Koine Greek/5. Declining 1st and 2nd Declension Nouns

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Grammar[edit]

Second Declension[edit]

Second declension nouns and adjectives end in -ο, and their declination follows the pattern given below. To decline a second-declension noun, we take the ending in the table and add it to the stem (which always ends in -ο). If a vowel is underlined, then we replace the ο in the stem with that vowel.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative ς ι
Genitive υ ων
Dative ις
Accusative ν υσ
Vocative ε ι

When we give a noun, we typically give the singular nominative form of the noun, as well as the ending for the singular genitive case.

Example: Here is the declension chart for the noun κύριος, -υ, which means "lord"

Case Singular Plural
Nominative κύριος κύριοι
Genitive κύριου κύριων
Dative κύριῳ κύριοις
Accusative κύριον κύριους
Vocative κύριε κύριοι

Here is the declension chart for second declension neuter nouns:

Case Singular Plural
Nominative ν α
Genitive υ ων
Dative ις
Accusative ν α
Vocative ν α

Example: Here is the declension chart for the noun τέκνον, -υ, which means "child".

Case Singular Plural
Nominative τέκνον τέκνα
Genitive τέκνου τέκνων
Dative τέκνῳ τέκνοι
Accusative τέκνον τέκνα
Vocative τέκνον τέκνα

Most second declension nouns are either masculine or neuter, although there are feminine second declension nouns as well.

First Declension[edit]

First declension nouns end with α or η, and are typically feminine (although there are masculine ones as well). They fall under two slightly different patterns that differ only in the singular genitive and dative.

Pattern 1 (at *, we add an ι-improper diaphtong to the vowel: α -> ᾳ, η -> ῃ)

Case Singular Plural
Nominative - αι
Genitive ς ων
Dative * αις
Accusative ν ας
Vocative - αι

Example: καρδία, -ας (Heart)

Case Singular Plural
Nominative καρδία καρδίαι
Genitive καρδίας καρδίων
Dative καρδίᾳ καρδίαις
Accusative καρδίαν καρδίας
Vocative καρδία καρδία

Example: φωνή, -ής (Voice)

Case Singular Plural
Nominative φωνή φωναί
Genitive φωνήσ φωνών
Dative φωνῄ φωναίς
Accusative φωνήν φωνάς
Vocative φωνή φωνά

Pattern 2: Virtually identical, except we change α to η in the singular genitive and dative cases.

Case Singular Plural
Nominative - αι
Genitive ης ων
Dative αις
Accusative ν ας
Vocative - αι

Example: δόξα, -ης (Glory)

Case Singular Plural
Nominative δόξα δόξαι
Genitive δόξης δόξων
Dative δόξῃ δόξαις
Accusative δόξαν δόξας
Vocative δόξα δόξα


Grand patterns[edit]

  1. The genitive plural of all declensions in Greek (all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verb participles, basically anything that can decline) end in ων.
  2. The accusative and nominative of all neuter declensions in Greek are the same.
  3. In all declensions, the dative case contains an ι, perhaps as an improper diaphtong.


Vocabulary[edit]

Second Declension Masculine[edit]

  • ἄγγελος, -ου: angel, messenger
  • ἀδελφός, -ου: brother (Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love)
  • ἄνθρωπος, -ου: man (anthropology, the study of humankind)
  • θεός, -ου: god (theology, the study of the divine)
  • κόσμος, -ου: world (cosmology, the study of the universe; cosmopolitan, worldy)
  • κύριος, -ου: lord (kyrie eleison, "Lord have mercy", the beginning of the Mass)
  • λόγος, -ου: that which is said, or thought. Translated as word, but has deep meanings in philosophy (-logy, the study of -; logic)
  • νόμος, -ου: law (astronomy, the law of the stars)
  • οὐρανός, -ου: heaven (Uranus, the Greek god of the sky)
  • υἱός, -ου: son
  • ἀπόστολος, -ου: apostle, literally, one that is sent
  • διδάσκαλος, -ου: teacher (didactic, intending to teach)

Second Declension Neuter[edit]

  • ἔργον, -ου: work, deed (en'ergy, in work)
  • ἱερόν, -οῦ: temple (hierarchy, from ranking of angles, which derives from rule of the high priest)
  • πρόσωπον, -ου: face
  • τέκνον, -ου: child

First Declension Feminine[edit]

  • ἀλήθεια, -ας: truth
  • ἁμαρτία, -ας: sin
  • βασιλεία, -ας: kingdom (basilica)
  • ἡμέρα, -ας: day (ephemeral)
  • καρδία, -ας: heart (cardio-)
  • χαρά, -ας: grace (charity)
  • γλῶσσα, -ης: tongue (glossary, polyglot)
  • δόξα, -ης: glory (doxalogy)
  • θάλασσα, -ης: sea (thalassic)
  • ἀγάπη, -ης: love
  • γῆ, -ῆς: earth, land, soil (geology)
  • ζωή, -ῆς: life (zoology)
  • φωνή, -ῆς: sound, voice (telephone)
  • ψυχή, -ῆς: soul (psychology)