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What is the definition of the Greek word γενεά (genea)? I have heard that it means "nation", and that it means "generation." I am wondering because I was looking at this list. It says that the work is generation, but I still would like further information. I also look at the definition of genea in the NT Greek lexicon.

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Some quick research seems to strongly indicate it can only be rightly interpreted as meaning "the sum total of all living at some point in time", not "nation". But I am not a Greek scholar, so I am not game to answer this question. I googled "define greek genea". –  Software Monkey Aug 25 '11 at 7:37
    
Thanks, I've googled it too, but I wanted to hear what people had to say here. And, yes, my current belief is that it means "the sum total of all living at some point in time" –  daviesgeek Aug 27 '11 at 22:13
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Studies in early childhood learning show that punning and riddle are critical for developing the use and understanding of language precisely because words have more than one meaning. Children who can only comprehend one meaning are considered stunted in development. It is doubtful that there is only one right interpretation even if you were speaking in the same language. But since words in different languages include different subsets of meaning, when translating it is even more unlikely that there is a single 'right' meaning in English. –  Bob Jones Nov 16 '12 at 21:06
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Heck, even in precisely defined languages (as in software) you can still have multiple meanings by overrides. ;-) –  Bob Jones Nov 16 '12 at 21:07
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This was an early question and it is interesting, but I think it violates the principle that questions should spring from a Biblical text. I retagged it and the only tag that seems to fit is greek. It would be a better question if it compared several uses of the word rather than leaving it to the answerer which texts to examine. –  Jon Ericson Dec 4 '12 at 21:27
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1 Answer

According to Kittel's TDNT the root meaning of γενεά is 'birth', 'what is born', 'descendant'. How this root meaning is extended in common use to 'generation' seems to me to be taking the notion of 'a descendant' under a 'collective' rather than 'individual' sense. From this sense it is used as 'an age', either in times past, or the totality of those living as contemporaries.

We can see this root definition in other Greek words, such as *γενεα*λογία 'genealogical tree', or *γενεα*λογέω, 'one who gives an account of descent or draws up a genealogy', or ἀ*γενεα*λόητος, 'without descent'.

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I know this is an old question, but I thought I'd add in the link for the Liddell & Scott entry for γενεά in case (a) it was a help with the question, and (b) in case users of this site were unaware of this wonderful online resource. –  Davïd Jan 2 at 20:40
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