What might a Greek have called a modern battery? I think a good Latin word would be accumulator (cf. German), but don't know how well something corresponding would work in Greek (or what it would be). Battery seems to be some sort of military metaphor, which it would perhaps be too recherché to translate to Greek.

Please say why the coinage would be plausible in the ancient language.

1 Answer 1


Greeks still exist, and they say bataria (spelled μπαταρία) for an electric battery.

On a more technical/formal registry, the word for accumulator is συσσωρευτής, and another word for battery is συστοιχία. Both words are derivations from roots present in New Testament Greek and would have been easily parsed by any “ancient” Greek, just like an ancient Roman would have recognized the word accumulator without having the faintest clue about what is meant.

While συσσωρευτής is the exact etymological equivalent of accumulator, συστοιχία and battery have somewhat different origins. Battery comes from the old French word batterie, meaning “a set of metal implements meant to be put together to be used” (from artillery to kitchenware: my sources explain the relation with the verb battre, ”to beat”, in different ways and that discussion is off-topic here). Συστοιχία comes from the verb συστοιχέω, “to be tied together one after another”, just as power cells in a battery are: most probably, it was first used of batteries by someone who knew the French etymology.

  • συστοιχία sounds good. I suspect the etymology is similar to that of 'battery'.
    – Toothrot
    Feb 18, 2018 at 15:09
  • @Toothrot Edited the answer with some etymological notes.
    – Dario
    Feb 18, 2018 at 17:39
  • Doesn't it seem that συστοιχία was first used of batteries with the etymology of battery in mind?
    – Toothrot
    Feb 18, 2018 at 18:05
  • @Toothrot Yes, it definitely seems so. I’ve added a final remark to my answer.
    – Dario
    Feb 18, 2018 at 18:16
  • συστοιχια is ancient
    – Toothrot
    Feb 21, 2018 at 14:14

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