Last modified on 23 December 2014, at 17:31


Ancient GreekEdit



Etymology 1Edit

From Proto-Indo-European *deh₂mos (people) (perhaps originally a feminine), from *deh₂- (to divide), whence also δαίομαι (daíomai). The original meaning was thus "part". Cognate to Old Irish dám (followers, crowd) and Old Welsh dauu.

Alternative formsEdit


δῆμος (dêmos) (genitive δήμου); m, second declension

  1. district, country, land
    • 800 BCE – 600 BCE, Homer, Iliad 5.710
      πὰρ δέ οἱ ἄλλοι ναῖον Βοιωτοὶ μάλα πίονα δῆμον ἔχοντες
      and hard by him dwelt other Boeotians having a land exceeding rich
    1. the inhabitants of a district or land
    • 800 BCE – 600 BCE, Homer, Iliad 3.50
      πατρί τε σῷ μέγα πῆμα πόληΐ τε παντί τε δήμῳ
      great pain upon your father, your city, and your people
  2. the common people
    • 460 BCE – 420 BCE, Herodotus, Histories 5.66
      ἑσσούμενος δὲ ὁ Κλεισθένης τὸν δῆμον προσεταιρίζεται
      Cleisthenes was getting the worst of it and took the common people into his party.
    1. (rare) commoner
  3. free citizens, sovereign people
    • 467 BCE, Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 1011
      δοκοῦντα καὶ δόξαντ᾽ ἀπαγγέλλειν με χρὴ δήμου προβούλοις τῆσδε Καδμείας πόλεως:
      It is my duty to announce the will and decrees of the council on behalf of the people of this our Cadmean city.
    1. popular government, democracy
      • 460 BCE – 420 BCE, Herodotus, Histories 3.82
        πάντων τῷ λόγῳ ἀρίστων ἐόντων, δήμου τε ἀρίστου καὶ ὀλιγαρχίης καὶ μουνάρχου
        all are at their best for the sake of argument, the best democracy and oligarchy and monarchy
    2. popular assembly
      • 380 BCE, Plato, The Republic 565.b
        ἀναγκάζονται δὴ οἶμαι ἀμύνεσθαι, λέγοντές τε ἐν τῷ δήμῳ καὶ πράττοντες ὅπῃ δύνανται
        [they] are compelled to defend themselves by speeches in the assembly and any action in their power
  4. township, commune; deme
    • 64 BCE – 24 CE, Strabo, Geography 9.1.16
      Ἐλευσῖνά τε εἰπὼν ἕνα τῶν ἑκατὸν ἑβδομήκοντα δήμων
      after speaking of Eleusis, one of the hundred and seventy demes
  5. name for a prostitute
  6. faction in a circus
Derived termsEdit
Related termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit


δῆμος (dêmos) (genitive δήμου); m, second declension

  1. yellow serradella, Ornithopus compressus