μῆκος + ἄνειν

Validation

Yes

Word-form

μηχανὴ

Transliteration (Word)

mēkhanē

English translation (word)

contrivance, crane

Transliteration (Etymon)

mēkos + anein

English translation (etymon)

length + to accomplish

Author

Plato

Century

4 BC

Source

Id.

Ref.

Cratylus 415a4-7

Ed.

Burnet, Platonis Opera, Oxford UP, 1903

Other translation(s)

Modern Greek: γιατί η λέξη μηχανή μου φαίνεται ενδείκτης του 'καταφέρνω κάτι σε μεγάλο βαθμό'· εφόσον το "μήκος" σημαίνει κατά κάποιον τρόπο 'πολύ', η λέξη μηχανή συναποτελείται από τις δύο λέξεις, το "καταφέρνω" (ἄνειν) και το "μήκος".

Comment

The word is analyzed as a compound mēkh- + -anē. The two elements are reduced to two words which have the same initial sounds. Plato himself underlines the approximate character of the semantic relationship ("about the same meaning as").

Modern etymology

Chantraine (1970, 700): Difficult to define.

Persistence in modern Greek

"Μηχανή" is still used in Modern Greek with the meanings: a) 'instrument', b) 'machine', c) 'motorbike', d) 'mechanism', e) 'trick'. It is also used as a second component in words such as "γραφομηχανή", "ραπτομηχανή", etc. (Triandafyllidis Dict. of MG).