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The copulative a (also a copulativum, a athroistikon) is the prefix ha- or a- expressing unity in Ancient Greek, derived from Proto-Indo-European *sm̥-, cognate to English same (see also Symbel).[1]

An example is a-delphos "brother", from *sm̥-gwelbhos literally "from the same womb" (compare Delphi).

In Proto-Greek, s at the beginning of a word became h by debuccalization and syllabic became a, giving ha-. The initial h was sometimes lost by psilosis.

Cognate forms in other languages preserve the s: for example, the Sanskrit prefix saṃ- in the name of the language, saṃ-s-kṛtā "put together". Less exact cognates include English same and some, and Latin simul "at the same time" and sīmilis "similar".[2][3]

Other words in Greek are related, including háma "at the same time", homós "same", and heís "one" (from *sem-s).[1][4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b ἀ-. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  2. ^ Harper, Douglas. "same". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  3. ^ "same". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) (subscription required)
  4. ^ ἅμα, ὁμός, εἷς in Liddell and Scott.