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Mounce Archive 4 — μυριάς (myriad): The Greek Word for "Gajillion"
Everyone needs a sabbatical once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from Koinonia blog until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some of our favorite and most popular posts for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.
A year ago Bill Mounce asked an intriguing question: What's a "myriad"?
Myriad is a rough translation for μυριάς. As in, "Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering...μυριάδες, μυριάδων." (Rev. 9:16)
In other words, a "gajillion!"
Continue reading Mounce's thoughts on this intriguing word that appears eight times in the New Testament and then come back and tell us how you'd translate μυριάς in your own words.
This is one of the more interesting words in Greek, partly because it is so hard to translate.
BDAG says μυριάς can mean, "a group/collective of 10,000, myriad," but it can also mean, "a very large number, not precisely defined, pl. myriads."
It is this second meaning that is most interesting. Basically, it means a "gajillion." Or perhaps a "bajillion." What slang do you use? A gajillion means lots and lots and lots, with no specific number in view.
William D. [Bill] Mounce posts about the Greek language, exegesis, and related topics at Koinonia. He is the author of numerous works including the recent Basics of Biblical Greek Video Lectures and the bestselling Basics of Biblical Greek. He is the general editor of Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament Words. He served as the New Testament chair of the English Standard Version Bible translation, and is currently on the Committee for Bible Translation for the NIV.
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