Defile - Trench's New Testament Synonyms


molyno (G3435) Defile
miaino (G3392)
Although both of these words are translated as defile in the New Testament, they differ in their underlying imagery. Properly speaking, molynein means "to besmear" or "to besmirch," as with mud or filth. Miainein basically means "to stain" with color, not "to smear" with matter.
In a secondary and ethical sense, molyno and miaino have an equally dishonorable meaning. The "filthiness [molysmos,3436] of the flesh" (2 Cor. 7:1) is the same as the "pollutions [miasmata,3393] of the world" (2 Pet. 2:20). Both words are also used to refer to the defiling of women (cf. Gen. 34:5; Zech. 14:2). But this synonymy is only true when the terms are used figuratively or ethically. In classical Greek miainein is the word that is most frequently used to refer to the profaning or unhallowing of anything. On the one hand, however, when miainein is used literally, it may have a good sense, as in the English staining of glass or ivory. On the other hand, molynein's literal meaning is as negative as its figurative one.

Trench's New Testament Synonyms Topics