The ROOT (rather than stem) of oida is WEID/WOID/WID (W for Digamma). The
perfect stem might be designated differently by different authorities; I'd
say its WEIDE-, as it is from this that the participle, infinitive, pluper-
fect indicative, subjunctive and optative forms are derived. The perfect
indicative itself shows alternation of the O-grade in the sg. (oida), zero-
grade (idmen/ismen) in the plural. But as I noted yesterday, the aorist
is also built upon that zero-grade form: eidon < ewidon, and from the E-grade
there is that middle-voice form in the present, eidomai (seem, appear, look
like). From the same root also, I believe, is e-iskw (I deem to be like),
As for the sense of this root, it seems to me that rather than being "know" it
is really "see" (same as Latin videre), though related to English "wit" and
"wisdom" and German wissen. It has always seemed to me that the sense of the
perfect tense form, oida, is "I have a full mental vision." Maybe this is a
speculative reading of the Platonic words eidos (usually translated "form"
and idea (usually transliterated and rendered "idea") both being Plato's terms
for the transcendental object of mental vision.
If we're gonna speculate, I says, let's speculate BIG! But I don't really
think this is so far-fetched.
CARL W. CONRAD, C25001CC@WUVMD.BITNET OR C25001CC@WUVMD.WUSTL.EDU
Classics, Washington University, One Brookings Dr., St. Louis, MO 63130
Phone: (314) 935-4018