Verb (rhêma), Ancient Theories of
(2,148 words)


The term rhêma (verb), which is related to the act and result of saying, developed into a technical term of grammar. It was specialized as a designation of the basic unit of sentential predication, viz. the verb, and was characterized by a number of formal and semantic features (such as ‘tense’ and ‘voice’). Together with the noun, the rhêma was considered a fundamental part of speech throughout the later history of Western grammatical theory.

The original, non-technical meaning of rhêma, from its earliest attestations in the I…

Cite this page
Alfons Wouters and Pierre Swiggers, “Verb (rhêma), Ancient Theories of”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: First Last. Consulted online on 16 February 2019 <>
First published online: 2013

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