be παρθένος, νῆσος, νόσος, ὁδός.
    – user3597
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 21:35
  • 1
    "Goddess" in Homer is θεά, though later Greek uses θεός for both "god" and "goddess".
    – TKR
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 21:38

1 Answer 1


Smyth's Greek Grammar, paragraph 232, gives a (probably incomplete) list. (Some of these words aren't used in Homer, and one -- νόσος / νοῦσος "illness" -- is spelled differently in Homer's Ionic dialect.) Of this list, ὁδός, νῆσος, and νόσος are the most frequent (I'd guess these are the three exceptions in your Homer textbook).

  1. Feminines. – a. See 197 for νυός daughter-in-law; see 199 for νῆσος island (cp. 200 c), Δῆλος (the island of) Delos, Κόρινθος Corinth, φηγός (acorn-bearing) oak, ἄμπελος vine.
    b. Some are properly adjectives used substantively: διάλεκτος (scil. γλῶττα speech) dialect, διάμετρος (scil. γραμμή line) diameter, αὔλειος (scil. θύρᾱ door) house-door, σύγκλητος (scil. βουλή council) legislative body, ἔρημος and ἤπειρος (scil. χώρᾱ country) desert and mainland.
    c. Words for way: ὁδός and κέλευθος way; and ἁμαξιτός carriage-road, ἀτραπός foot-path, which may be adjectival (b) with ὁδός omitted.
    d. Various other words: βάσανος touch-stone, βίβλος book, γέρανος crane, γνάθος jaw, γύψος chalk, δέλτος writing-tablet, δοκός beam, δρόσος dew, κάμῑνος oven, κάρδοπος kneading-trough, κῑβωτός chest, κόπρος dung, ληνός wine-press, λίθος stone (200 c), νόσος disease, πλίνθος brick, ῥάβδος rod, σορός coffin, σποδός ashes, τάφρος trench, χηλός coffer, ψάμμος sand, ψῆφος pebble.

Note that this list does not include common-gender nouns, i.e. those that can be masculine or feminine without change in form, like (ὁ/ἡ) ἵππος, βοῦς, etc.

  • Also ἄλοχος, wife or unwed woman.
    – user3597
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 1:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.