Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The New Testament Greek word: αιξ

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/a/a-i-x.html


Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary


The noun αιξ (aix) means goat, and usually refers to a she-goat, and as such is the companion of τραγος (tragos), billy goat (see below). Our noun αιξ (aix), goat, stems from the Proto-Indo-European root "heyg- (1)", meaning goat. An identical root "heyg- (2)" means oak (our English word oak comes from this root). In Hebrew occurs something very similar: the root אלל ('alal) generally describes a leading, protruding or sticking out, with noun איל ('ayil) describing a protruding ram (Genesis 22:13) or deer (Psalm 42:1), and אלה ('alla) meaning oak. Our noun αιξ (aix) does not occur in the New Testament, but from it derives:

  • The adjective αιγειος (aigeios), meaning of goat (Hebrews 11:37 only). The non-Biblical name Αιγευς (Aigeus), or Aegeus, means goat man, or perhaps rather: man of protrusion, leading man. Aegeus was the mythological liberator of Athens — the city named for the Virgin; see παρθενος, parthenos — and his son, Theseus, killed the Minotaur and founded the celebrated Athenian institutions that would ultimately evolve into the world's first democracy. Aegeus gave his name to the Aegean Sea, which probably does not mean Sea of the Goat Guy but rather something like Sea of Progress. Also note the proximity of our adjective αιγειος (aigeios), of goat, and the name Αιγυπτος (Aiguptos), meaning Egypt.

The noun εριφος (eriphos) means kid or young goat. It's unclear from which PIE root it stems (probably something like "her-") but appears to share it with the familiar Latin noun aries, meaning ram, which went on to become a verb meaning, well, to ram (to butt violently). Whether these words' PIE root meant the same isn't clear, but by the rise of Koine Greek, it seems that the association was well in place.

Our noun εριφος (eriphos) occurs in Matthew 25:32 and Luke 15:29 only — significantly, the first reference speaks of the Son of Man's separating the εριφοι (eriphoi) from the προβατα (probata), which is not a case of God's preferring one species over the other, but rather of extracting mature forward-steppers from immature head-butters, progressive negotiators and team builders from bellicose debaters and arguers.

From our noun εριφος (eriphos), kid, comes:

  • The noun εριφιον (eriphion), which is a diminutive of the previous, very young goat, or very immature head-butter (Matthew 25:33 only).

The noun ερις (eris) means strife, contention or quarrel. This noun was also the name Eris, which belonged to the goddess of strife and discord, Discordia in Latin. Her counterpart was Harmonia, from αρμος (harmos), a joint, from the verb αρω (aro), meaning to fit together.

Our noun ερις (eris) is thought to derive from the PIE root "her-", to separate, and may even relate to the previous, and thus mean: to act like a young goat. An unused but identical noun ερις (eris) means wool-worker, and stems from the noun ερος (eros), wool (see εριον, erion, below). A third identical noun is a variant of ιρις (iris), iris.

Note that the Hebrew word for evil, namely רע (ra') comes from the verb רעע (ra'a') to be broken. Our noun ερις (eris), strife or contention, is used 9 times, see full concordance, and from it derives:

  • The verb εριζω (erizo), meaning to contend or quarrel, to act like a head-butting young goat (Matthew 12:19 only).

The noun εριον (erion) refers to any kind of processed wool (that is: removed from its origin, cleaned and spun), a thing made from wool, or a substance resembling wool like pinna byssus (a silky fabric from a kind of mollusk) or cotton (called "wool from wood"), or a thing resembling anything made from produced threads (like a spider's web). Our noun occurs in the New Testament in Hebrews 9:19 and Revelation 1:14 only. It stems from ερος (eros), fluffs of unprocessed wool, which in turn is a hub of a vast network of associations:

The noun ερος (eros), wool, is an alternative spelling of ειρος (eiros), wool, which etymologically relates to αρην (aren), lamb, and associatively to ειρω (eiro), to ask (which in Koine became ερωταω, erotao, to ask); hence also the noun ειρων (eiron), meaning one who feigns ignorance, hence our English word irony (which has nothing to do with the word iron).

Our noun meaning wool is also spelled identical to ερος (eros), sexual desire (unused in the New Testament), also known as ερως (eros). The noun we mentioned earlier, ιρις (iris), iris, has an alternative spelling that is identical to the noun ερις (eris), see above, and appears to commemorate the various colors irises appear in, which in turn demonstrates the different kinds of minds behind them. This word ιρις (iris), however, stems from a PIE root "wehi-", meaning to twist, plait or weave. As we observe in our article on the verb αρνεομαι (arneomai; see the noun αρην, aren, lamb, mentioned above), which means to artificially select (to breed a domestic race): "Weaving allowed people to display patterns and thus symbols", which means that mankind's first step to modernity was accompanied by individuals expressing their own identity and leanings by means of their artistically decorated clothing.

Joseph's varicolored robe (ιματιον, imation, robe), Noah's rainbow, the mixed languages of Babel, the various functions within the Body of Christ (Romans 12:4-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; see our article on Stephen), are all variations on the same literary theme: how a single entity becomes shattered into many shards, only to bring about a deeper kind of unity when the shards rediscover each other and the unity they once sprang from (see Hebrews 1:1).


The noun τραγος (tragos) means billy goat: the male goat, the husband of the αιξ (aix), she-goat, see above. This noun is used 4 times; see full concordance. It stems from the verb τραγω (trago), to eat, and relates to the Latin tero, to rub or wear away (hence the English trite) or to turn (hence the German drehen).

Most spectacularly is the combination with the noun αοιδος (aoidos), singer, from the noun ωδη (ode), song, which forms the familiar noun τραγωδια (tragodia), tragedy, literally: Ode To Goat, or goat-singing (or: men singing of goats; hence also the cleverly titled work The Men Who Stare at Goats, book: 2004, film: 2009). But note that if the performer of a tragedy is associated to the male goat, the audience would be the same as an αιξ (aix), or she-goat: the kind of person who thrives on tales of woe and misfortune.

The name Judah, and thus Jew, means Praiser: the Jews are the Party People, who eternally enlivened the world by having the weekly day off and three annual week-long feast embedded in their national constitution. The justly celebrated Rabbi Sacks once famously observed that Hebrew has no word for tragedy, and further declared that "Judaism is the principled rejection of tragedy". In other words: Judaism is the principled Ode To Joy and the principled rejection of Ode To Goat.

All this is rather spectacular also since the mountain of Edom (a competitor of Israel, descending from Jacob's hairy brother Esau; hence: "Jacob I loved but Esau I hated", Malachi 1:2-3) is called Seir, which is spelled the same as שעיר (sa'ir), meaning both hairy and billy goat (its feminine counterpart, שעירה, sa'ira, means she-goat).

These words in turn derive from the verb שער (sa'ar), meaning to be very afraid; noun שער (sa'r), means horror. The Hebrew word for sheep is the same as the name Rachel, the most beloved wife of Jacob. The Greek word for sheep comes from the verb προβαινω (probaino), to step ahead, to make progress. That makes Ode To Sheep an Ode To Progress, and Ode To Goat and Ode To Adversity. And it also means that Judaism is rather the principled rejection of fear and any progress from fear (Genesis 15:1; also see our article on λυπη, lupe, sorrow, hence lupus, wolf, and χοιρος, choiros, pig).

The name Seir is on an obvious par with the name Aegeus, we mention above. Both literally mean Goat Man, but in effect, Seir means Man of Horrors and Aegeus means People of Tragedy, and both are not incomparable with the familiar term איש מכאבות ('ish makabota), Man of Sorrows, as mentioned in Isaiah 53:3, which is turn is not unlike the name Achaicus, meaning Man of Grief.

All this seems to suggest that until mankind realizes how much joy comes from deliberately seeking the Logos and finding things out (and obviously from the subsequent science that heals the sick and the technology that makes life so much more pleasant), mankind is driven to progress solely by misery.