KAIROS is ‘propitious moment’. Hence, this noun of the Greek philosophy vocabulary expresses the notion of ‘right time’.

Ancient Greeks use two words for the notion of ‘time’: <chronos> (also spelled <khronos> or <chronus>) and <kairos>. Firstly, <chronos> refers to chronological or sequential time. Secondly, <kairos> means proper or opportune time for action. <Chronos> is quantitative while <kairos> has a qualitative, permanent nature.

The term <kairos> is widespread in Ancient Greece among the most relevant schools of thought. Especially the Sophist schools and those of their competitors, led by philosophers like Platon (Plato) a “follower” of Sokrates (Socrates).
<Kairos> is part of the Sophistic scheme of rhetoric together with the notions of <prepon> and <dynaton>. These two words combined with <kairos> are their tools to successful rhetoric. <Prepon> expresses the idea that what is said must conform to both ‘audience’ and ‘occasion’. <Dynaton> expresses the idea of the ‘possible’, or what the speaker is attempting to convince the audience of.

Sokratiko Logo

<Kairos> is ‘propitious moment’. In his etymological work of 1951, Richard Broxton Onians traces the root of the word back to ‘archery’ and ‘weaving’. In archery, <kairos> indicates the moment in which an arrow may be fired with enough force to penetrate a target. In weaving, <kairos> is the moment in which the shuttle passes through threads on the loom. Moreover, in his Kaironomia of 1983 Eric Charles White articulates on the same concept. He describes it as,“long, tunnel-like aperture through which the archer’s arrow has to pass” and “when the weaver must draw the yarn through a gap that momentarily opens in the warp of the cloth being woven”. These instances clearly refer to a precise choice of time which is important in order to achieve a result.