Genitive: totality as adjective complement


The genitive signals a part-totality relationship as a complement with adjectives, numerals and indefinite pronouns.

Lexical usage

With adjectives of:

  • partaking: μέτοχος ‘partaking’;
  • touching or desiring: δύσερως ‘in love’;
  • remembering: ἀμελής ‘careless’, ἐπιλήσμων ‘forgetful’, μνήμων 'remembering’;
  • perception: compounds of -ήκοος (e.g. κατήκοος ‘obedient’, συνήκοος ‘hearing together’);
  • ability or suitability: ἱκανός ‘suitable’, δυνατός ‘capable’, οἷός τ’ (εἰμί) ‘(I am) capable’, compounds in -ικός of active verbs (διδασκαλικός ‘capable of teaching’, πρᾱκτικός ‘capable of doing’).

Syntactic behaviour

The genitive of totality is also used with the superlatives of adjectives. In poetry this partitive use of the genitive is extended to the positive degree of comparison.
In tragedy an adjective can be strengthened by adding the same word in the genitive (of totality) (e.g. ἄρρητ’ ἀρρήτων ‘unutterable deeds’).

Example Sentences: 

τίς ὅντιν’ ἁ θεσπιέπεια Δελφὶς εἶπε πέτρα | ἄρρητ’ ἀρρήτων τελέσαντα φοινίαισι χερσίν;

Wie is degene over wie de orakelende steen van Delphi zei, dat hij onuitsprekelijke, onuitspreekbare daden gepleegd heeft met zijn bebloede handen?

ἐγὼ μὲν πρῶτος ὑμῶν ἔσομαι εὐθέως, ὑμεῖς δὲ τῶν ἄλλων ὕστατοι

Ik zal al gauw de eerste onder jullie zijn, jullie, de laagsten onder de anderen.