Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics

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Gnomic Aorist
(552 words)


The Greek gnomic aorist is a perfective past tense that is used to represent a generic fact, habitual truth, or habitual action.

A gnomic form (the initial g- is silent in English) is not a particular tense or aspect. Gnomic forms represent a generic fact, a general truth, or a habitual action, and may be found with a variety of different tenses and aspects, in proverbs such as A stitch in time saves nine, Boys will be boys, or Curiosity killed the cat. A major problem for translators is that different languages not only have different verbal syst…

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John Hewson, “Gnomic Aorist”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, General Editor: Georgios K. Giannakis. Consulted online on 02 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_SIM_00000465>
First published online: 2013

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