I can see that the prefix παρά is used frequently as an intensifier with the meaning of "over/excessive" in Modern Greek compound words e.g. παρακοιμάμαι (oversleep), παραχαϊδεμένος (over/excessively coddled).

Is this meaning of παρά as a prefix also found in Ancient Greek compounds? I acknowledge it would be quite rare compared to Modern Greek, but I'd love to see if there are any examples from ancient times.

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    I think more likely would be ὑπερ-, as in ὑπερεσθίω "overeat".
    – TKR
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 23:15

1 Answer 1


I believe this prefix used for excess is not to be found in Ancient Greek or Koine, and as @TKR comments, you might look for ὑπέρ- there, instead, your hyper-. My sense is it would be hard to find it there, but knowledgeable people here might surprise me.

Looks like the modern Greek intensifier, πάρα (πολύ), παρακάνω, παραλέω, ... is established in mediaeval Greek: παραγαπῶ, as a separate meaning of excess, beyond the ancient next-to. Ditto.

Ironically, the medieval παρακοιμώμενος indicates bodyguard, so in the propinquity meaning, not in excess like the modern παρακοιμήθηκα (overslept). The ancient παραλέγω (prattle idly) is unrelated to the modern παραλέω (overstate).

  • Cheers for the detail! I was trawling through some lexicons and academic papers, and I wonder if these would be candidates: παραφθείρω (to wear out to a greater extent) παράφερνα (extra dowry) παραγηράω (to age excessively)
    – Pelle82
    Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 19:44
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    No, in all three cases παρά is for propinquity... so you almost destroy by corrupting; the dowry stuff is on the side, even though dictionaries present it as extra; the last one is interesting, and you need an expert... but to me it's about the decline that comes with age, a consequence or effect of age, not an excess... Commented Apr 5, 2023 at 20:59
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    1)French (Bailly abrégé): corrompre légèrement ou en partie : παραφθαρεὶς τὴν φώνην PLUT qui a une altération de la voix, qui balbutie; 2)German (Pape) τά, das was die Braut neben od. außer der eigentlichen Mitgabe, προΐξ, empfängt u. mitbringt; 3) French (Bailly abrégé) -ῶ : déraisonner comme un vieillard en enfance, radoter. Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 16:40

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