I got this word κεῖμαι while trying to learn ὑποκείμενον, found in this answer to another question.

All the deponent verbs I've run across so far had an ο for theme vowel, as in: βούλομαι or φαίνομαι. Contraction resulted in an ω (as in θεᾰ́ομαι to θεῶμαι) or ου (ἡγέομαι to ἡγοῦμαι).

In general, I have not seen ο "losing" to another vowel (e.g. α or ε) in a combination and disappearing. For example, α + ο = ω, ε + ο = ου, and ο + ε = ου. To wit, ο survives.

I thought of two possibilities.

  1. κεῖμαι never had an ο. For example, it comes from κέεμαι.

  2. κεῖμαι came by a strange sort of contraction from κέομαι.

Please tell me what is going on, and if possible provide other verbs that behave like κεῖμαι.

I believe a similar question arises in respect of ὑποκείμενος. So far I have only seen -μενος with α or ο for a theme vowel (as in πεμψάμενος or πεμπόμενος) or without a theme vowel (as in πεπεμμένος). Contraction might give me ου (as in οἰκούμενος). But how do we end up with ει in ὑποκείμενος? Thanks.

1 Answer 1


The verb κεῖμαι isn't a contract verb like θεάομαι or ἡγέομαι (or a 'regular' verb like λύω); it's an athematic verb like τίθημι, δίδωμι, or ἵημι, but deponent. So, the circumflex isn't showing contraction as it is in θεῶμαι and ἡγοῦμαι; it's used simply because the accent is on the penult, the penult is a long syllable, and the ultima is short, per the regular rules for accent.

  • Thanks. That makes perfect sense. What threw me off was "κεῖμαι (Contracted)" shown in the Wiktionary page (kindly follow the link for κεῖμαι at the top of the question). Is that simply an error?
    – Catomic
    Jul 16, 2017 at 9:21
  • 1
    @Catomic Looks like it.
    – Draconis
    Jul 16, 2017 at 16:45
  • @Catomic. I'm not sure what the wiktionary page is basing that claim on. Perhaps it simply means that the ει in the verb's root itself is the result of earlier contraction. I don't know whether that's the case, though. Perhaps someone else can weigh in on this.
    – cnread
    Jul 16, 2017 at 19:26
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    @Catomic you may want to check out the lexical tools at the Perseus Project: perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/… (Wiki is convenient and often useful, but not entirely reliable. By contrast, Perseus gives you access to multiple lexicons, which include various forms and usages.)
    – DukeZhou
    Jul 16, 2017 at 22:30

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