Lesson 16: Adjectives/Groups I - II


220. An adjective is a word that is subject to inflection in three genders, as well as in all cases and both numbers. An adjective may thus be made to agree with any term it qualifies in gender, number and case. Nouns, on the other hand, are inflected in only one gender (although some nouns fluctuate in gender).

All adjectives are declined in conformity with patterns already observed in nouns. A combination of patterns is employed in some instances in effecting a distinction between the masculine and feminine forms. The masculine and feminine forms are identical in other instances. There is always a distinctive pattern for the neuter. Adjectives are grouped according to the pattern or combination of patterns utilized in elaborating the declension:

  I. Second Declension: masculine and feminine identical
 II. Second and First Declensions: masculine and neuter second declension; feminine first declension
  1. Three endings
  2. Three endings, but contracted
III. Third and First Declensions: masculine and neuter third declension; feminine first declension
  1. Stems in -αντ- (πᾶς is the only example)
  2. Stems in υ/ε
 IV. Third Declension: masculine and feminine identical
  1. Stems in -εσ-
  2. Stems in -ον- (including comparatives)
  V. Mixed Patterns
I. Adjectives of the Second Declension

221. Many adjectives in this group are compounds (many with α-privative [negative prefix; cf. a-theist]). The number found in Bauer is large, but there are few of high frequency (for a catalogue of those appearing in the New Testament ten times or more see Appendix II) .

The masculine and feminine forms are identical (therefore adjectives of two endings) . The masculine-feminine is declined precisely like masculine and feminine nouns in -ος (II.1 and II. 2); the neuter like neuter nouns in -ον (II. 3). For this reason they are called second declension adjectives.

                  αἰώνιος, αἰώνιον eternal  
  M-F   N           
N αἰώνιος   αἰώνιον
G αἰωνίου   αἰωνίου
D αἰωνίῳ   αἰωνίῳ
A αἰώνιον   αἰώνιον
  M-F   N
N αἰώνιοι   αἰώνια
G αἰωνίων   αἰωνίων
D αἰωνίοις   αἰωνίοις
A αἰωνίους   αἰώνια

2210. Mnemonic hints:

2210.1 The middle cases (gen., dat., respectively) of each number are identical in all three genders (like the article) .

2210.2 The neuter nom. and acc. of each number are identical (like the article); the masc. acc. sing, is identical with the neut. nom. and acc. sing, (unlike the article, but like second declension nouns: §1360.6).

↓ 2211. Some adjectives in this group fluctuate between two (group I) and three endings (group II. 1): αἰώνιος, (-ια), -ον; ἑδραιος, (-αία) -ον; ἕτοιμος, (-η,) -ον; οἰκεῖος, (-α) -ον; κόσμιος, (-α,) -ον; παρόμοιος, (-α,) -ον; πτερωτός, (-η,) -ον; πτηνός, (-η,) -ον; σκυθρωπός, (-η,) -όν; ὑπερῷος, (-α,) -ον; ὑποχθόνιος, (-α,) -ον. B1-D §59.

222. Any adjective may be used as a 'substantive,' i.e. utilized in the same structures in which a noun is used. ἔρημος, -ον and περίχωρος, -ον are predominantly so used: ἡ ἔρημος wilderness; ἡ περίχωρος neighborhood (γῆ may be 'understood': the wilderness land; the surrounding territory; see Bl-D §241 for other examples).

II. Adjectives of the Second-First Declensions

223. Adjectives in this group have three endings: masc. and neuter follow the second declension, the fem. follows the first (nouns of class I.I). The masc. and neut. will therefore be identical with adjectives of group I, but there will be a separate fem. form. The fem. sg. form has α after ε, ι, ρ, elsewhere η (the α/η shift is not involved: §132.2, class 1.2).

Adjectives in group II.1 do not contract, those in II.2 do. A number of adjectives in II.1 are of high frequency; those in II.2 are rare.

224. Adjectives of group II.1.

                  ἀγαθός, ἀγαθή, ἀγαθόν  
  M F N
N ἀγαθός ἀγαθή ἀγαθόν
G ἀγαθοῦ ἀγαθῆς ἀγαθοῦ
D ἀγαθῷ ἀγαθῇ ἀγαθῷ
A ἀγαθόν ἀγαθήν ἀγαθόν
  M F N
N ἀγαθοί ἀγαθαί ἀγαθά
G ἀγαθῶν ἀγαθῶν ἀγαθῶν
D ἀγαθοῖς ἀγαθαῖς ἀγαθοῖς
A ἀγαθούς ἀγαθάς ἀγαθά

ἅγιος, ἁγία, ἅγιον holy is declined precisely like ἀγαθός except that it has α in the fem. sing, rather than η.

2240. Mnemonic hints:

2240.1 The inflection of the article, ὁ, ἡ, τό (§121), may serve as the immediate model for adjectives of class II.1, with the modifications for second declension nouns noted in §1210 (masc. nom. sing, -ος instead of ὁ; neut. nom. and acc. sing, -ον instead of -ο).

2240.2 Whether α or η occurs in the sing, forms is a matter of indifference so far as identification is concerned (§§131.3, 132.2).

2240.3 For the masc. and neut. hints 1. and 2. in §2210 are applicable here also.

225. Adjectives of group II.2.

                                χρουσοῦς, χρουσῆ, χρουσοῦν golden
  M F N
N χρουσοῦς (< εος) χρυσῆ χρυσοῦν (< εον)           
G χρυσοῦ χρυσῆς χρυσοῦ
D χρυσῷ χρυσῇ χρυσῷ
A χρυσοῦν (< εον) χρυσῆν χρυσοῦν (< εον)
  M F N
N χρυσοῖ χρυσαῖ χρυσᾶ
G χρυσῶν χρυσῶν χρυσῶν
D χρυσοῖς χρυσαῖς χρυσοῖς
A χρυσοῦς χρυσᾶς χρυσᾶ

2250. Notes:

2250.1 Except for accent only four forms (masc. and neut. nom. and acc. singulars) deviate from the pattern of adjectives in II.1; in each case the contraction is ε + ο = ου (§917.4).

2250.2 II.2 adjectives with stems in -ρε have α in the fem. sing. forms (following the rule for first declension nouns: α after ε, ι, ρ, §1321.1).

2250.3 Contract adjectives of this class are occasionally found in an uncontracted form (Bl-D §45).

A complete catalogue of II.2 adjectives appearing in Bauer will be found in Appendix II.

2251. A catalogue of adjectives of groups I and II that appear in John 8:12-59, 1 John 1:5-2:17, John 1:19-51 follows. Entries are arranged in the order of first appearance.

ἀληθινός, -ή, -όν true (Jn 8:16; 1 Jn 2:8)
μόνος, -η, -ον only, alone [cf. monograph] (Jn 8:16, 29; 1 Jn 2:2)
Ἰουδαῖος, -αία, -αῖον Jewish (Jn 8:22, 31, 48, 52, 57; Jn 1:19)
ἀρεστός, -ή, -όν pleasing (Jn 8:29)
ἐλεύθερος, -α, -ον free (Jn 8:33, 36) διάβολος, -ον slanderous [cf. diabolic] (Jn 8:44)
ἴδιος, -α, -ον one's own [cf. idiot] (Jn 8:44; Jn 1:41
ὅμοιος, -α, -ον like, similar [cf. homoeopathy] (Jn 8:55)
πιστός, -ή, -όν faithful (1 Jn 1:9)
δίκαιος, -α, -ον just, righteous (1 Jn 1:9, 2:1, 29)
ὅλος, -η, -ον whole (1 Jn 2:2)
ἀγαπητός, -ή, -όν beloved (I Jn 2:7)
καινός, -ή, -όν new (I Jn 2:7, 8)
παλαιός, -ά, -όν old [cf. palaeolithic] (1 Jn 2:7, 7)
πονηρός, -ά, -όν sick; evil (I Jn 2:13 14)
ἰσχυρός, -ά, -όν strong (1 Jn 2:14)
ἔρημος, -ον desolate (Jn 1:23)
μέσος, -η, -ον middle, in the middle (Jn 1:26)
ἄξιος, -α, -ον worthy [cf. axiology] (Jn 1:27)
πρῶτος, -α, -ον first [cf. prototype] (Jn 1:30, 41)
ἅγιος, -α, -ον holy [cf. hagiology] (Jn 1:33)
δέκατος, -η, -ον tenth [cf. decalogue] (Jn 1:39)
ἀγαθός, -ή, -όν good (Jn 1:46)