The root word is charitoo [caritow], which means “to grace, favor.” On this much, it seems, all agree. All the common English translations of the word therefore, regardless of whether the translators are Catholic or Protestant, use some form of “grace” or “favor” in them.
The prefix on charitoo is ke, signifying that the word is in the perfect tense. This indicates a present state which is the result of a completed past action. The action which brought about the state in which Mary is, in other words, was completed before Gabriel’s greeting. Gabriel is viewing the finished results.
This tense seems difficult to render in English, especially with one word, as Gabriel uses. The translator does not only want to indicate that the past action is complete, but also that there is a continuing state as a result. Allowing for more than one word, an example of the tense in English might be “you are certified to teach.” “Are” indicates a present state, “certified” shows that the state is the result of a completed past action.
The suffix on charitoo, mene, makes this a passive participle. “Passive” means that the action is performed on the subject, in this case Mary, by another agent. The verb is “grace” and the implied subject is Mary. The passive usage means that “someone graced Mary,” rather than “Mary graced.” Most theologians would probably accept the assumption that the implied “someone” is God. “Participle,” in this case, means that the word has properties of both a verb and a noun. This makes sense in light of what has already been said about direct address. A direct address is a noun or pronoun, but “to grace” is a verb. Kecharitomene has verb and noun properties.