For KATABOLH, BDAG Greek-English Lexicon has:
(1) "the act of laying someth[ing] down, with implication of providing a base for someth[ing], foundation" and
(2) "a [technical term] for the sowing of seed, used of begetting" (page 515).
Therefore, I'd say that KATABOLH potentially means "foundation" or in certain contexts may have that "meaning" or sense.
But a friend stated:
"I know from experience that if we consult a lexicon, it is simply asking the writer of that lexicon his/her opinion of a word meaning. This is why a concordance is always safer than a lexicon."
I'm not sure that I agree with this assessment. BDAG, Louw-Nida, Abbott-Smith or LSJ, IMO, do more than give opinions on word meanings. BDAG is the product of rigorous lexicography; Danker (and others before him) has examined a number of texts and contexts. Ergo, though BDAG is far from being infallbile, I would not just want to chalk up Danker's lexical judgments to personal opinion. On the other hand, I'm not too trusting of concordances when it comes to lexical semantics.
My friend continues:
"For example, here is the word KATABOLE found in Heb 11:11 from the NWT: 'By faith also Sarah herself received power to CONCEIVE seed...' Why not say that she FOUNDATIONED seed...? The word here clearly 'means' something else. In fact, Sarah was 'casting down', or discharging seed from her ovaries... The very elements of KATABOLE: 'Down Casting.'"
You seem to be relying on etymology or diachrony; a more reliable approach, linguists have shown, is synchrony or how a word is used at a particular time in a particular literary context (i.e., cotext). I have no problems with the NWT rendering of Heb 11:11: it is an acceptable and good way to translate this passage. But the reason we don't say that she "foundationed" seed is because of sense issues vis-a`-vis the target language and because of contexual considerations. Moreover, as [Marcus] has already stated, etymology is often not a reliable guide when it comes to establishing the meaning of a word. BDAG shows that KATABOLH is elsewhere employed with TOU SPERMATOS to mean "the sowing of seed."
"A word has one basic meaning, even tho' we can use 'variants' at times. Usage is another thing. But the basic meaning of a word must be present in its contexts.
Do words have "basic meanings"? What is the basic meaning of LOGOS or PARQENOS? How about PAIS? One more we might add to the list is PAQOS.
For the record, I'm not in total disagreement with you. I just tend to believe that words have "potential meanings" or senses (Sinnen); contexts determines which sense is being communicated by the author.