Picture of TImon Rossolimos
Help understand this common word Makari
by TImon Rossolimos - Thursday, 25 February 2016, 01:59 PM
  Today I came across a verb which doesn't follow the conventional conjugation of verbd.

It's μακαρι - I wish.

Can someone please explain the logic behind this word the etymology and if we can directly translate it from Greek to English?
Picture of Nick Savchenko
Re: Help understand this common word Makari
by Nick Savchenko - Thursday, 25 February 2016, 03:18 PM
  The Triandafilidis dictionary we discussed in the previous thread says that μακαρι is derived from Hellenistic "μακάριόν ἐστι" which means "it is blessed".

This word is not a verb form, it's an interjection and interjections in greek language are indeclinable.

Picture of Greg Brush
Re: Help understand this common word Makari
by Greg Brush - Thursday, 25 February 2016, 03:29 PM
  μακάρι is actually an exclamation (grammatically an interjection) and is often followed by να and a verbal phrase expressing a wish that the speaker hopes would have happened in the past or will happen now or in the future.

As to etymology, modern μακάρι is the descendant of the Hellenistic impersonal expression μακάριόν εστι - it is blessed, fortunate.

Greg Brush
Picture of TImon Rossolimos
Re: Help understand this common word Makari
by TImon Rossolimos - Friday, 26 February 2016, 03:33 AM
  Thank you for your in-depth and informative replies.

I am fifth generation from Ithaca and Kefalonia and I have this ongoing passion to learn Greek.

And please I hope you don't mind the question or two I have a week, as I'm learning the language alone with the help from a few websites, including this one.

Timon Rossolimos
Picture of Panagiotis Kosmas
Απάντηση: Help understand this common word Makari
by Panagiotis Kosmas - Thursday, 25 February 2016, 03:40 PM
  Hi guys!
Yes Nick and Greg have right!!
It's not a verb!
We use μακάρι with a verb to express hope!
Example: μακάρι να είσαι καλα ( I wish you are well)
Mακάρι να ήσουν εδώ ( I wish you was here) etc
But many times, especially in our oral speech, we say μακάρι as an injection or adverb, always to express wish or hope!!!

Picture of greg f
Re: Απάντηση: Help understand this common word Makari
by greg f - Friday, 26 February 2016, 09:23 AM
  It's worth pointing out that Jesus' famous "Beatitudes" from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1–12) are etymologically related to the Modern Greek μακάρι.

Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι,
ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


Also, I just realized: the Italian word "magari" must also come from the same place, though my dictionaries aren't showing me any etymologies..
Picture of greg f
Re: Απάντηση: Help understand this common word Makari
by greg f - Friday, 26 February 2016, 09:25 AM
  Ah yes, here it is:




From Greek μακάρι ‎(makári), which is derived from μακάριος ‎(makários).[1]

Picture of Arshak Davidian
Re: Απάντηση: Help understand this common word Makari
by Arshak Davidian - Friday, 26 February 2016, 06:44 PM
  Hi there!

Your discussion stirred my interest and I did some digging around to find yet another astounding similarity with my mother tongue Armenian. As I frequently say, Greek has a lot with Armenian besides common words and expressions, in what I call "the flow of linguistic thought". Even if sometimes the root of the word may be totally different in each language the logic of its use follows a similar pattern. This may be because we have been neighbours for millennia (there was a time there was no Turkey in-between) and actually lived intermixed (even quite a few Byzantine Emperors were actually Armenian) and borrowed from each other not just words but also sentence structure... Or it has yet more ancient roots as Armenians have emerged from the mixing of several Indo-Aryan tribes (Hittites, Hurrians, Armens etc) with some early Hellenic tribes (the Phrygians and the Moschi)...

Anyhow, I found Μακάρι and Μακάριος to correspond exactly to the Armenian Yernek (or Yerani) and Yeraneli [Arm. Երնեկ / Երանի and Երանելի].
Unfortunately, the exact meaning cannot be translated into English. Simply the "liguistic thought" is different. Probably "I wish" and "blessed" is the closest you can get but it still is not very exact.

Although Μακάρι (or Yernek) expresses a wish, it sounds like saying "I wish" with a sigh, rather like saying "I wish if it was..." or "if only". It implies that the wish is unattainable or at least difficult to achieve or even for something that is already past and could not be reversed... I can see only one parallel in the languages I know, Arabic يا ريت Ya reyt commonly used in slang.

Yeraneli in Armenian implies that it will stir the envy of people, they will wish to be in his place and I expect Μακάριος also has the same meaning. Yeraneli is sometimes used for the deceased like saying blessed be his memory but actually it does not have the exact meaning of blessing (we have other words for that). It is like saying the deceased or the late Mr someone etc... and in Greek they use the word Μακαρίτης in this meaning...

And finally, in Armenian we have Makar Մակար as a masculine name, which I think must be a borrowing from Greek (like the name of the Cypriot Archbishop who was also its first president).

Thanks a lot to all of you. Though I am not participating in the discussions most of the time (quite busy) but I do follow it and really enjoy.

Arshak Davidian

PS.- I just found this for Μακάριος. I think I was right. http://biblehub.com/greek/3107.htm

PS2.- Thanks greg f! Your Bible reference helped me a lot.
Picture of Panagiotis Kosmas
Απάντηση: Re: Απάντηση: Help understand this common word Makari
by Panagiotis Kosmas - Saturday, 27 February 2016, 02:01 AM
  Thanks a lot Arshak!!!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It is very interesting when you try to find similarities between different languages!
Indeed greek language has various similarities with other many languages!



Picture of florin constantin
Re: Απάντηση: Help understand this common word Makari
by florin constantin - Thursday, 28 April 2016, 06:52 AM
  We also have in romanian the word "MĂCÁR" derived from the very same "Makari" but with the meaning of "at least, at any rate"
Picture of greg f
Re: Απάντηση: Help understand this common word Makari
by greg f - Sunday, 1 May 2016, 11:06 AM
  As far as I can trace it, the root of μακάριος goes back to μάκαρ, blessed, happy, which is attested in Homer (Iliad 1.339, πρός τε θεῶν μακάρων πρός τε θνητῶν ἀνθρώπων).

The dictionaries I have access to don't seem to agree on its etymology, some see a relationship to μακρός, "long, tall, etc." I think the idea is "great, tall, high" Gods > "exalted, blessed, etc." But it would appear that Aristotle saw it as deriving from χαίρω, so go figure..


μάκαρ μάκαιρα, μάκαρ, ou μάκαρ pour les trois genres ; voc. μάκαρ, gén. μάκαρος

1 bienheureux (en parl. des dieux) ; (abs.) οἱ μάκαρες, les bienheureux, càd les dieux ; μάκαρες χθόνιοι ESCHL les dieux infernaux
2 (en parl. de pers.) riche, opulent
3 (en parl. des morts) Μακάρων νῆσοι ou Μακάρων νῆσος, les îles ou l’Île des Bienheureux, où vivent les âmes des héros

[R. Μακ, être grand ; cf. μακρός, μακεδνός, etc.]

Pape's Handwörterbuch der griechischen Sprache (1914)

μάκαρ, αρος, ὁ, auch ἡ, Eur. Bacch. 565, Ar. Av. 1722, wie Eubul. bei Ath. XV, 679 b; vgl. Mein. com. III p. 251; bei Sp. auch mit neutr., vgl. Lob. par. 208 (nach Arist. eth. 7, 11 von χαίρω, eigtl. »freudig«; Andere leiten es von μακρός ab, so daß eigtl. die Götter, die Hohen, so hießen), – selig, glückselig, eigtl. von den Göttern, die bei Hom. u. Hes. oft μάκαρες ϑεοί heißen, im Ggstz der Menschen, πρός τε ϑεῶν μακάρων πρός τε ϑνητῶν ἀνϑρώπων, Il. 1, 339, öfter; auch absolut, οἱ μάκαρες, die Seligen, die Götter, Od. 10, 299; Hes. O. 551 u. sonst im plur.; der sing. in Anreden an einzelne Götter, H. h. 7, 10. 21, 7; μάκαρες ἐν Ὀλύμπῳ, Pind. frg. 58, Κρονίδαι μάκαρες, P. 5, 118; so auch Tragg., wie Aesch. Prom. 96. 169 Ag. 1309; Soph. Phil. 398 u. sonst. – Uebertr. von Menschen, den höchsten Grad menschlicher Glückseligkeit bezeichnend, ὦ μάκαρ Ἀτρείδη, Il. 3, 182, neben ὀλβιόδαιμον, μακάρων δ' ἔξεσσι τοκήων, 24, 377; bes. wohlhabend, reich, ἀνδρὸς μάκαρος κατ' ἄρουραν, 11, 68, vgl. Od. 1, 217; superl., μακάρτατος ἔξοχον ἄλλων, 6, 158, vgl. 11, 483, wo er für den comp. steht; – Pind. ἄνδρες, P. 10, 46, μακάρων ἀγοραί, I. 7, 26; μάκαρι σὺν τύχᾳ, Ar. Av. 1722. – Bes. heißen aber so die Verstorbenen, die auch wir in höherer Beziehung die Seligen nennen, μάκαρες ϑνητοί, Hes. O. 143. Aber zunächst werden nicht alle Gestorbenen damit bezeichnet, denn auf den μακάρων νῆσοι, den Inseln der Seligen, die von den Alten an den Westrand der Erde in den Oceanus verlegt wurden, sind nur die im Kampf gefallenen Heroen, die Halbgötter des vierten Menschengeschlechtes, die dort ein sorgenloses Leben genießen. S. nom. pr. Bei Sp. aber wie in der Anth. wird es allgemeine Bezeichnung der Verstorbenen. S. auch μακάριος, μακαρίτης. – Compar. μακάρτερος u. superl. μακάρτατος, Od. 6, 158. 11, 483; ἄναξ ἀνάκτων, μακάρων μακάρτατε, Aesch. Suppl. 519.

Chantraine's Dictionnaire-Etymologique-Grec


Edward Wharton's Etyma Graeca: An Etymological Lexicon of Classical Greek

μάκαρ rich, μακρός long: Lat. macte macto honour, Zd. mac̨ita great, cf. μέγας μῆχος.

Finally, LSJ:

μάκαρ [v. infr.], ᾰρος, ὁ, also μάκαρς Alcm.10, 11; μάκαρ as fem., E.Hel.375, Ba.565, Ar.Av.1722, Eub.104 (all lyr.), Orac.ap.D.S.8 Fr.29, AP12.52 (Mel.), but usu. fem. μάκαιρα h.Ap.14, Alcm.37, Sapph.1.13, Pi.P.5.11, E.Alc.1003 (lyr.), etc.; Boeot. μάκηρα Corinn.Supp.1.15: with neut. Nouns in oblique cases, μακάρων ἐξ ἐτέων AP9.424 (duris); μακάρων τεκέων Nonn.D.21.263. [μᾰκᾱρ Archil.Supp.3.5, Sol.14, Hippon43, 117 W. Diph.126.6 (mock-Epic), elsewh. μᾰκᾰρ Il.3.182, etc.]:—blessed, happy, prop. epith. of the gods, as opp. mortal men, πρός τε θεῶν μ. πρός τε θνητῶν ἀνθρώπων Il.1.339: abs., μάκαρες the blessed ones, μακάρων μέγαν ὅρκον ὀμόσσαι Od.10.299, cf. Hes.Op.136, Sol.13.3, Pi.O.1.52, A.Supp.1019 (lyr.); μ. χθόνιοι Id.Ch.476 (lyr.); οὐράνιοι μ. E.HF758 (lyr.); μ. ὀλίζονες lesser gods, Call.Jov.72.—In this sense always in pl., exc. in addressing single gods, as h.Hom.8.16, Sapph.l.c., Corinn.l.c., S.Ph.400 (lyr.), etc.: freq. in Inscrr., μ. Παιάν IG14.1015; μάκαιρα, of Persephone, ib.12(5).229 (Paros).
II. of men, blest, fortunate, ὦ μάκαρ Ἀτρεΐδη Il.3.182, cf. 24.377, Thgn.1013, Pi.P.4.59, etc.; μάκαιρα Θήβα, ἑστία, etc., Id.I.7(6).1, P.5.11, etc.; esp. wealthy, ἀνδρὸς μάκαρος κατʼ ἄρουραν Il.11.68, cf. Od.1.217.
III. esp. μάκαρες, οἱ the blessed dead, μ. θνητοῖς καλέονται Hes.Op.141; μακάρων νῆσοι the Islands of the Blest, ib.171; of an oasis in the African desert, Hdt.3.26: sg., μ. νᾶσος Pi.O.2.71; ἀπιὼν εἰς μακάρων δή τινας εὐδαιμονίᾶ Pl.Phd.115d, cf. Grg.523b, R.519c, al.—This sense does not occur in Hom., and is the only usage found in Prose, μακάριος being the common form, in epitaphs, GVI795 (iii/iv A.D.).

Interestingly enough, there is also an adverbial use such as in Modern Greek:

μακάρι, would that .., Hsch. s.v. αἴθε, Suid. s.v. ὄφελες, cf. mod. Gk..

Etymology is so much fun.