Vote #1 David Caune. Excellent and wide-ranging answer. David Caune’s answer to Why do we use number 5, in some Greek words: “You left me in 5 streets or in 5 winds”, “You are 5 (times?) orphan”, “5 t. beautiful”?
I’ll add some Greek-specific details.
Modern Greek uses a few numbers to mean “lots”; they include:
- 7 (Cats have 9 lives in English, but 7 lives in Greek)
- 14 (“have 14 eyes!” = be on the lookout)
- 40 (which it shares with Turkish: e.g. the town name Saranda Ekklisies/Kırklareli, see Nick Nicholas’ answer to How many placenames have been Turkicised in Turkey? with comments)
Why those numbers? Why not others? That’s a tough one, and clearly different cultures have different predilections (9 is big in English, but not Greek). But I suspect 5 and 7 being primes has something to do with it. (And 14 eyes are what 7 people have.)
Vote #1 David Caune.