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Question to speakers of Ancient/Modern Greek


I encountered the pseudo-greek neologism 'ptynami'. When transcribed into Greek letters as 'πτύναμη', Google translates it to fast in English.

However, I was not able to find any other mentioning of this word in Greek dictionaries and word lists, so I wonder if this really has any meaning in Greek or is just complete gibberish. Also I wonder where Google translate found this translation if it is not in any other dictionaries?

If somebody knows something about this, please let me know.

PS: I have already found out that płynami means 'liquids' in Polish, but that does not help too much.

October 28, 2017


  • 491

ok - from my limited research on the word ptynami - it is not word that is a Greek word, as used by Greeks in modern language.

It seems to be a word used by a process/company concerned with the scientific world concerning something to do with an X-ray machine, and some new technology concerning improving images.

i.e. "PtyNAMi: Ptychographic Nano-Analytical Microscope at PETRA III: interferometrically tracking positions for 3D x-ray scanning microscopy using a ball-lens retroreflector"

So translating it into psydo greek text is not going to assist you, I would be suggesting.

And do not get me started on the value and flaws of Google Translate.
Yes - it is also a tool that I use. However, as with many things on the internet, I cross check my information as much as I can, from more reliable sources. As also I see that you have done, not surprisingly.

Though Google Translate continues to learn and develop. It is not a tool to rely on when you need to really understand something, or that you need to get a true and accurate translation to something.

As always, I hope others will correct me on anything I have got wrong, or that I do not understand the detail I would like to know.

This community here continues to amaze me and astound me with the depth of knowledge it has, and also the kind and supportive way that it assists.


So you have found the source where I encountered this word - as you can see in the title of the paper you cited it is actually an acronym which I did not expect to have any meaning at all, so I was surprised by the Google translate result. As RosieStrawberry has pointed out, my transcription was actually not correct, but for the correct one Google translate just gives another random, unverified translation.

As a last straw, I remembered that Google sometimes assumes something was typed on a different keyboard layout. I saw Russians typing into Google as if they were using a Cyrillic keyboard while they typed on a US layout, Google still recognizes the Russian language. But the letters on the Greek layout align perfectly, so no different result is obtained.

I thank you all for your help and will give 5 lingots to each of you.

Just a short explanation about the device which has that name: It is indeed an x-ray microscope located at the PETRA III synchrotron radiation source (a kind of particle accelerator) in Hamburg, Germany. It uses a technique called Ptychography to look at nanoparticles and other very small stuff. Ptychography itself has a very interesting etymology as it is of German-Greek origin. In German, both folding a garment and the mathematical operation convolution is called Faltung. The theory behind this microscopy technique is connected to this mathematical operation, so the German inventor of Ptychography used the greek ptyche (=fold) to form a new word in the style of Holography and Tomography. This was in the late 60s, so maybe physicists still had an education in Ancient Greek back then.


Full text of "A history of shipwrecks, and disasters at sea [by C ... I found this name on a ship wreck in 1833 and it seems to be a place name.https://www.google.gr/search?q=Ptinami,+shipwreck+1833=lnms=X=0ahUKEwjrzvThgpPXAhVJK1AKHcW5AfoQ_AUICSgA=1348=610=1


I was able to find the passage in the full text, but it is an OCR error. Reading the scanned version it is clear that the word in the book is actually Panama.


Actually I found several other OCR mistakes like that, some in old Latin legal texts, some in American newspapers.


Yes, that's not surprising since it's a newspaper from 1833 and is filled with typos.


I think it means absolutely nothing (not in literal sense :) ), but why do you need it? Maybe it helps if I have a little context.

BTW, 'ptynami' translated to Greek letters should be 'πτυναμι', with a iota in the end, not an èta. But it doesn't make any difference because I still can't find it in my (old Greek) dictionary...

ΕDIT: for 'πτυναμι' Google translate does give a translation: 'plumbing'. Hope that helps.


Thanks for the correct transcription. But now I have another google translation result that is not backuped by any dictionary.


I've also done some research and agree with lindakanga. Not only have I never heard this word (ok no one knows all the words in a language) but checking out my favorite site Lexilogos which contains 7 dictionaries brought up no responses. Not even Google translate had it. So, the word seems to be used in certain scientific fields but is not a Greek word per se.


PtyNAMi is an acronym and it means "ptychographic nano-analytical microscope". You do Bragg plane reflections with a synchrotron? In Hamburg?

The word πτυναμις does ring a bell, but I can't currently find my old classic-Greek dictionary. Which is just now starting to bother me.


No, thanks required. We're all word nerds around here and any new word gets us hunting for the meaning, etymology etc. I actually just found "Ptychography" on google thanks for the heads up.

Thanks for the lingots

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