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I'm not knowledgeable on ancient greek.

I was listening to someone who said in passing that ancient greek has (at least) four different words roughly translated as the English word "With".

To sate my curiosity, I was looking up their definitions, but I can't find the fourth word the speaker was referring to.

The three I've already found are:

  1. para : familiar to me as "alongside", like "parachute"

  2. pros : "besides, over and above, thereto, in addition" / "at (a place), toward (a person or place)"

It seems 'pros' may also mean, "in front of" / "before" (and in, "standing before")? The person I heard talking, mentioned it may also have a more intimate implications, like face-to-face / staring in the eyes, and being uncovered / exposed / seen? Could you elaborate on any nuance like this? Edit: Found a reference for that. 'pros' can mean, apparently, "at the side of, pertaining to, at the hand of, before, next to, in the presence of, in the eyes of, in the sight of, in the name of"

  1. syn ('syn-' as in 'synthesis' or 'synonym', "with/together/")

The one I can't find, I am almost certainly misspelling, since I heard it audibly only:

  1. matta / matar ("muh-ta")

I found this word 'matta', but doesn't seem to be a word meaning "with", and instead seems to be about planting plants in gardens.

Does anyone know what this remaining greek word I'm misspelling may be?

2 Answers 2

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Just to tack on to what Draconis said, μετά (similarly pronounced to the English "meta", but with a proper dental instead of a flap) can indeed mean "with" when it's used with a genitive, which you can find under section A.II in the above link.

You'll also see it spell μετ᾽ (pronounced like "met") before a unaspirated vowel and μεθ᾽ (<meth>) before an aspirated vowel.

The word is likely cognate with words like the English amidst, German mit, and Latin medius, though precisely how is a matter of debate.

Matta, on the other hand, isn't Greek. You're looking at a website that combined Greek and Hebrew words. The word you found is actually the Hebrew מַטָּע, which means "plantation." It's a completely unrelated word from the other words.

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I'm guessing the missing word was μετά (metá), which can mean "in the midst of", "by the aid of", "after", and many other things. (Greek prepositions are complicated!)

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  • Thank you so much, I bet you are correct that this was what he said!
    – Jamin Grey
    Commented Sep 1, 2023 at 23:09

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