My question is whether 'category' and 'predicate' (and 'predicable') come from the same Greek word 'κατηγορία' in Aristotle. If so, predication is ontological by nature, in Aristotle, rather than linguistic or logical.

  • See plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-categories "Finally, some scholars have synthesized the linguistic and extra-linguistic interpretations by interpreting Aristotle as classifying linguistic predicates in so far as they are related to the world in semantically significant ways." The etymology is the same but there is still a distinction to be made between the ontology and linguistics.
    – Not_Here
    Apr 11, 2017 at 6:34
  • @Not_Here, thanks for the link. It would be nice if anybody could give me the Greek originals for those three words. So far, I have category = κατηγορία, predicables = κατηγορούμενα (according to Bochenski's Ancient Formal Logic). So predicable = ? and predicate = ?
    – sonny
    Apr 11, 2017 at 7:04
  • Maybe useful: M.Loux, Being, Categories, and Universal Reference in Aristolte, in Leila Haaparanta & Heikki Koskinen (editors), Categories of Being: Essays on Metaphysics and Logic (2012). Apr 11, 2017 at 8:29
  • Also useful specific parts of Christopher Shields (editor), The Oxford Handbook of Aristotle (2012). Apr 11, 2017 at 8:31
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    @MauroALLEGRANZA Hi. Your Aristotle Glossary link leads to wiki article on beth definability. Apr 11, 2017 at 22:05

2 Answers 2


I will add here the most common usages of the term κατηγορώ.

An accuser in a court is a κατήγορος.

A sentence is in general a κατηγόρημα applied via the verb to the subject.

"Socrates is sleeping" Socrates the subject is called that he is sleeping, his being is categorized "accused- called" with the accidental of sleep.

"Socrates is beautiful" Beautiful is called in Greek grammar κατηγορούμενο. (an adjective called on the subject)

The "κατηγορίες", genres, species, αυτό το φυτό ανήκει στην κατηγορία των οπωροφόρων, this plant belongs to the taxonomy (category) of orchards.

Ταξινομία means to puts something in its τάξη, i.e. order. Category means to have called something as different and distinguishable from others. To be able to call something on its own, to accuse it, means to differentiate it.

κατά + αγορεύω = "for this" "I talk in public" , plead

a. η απόδοση μομφής σε κάποιον, καταγγελία = complaint, denunciation

b. η ομάδα στην οποία ανήκει ένα είδος, το σύνολο ομοίων πραγμάτων ή ιδεών

ομάδα, τάξη, σύνολο/ group, taxis- order, aggregation, summation

  • your explanation has clarified a lot. Thanks.
    – sonny
    Apr 12, 2017 at 4:58
  • I reread your answer and compared what you said with the Aristotelian texts, it really makes a lot more sense to what the ancient Greeks were saying in the agora. Great stuff. Thanks.
    – sonny
    Apr 12, 2017 at 11:00
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    very interesting. sounds a lot like "claim", and a claim must be made by somebody.
    – user20153
    Apr 12, 2017 at 18:59

Etymologically, they are very similar. κατηγορία means, according to the OED:

accusation, assertion, predication, abstract noun < κατήγορος accuser

"Predicate" comes from pre- (before) + dicare (to say, assert).

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