20 Everyday English Sayings and Idioms With Greek Origins - Greeker than the Greeks (2023)

20 Everyday English Sayings and Idioms With Greek Origins - Greeker than the Greeks (1)

It’s all Greek to me

We all use lots of phrases and sayings in our everyday conversations, right?

Probably, we have a vague understanding of their meaning but, have we ever stopped to think from where they originate?

As around 150.000 words of the English language are derived from ancient Greek, it should come as no surprise then, that many sayings and idioms, also have their roots in ancient Greek.

In fact, the word idiom itself, meaning a figure of speech, a phrase with figurative meaning, different from the literal meaning, comes from the Greek idiōma, meaning private property – peculiar phraseology, which comes from idiousthai, to make one’s own’, which in turn comes fromidios, meaning own – private.

The majority of English sayings with Greek origins, have emerged from ancient Greek myths and stories, here are twenty of the most used English sayings and phrases with a decidedly Greek touch.

1. Achilles Heel

20 Everyday English Sayings and Idioms With Greek Origins - Greeker than the Greeks (2)

Achilles Heel – Courtesy of Wikipedia

What is your Achilles Heel?

It’s your weak spot, we can blame Achilles, hero of the Trojan wars for this.

As a baby, Achilles’ mother, Thetis, dunked him in the River Styx, said to have the magical power of making people invulnerable, by holding him upside down by his heel.

Consequently, Achilles’ heel was the only part of his body to be kept dry and as it turns out, vulnerable, it was at this spot, according to Homer, in his work, The Iliad, a poison arrow, launched by Paris, one of the Trojans, hit Achilles, killing him instantly.

2. Herculean Task

20 Everyday English Sayings and Idioms With Greek Origins - Greeker than the Greeks (3)

The twelve labours of Hercules

Owing to the near impossible12 strenuous labours bestowed on Hercules, of Greek mythology fame, any task deemed difficult, needing strength, time, or extra brain power, may be referred to as a Herculean task.

Hercules, son of Zeus and his girlfriend of the day, Alcemene, had a curse put upon his head, by the jealous wife of Zeus, Hera.

This curse caused Hercules to murder his wife and children, as a punishment, the King of Greece, Eurystheus, set Hercules twelve, nigh impossible tasks.

3. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts, the Trojan Horse

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The Trojan Horse – David Johnson

‘Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes’ a Latin phrase from Aeneid written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, is the Trojan priest Laocoon’s warning, meaning beware of Greeks bearing gifts, used today as a warning to be careful about accepting gifts from enemies or opponents because you never know what maybe lurking inside.

The Trojans, fighting against the Greeks during the ten-year Trojan war (10-12 century BC), learnt, to their detriment, the dangers of accepting gifts from the Greeks.

The Greeks, who had besieged the city of Troy, pretended to retreat, leaving behind them, outside the gates of the city, a large wooden horse.

The Trojans, assuming they had won the war and thinking the horse a gift, brought it inside the city, but those wily Greeks had hidden soldiers inside the horse, who sneaked out in the night, and captured the city of Troy.

(Video) 20 Super Interesting English Idioms and Expressions with Country and Nationality Words

4. Sour Grapes

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The Fox and the Grapes – Illustration for Aesop’s fables

The phrase, sour grapes, is used by someone who didn’t manage to obtain something which they wanted badly, or who is jealous of something someone else has managed to acquire, or achieve, and there after speaks critically and unfavourably about it.

Sour grapes originates from Aesop’s fable, the ‘Fox and the Grapes’, in which a fox spies a juicy bunch of grapes hanging from a tree, try as he might though, he can’t reach those grapes, gives up and walks off declaring, ‘never mind, just as well, they would have been sour anyway’.

5. Between a rock and a hard place

Between a rock and hard place, means the dilemma of having to choose between two evils.

In Homer’s Odyssey, the hero, Odysseus, must pass between two sea monsters, Charybdis, a treacherous whirlpool, and Scylla, a six-headed monster, who reside on opposite sides of the strait of Messina.

Odysseus chose to pass by Scylla, the lesser of the two evils, thinking he would lose fewer men, than passing through Charybdis, the whirlpool.

6. Pandora’s Box

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Pandora’s Box

Don’t let curiosity get the better of you, don’t go there, don’t ask, don’t mess with things, leave them alone, don’t open that Pandora’s box, you don’t know what you might be letting yourself in for, there may be unpredictable consequences!

Pandora, the first mortal woman created by the gods was a woman who would wreak havoc on earth, the catastrophe of mankind, who, up until now had been living the life of gods, as immortals, innocents, knowing not of birth and death, evil and hardships.

Pandora was desperate to open a box, presented to her by Zeus, as a wedding present, but her husband, Epimetheus, having been told by Zeus, what it contained, forbid her to do so.

Pandora’s curiosity got the better of her and while Epimetheus slept, she opened the box, letting all the evils of the World fly out.

7. The Midas Touch

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The Midas Touch

When we say someone has ‘The Midas Touch’, we are referring to someone who has great success in financial dealings, someone who succeeds in anything in puts his hand to, whatever he touches, turns to gold.

The saying comes from the Greek myth about Midas, the greedy king of Phrygia, in Asia Minor, who was granted a wish by Dionysus, god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility,ritual madness and religious ecstasy.

Midas wished for everything he touched, to turn to gold, if only he had given more thought to his wish, literally, everything he touched, turned to solid gold, food, water, wine and most sadly of all, his precious daughter Zoe.

A true case of be careful what you wish for.

8. Leave no stone unturned

20 Everyday English Sayings and Idioms With Greek Origins - Greeker than the Greeks (9)

Leave no stone unturned

When searching for something you can’t find, to achieve something, make every effort, take every course of action; leave no stone unturned!

(Video) Learn English - Everyday Idioms #38. All Greek to Me

According to Greek history, a Persian general, Mardonius, during the Persian wars against Greece, when defeated, buried a large amount of treasure.

The victors, the Greeks, searched and searched but could not find the treasure and so, a certain Polycrates, as was done in those days, visited Pithia, the oracle at Delphi, who advised him to search again, and leave no stone unturned.

Pithia must have been good at her job, Polycrates searched again and reportedly found the treasure!

Another source of leave no stone unturned, is from ‘The Heraclidae’, children of Hercules, by ancient Greek playwright, Euripides, where King Eurystheus states, while searching for his enemies, whom also happen to be relatives;

‘Should I, whom am hated by these children, and aware of their inherited hatred for me, have left no stone unturned, in machinations to kill or exile?’.

9. Call a spade a spade

20 Everyday English Sayings and Idioms With Greek Origins - Greeker than the Greeks (10)

Call a spade a spade.

Call a spade a spade, also referred to as; let’s call a spade a spade and not a garden tool, meaning, call something by its name, however impolite, don’t beat about the bush, say it as it is.

The saying has its roots in ‘Apophthegmata Laconia’, a work by Plutarch, a Greek biographer and essayist (46 AD-120 AD), where he states, ‘call a fig a fig, and a trough a trough’.

10. Spill the beans

20 Everyday English Sayings and Idioms With Greek Origins - Greeker than the Greeks (11)

Spill the beans

To spill the beans, means to divulge a secret, either maliciously, or by accident.

In ancient Greece, the voting system was for people to cast secret votes by putting either a white bean (positive vote), or a black bean (negative vote), into a jar.

If the jar was knocked over, by accident, or other deceitful means, the secret was revealed, the beans were spilled.

11. Touch Wood

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Evelyn De Morgan Dryad

The habit of knocking on, or touching wood, to avoid tempting fate, or to bring good luck, goes way back, thousands of years, to ancient Greece, where it was believeddryads, wood nymphs , lived inside trees.

The ancient Greeks would touch a tree, hoping to invoke good luck or protection from the wood nymphs dwelling within.

12. Cloud Cuckoo Land

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Aristophanes – The Birds

Cloud Cuckoo Land is accredited to ‘The Birds’, a play, a comedy, by ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes, performed in ancient Athens in 414 BC.

Cloud Cuckoo Land, in Aristophanes play, is ‘Nephelokokkȳgía’, the name of the land which separates humans and gods,a utopian city, an unrealistic, idealist, fantasy world

13. Cry Wolf

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Illustrations for Aesop’s Fables by Alice and Martin Provensen.

(Video) Everyday Expressions We Owe to the Ancient Greeks

The term ‘someone who cries wolf’, is given to an habitual liar, someone who tells the same lie, over and over again, someone you just can’t believe, a regular ‘Billy Liar’ of the highest degree and we all know, nobody believes an artful liar, even when they are telling the truth.

To ‘cry wolf’, is to raise a false alarm, and stems from Aesop’s fable, ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’, about a young shepherd, who, day after day, drove his fellow villagers crazy, by telling them the same story, that a wolf was attacking his sheep, which always turned out to be untrue.

After many false alarms and tremendous panic, the villagers decided to ignore the silly boy, and, then, one day it happened, the young shepherd actually cried the truth, his sheep were being attacked by a wolf but alas, owing to his constant lying, no one believed him and didn’t run to help, and all the poor sheep were killed.

14. Cassandra

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Cassandra – Evelyn De Morgan (1855–1919)

To call someone a Cassandra, is to infer that they are full of doom and gloom and dwell on only the bad things in life, predicting death and disaster, of which no one takes any notice of.

In Greek mythology, Apollo, god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and much more, had the hots for Cassandra, daughter of Priam, King of Troy, she had totally mesmerised him, to further his chances with her, he bestowed upon her, the gift of prophecy.

Despite his gift, Cassandra shunned Apollo’s romantic advances, which really got his goat, in retaliation, Apollo placed a curse on his would-be lover, a curse which would ensure, that no one would believe her prophecies, or warnings of doom.

15. Resting on his laurels

20 Everyday English Sayings and Idioms With Greek Origins - Greeker than the Greeks (16)

Laurel wreath, symbol of victory.

Resting on his laurels, means someone, after receiving some accolade or badge of honour, for past efforts, has given up all efforts to better himself, has become lazy, and lives with the memory of his past glory.

In ancient Greece, laurel leaves were considered a symbol of victory, a status symbol, associated with the God Apollo.

laurel wreaths were presented to victors of the Pythian Games (6th century BC).

16. Gordian Knot

20 Everyday English Sayings and Idioms With Greek Origins - Greeker than the Greeks (17)

The Gordian Knot

The Gordian Knot; an extremely difficult, complicated, intricate problem, solved in a creative manner.

In 333 BC, Alexander the Great, while marching through Anatolia, modern-day Turkey, arrived in the city of Gordium, where the founder, Gordius, a peasant farmer, who, years ago, had been declared king, when the oracle at Telmissus (the ancient capital of Lycia-Anatolia), had declared that the next man to enter the city on an ox cart, would be king.

In appreciation for this honour bequeathed to Gordius, his son, Midas, tied the cart to a pole, using an intricate knot, whoever, announced a local oracle, could unravel this complicated knot, would become ruler of all Asia.

Many were the men who battled with this elaborate knot, but to no avail, until that is, Alexander the Great, after struggling with the dratted knot, lost patience, thought outside the box, decided it did not matter how the knot was untied, and with one stroke of his sword, sliced through the knot, and, after conquering Asia, became ruler, fulfilling the prophecy.

17. Adonis

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Adonis the mortal lover of the Goddess Aphrodite

To liken, or call a young man today, Adonis, is to concede he is of the utmost physical beauty.

In Greek mythology, Adonis, a shepherd boy, who represented youth, beauty and desire, the mortal lover of the Goddess Aphrodite, was considered one of the most handsome men of ancient Greece, so attractive in fact, his name became a metaphor for male, physical beauty.

18. To blow hot and cold

20 Everyday English Sayings and Idioms With Greek Origins - Greeker than the Greeks (19)

(Video) English words that are actually Greek

From The Fables of Aesop, ‘The Satyr and the Traveller’, illustration by Joseph Jacobs, 1894.

The idiom, to blow hot and cold, means, to be inconsistent, to frequently change one’s mind.

This phrase, again, comes from one of Aesop’s fables, ‘The Satyr and the Traveller’; one winter’s day, a traveller happens upon a satyr (a mythical creature, half man, half goat), who invites the man into his house.

The traveller accepts, ‘will you eat with me’, asks the satyr, ‘with pleasure’, answers the traveller.

As The traveller awaits his meal, he blows on his cold hands, to warm them.

When hot food is put in front of him, the traveller blows upon it, to cool it, causing the satyr to exclaim, ‘I will have nothing to do with a man who blows both hot and cold with the same breathe’, and promptly threw the traveller out of his house.

19. Oedipus Complex

20 Everyday English Sayings and Idioms With Greek Origins - Greeker than the Greeks (20)

Oedipus Rex 1895 by Renoir Pierre Auguste

The Oedipus complex, is a concept, introduced in 1899 by psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud.

‘The positive Oedipus complex refers to a child’s unconscious sexual desire for the opposite-sex parent and hatred for the same-sex parent. The negative Oedipus complex refers to a child’s unconscious sexual desire for the same-sex parent and hatred for the opposite-sex parent.’ (Wikipedia).

Oedipus, a tragic character from Greek mythology, who fulfills a prophecy when he unintentionally kills his father, Laius, and marries his mother, Jocasta, bringing catastrophe and misery upon his city and family.

Oedipus is the subject of a Greek tragedy; Oedipus Rex, written by ancient Greek playwright, Sophocles.

20. Wrong end of the stick

20 Everyday English Sayings and Idioms With Greek Origins - Greeker than the Greeks (21)

Ancient Greek lavatories at Ephesus

I saved the best one until last!

To get hold of the wrong end of the stick, is to totally misunderstand or misinterpret something, to get something completely wrong, and trust me, if you were living in ancient Greece, you certainly had to be careful not to get hold of the wrong end of the stick, read on!

In ancient Greece, as you can imagine, the luxury of toilet paper did not exist, in its place, was a sponge, or piece of cloth, tied to the end of a stick, and this, my friends, is what the ancient Greeks used to wipe their posteriors; literally, a case of sh-t on a stick!

To make matters worse, this stick seemed to be communal, as it was kept in a bowl of salt water, next to the hole in the ground; the lavatories of the day, so, you had to be very careful, when the stick was passed around, as needed, not to get hold of the wrong end!

If you enjoyed this entertaining list of Greekness, I’m sure you will love a few of my other ‘Greeker’ lists, why not take a look and find out?

20 of the Funniest and Dirtiest Nonsensical Greek Wisecrack Expressions and Phrases

40 adorable characteristics which make a Greek a Greek

21 Weird Greek Superstitions

20 Weird, Crazy and Incredible Facts About Greece and the Greeks

25 of the Most Famous Ancient Greek Statues and Sculptures – Where Are They Now?

26 Famous Movies Filmed in Greece and the Greek Islands

30 of the Most Creepiest and Haunted Places in Greece – Dare You Visit?

(Video) Ancient Greece | Educational Videos for Kids



What are some common words that come from ancient Greek? ›

Antique, idol, dialogue, geography, grammar, architect, economy, encyclopaedia, telephone, microscope... all these common English words have something in common: they're derived from Greek.

What is a Greek idiom? ›

That's Greek to me or it's (all) Greek to me is an idiom in English referring to an expression that is difficult to understand for the sayer.

What are some Greek words we use today? ›

21 Greek Words Used In English
  • acrobat. From the word akri (άκρη — “tip” or “edge”) and the verb vaino (βαίνω — “to walk”), an acrobat is someone who walks on the edge, often on tiptoe.
  • cemetery. ...
  • cynicism. ...
  • democracy. ...
  • dinosaur. ...
  • Europe. ...
  • galaxy. ...
  • hermaphrodite.
Oct 5, 2021

What are famous sayings? ›

The Most Famous Quotes
  • “Fortune favors the bold.” – Virgil. ...
  • “I think, therefore I am.” – René Descartes. ...
  • “Time is money.” – ...
  • “I came, I saw, I conquered.” – ...
  • “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” – ...
  • “Practice makes perfect.” – ...
  • “Knowledge is power.” – ...
  • “Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it.” –
Jul 20, 2022

What is the most popular Greek word? ›

The 100 Most Common Words in Greek Posted by Ourania on Oct 8, 2013 in Vocabulary
2τοthe (neuter, singular, nominative and accusative) / it (personal pronoun, neuter, singular, accusative)
3οthe (masculine, singular)
4ηthe (feminine, singular)
96 more rows
Oct 8, 2013

Why are most English words derived from Greek? ›

Latin and Greek are related due to both being descended from the same prehistoric ancestor language. English also shares a common prehistoric ancestor with Latin and Greek. Most languages have a single origin (though creoles and mixed languages have two).

What is the Ancient Greek word for beauty? ›

The ancient Greek word "Kallos" means "beauty" and is associated with both women and men.

What are all the Greek words for love? ›

The Ancient Greeks' 6 Words for Love (And Why Knowing Them Can Change Your Life)
  • Eros, or sexual passion. ...
  • Philia, or deep friendship. ...
  • Ludus, or playful love. ...
  • Agape, or love for everyone. ...
  • Pragma, or longstanding love. ...
  • Philautia, or love of the self.
Dec 28, 2013

What's the longest Greek word? ›

392 BC) Aristophanes coined the 173-letter word Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypotrimmatosilphioparaomelitokatakechymenokichlepikossyphophattoperisteralektryonoptekephalliokigklopeleio-lagoiosiraiobaphetraganopterygon, a fictional food dish consisting of a combination of fish and other meat.

What are some old idioms? ›

Here are the origins of some of the most interesting idioms!
  • Bite the bullet. Meaning: To accept something difficult or unpleasant. ...
  • Break the ice. Meaning: To break off a conflict or commence a friendship. ...
  • Butter someone up. ...
  • Mad as a hatter. ...
  • Cat got your tongue? ...
  • Barking up the wrong tree. ...
  • Turn a blind eye. ...
  • Bury the hatchet.
Sep 16, 2022

What are the 7 Greek love words? ›

The 7 Greek words for different types of love
  • Eros: romantic, passionate love. ...
  • Philia: intimate, authentic friendship. ...
  • Erotoropia or ludus: playful, flirtatious love. ...
  • Storge: unconditional, familial love. ...
  • Philautia: compassionate self-love. ...
  • Pragma: committed, companionate love. ...
  • Agápe: empathetic, universal love.
Mar 29, 2022

What is the Greek word for beautiful girl? ›

όμορφο κορίτσι ómorfo korítsi. More Greek words for beautiful girl. όμορφη κοπέλα ómorfi kopéla beautiful girl.

What are some pretty Greek words? ›

Beautiful Greek Words Everyone Needs to Know
  • ελπίδα (el-pee-da) / hope. ...
  • χαρμολύπη (char-mo-lee-pee) / joyful mourning, sweet sorrow. ...
  • φιλοξενία (fil-o-ksen-i-a) / hospitality. ...
  • υγεία (ee-yee-a) / health. ...
  • ψυχή (psee-hee) / soul. ...
  • ίριδα (ee-ree-da) / iris. ...
  • ευτυχία (ef-tee-hee-a) / happiness. ...
  • αιώνια (e-o-nia) / eternity.
Mar 9, 2020

How many English words are from Greek? ›

The study confirmed that out of the total 171,146 English words that are currently in use, 41,214 are Greek.

What percentage of English words come from Greek? ›

In a typical English dictionary of 80,000 words, which corresponds very roughly to the vocabulary of an educated English speaker, about 5% of the words are borrowed from Greek.

How do Greeks say Greece? ›

The ancient and modern name of the country is Hellas or Hellada (Greek: Ελλάς, Ελλάδα; in polytonic: Ἑλλάς, Ἑλλάδα), and its official name is the Hellenic Republic, Helliniki Dimokratia (Ελληνική Δημοκρατία [eliniˈci ðimokraˈti.

What is the most famous line of all time? ›

Famous Movie Quotes
  • “ May the Force be with you.” - Star Wars, 1977.
  • “ There's no place like home.” - The Wizard of Oz, 1939.
  • “ I'm the king of the world!” - ...
  • “ Carpe diem. ...
  • “ Elementary, my dear Watson.” - ...
  • “ It's alive! ...
  • “ My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. ...
  • “ I'll be back.” -
Sep 21, 2018

What is the coolest quote ever? ›

Quotes by Famous People
  • The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - ...
  • The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. - ...
  • Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. ...
  • If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor. -
Jun 28, 2021

What is the coolest Greek god name? ›

  • Ares (god of war)
  • Athena (goddess of wisdom)
  • Hephaestus (god of fire)
  • Enyo (goddess of war and destruction)
  • Hebe (goddess of youth)
  • Heracles (hero famous for extraordinary strength)

What is a cool Greek name? ›

343 Ancient Greek Names And Their Meanings
  • Achilles — Warrior.
  • Aegeus — Protector.
  • Aeneas — Praising.
  • Aeschylus — Shame.
  • Agafya — Good hearted.
  • Agammemnon — Resolute.
  • Agape — Love and affection.
  • Agata — Good hearted.

Why do Greeks say Ella? ›

#5 Ela. As you've probably figured by now, we love those Greek words with multiple meanings, and 'ela' [e:la] is one of them too. Its basic meaning is 'come' or 'come on', but Greeks also use it 99% of the time to informally answer the phone when they know whose calling.

Which word in English comes from a Greek word meaning few text to speech? ›

s.s test 7
Which form of government in a Greek city-state usually came first?monarchy came first then oligarchy
Who belonged to the councils of aristocrats?rich man that had land
Which word in English comes from a Greek word meaning “few”?the word few means oligarchy
9 more rows

How do Greeks answer the phone? ›

Answering the phone in Greek is pretty simple.
If it's a personal call, you can use either of the following:
  • Greek: Παρακαλώ;
  • Romanization: Parakaló?
  • English: “(Go ahead) Please?”
  • Greek: Ναι;
  • Romanization: Ne?
  • English: “Yes?”
Oct 7, 2021

What does a Greek man look for in a woman? ›

The average Greek man may be looking for a companion, but he is certainly not looking for an equal partner. He wants a woman to support his image, make his coffee, cook his dinner, wash and iron his clothes, raise his children, and when necessary, massage his ego so that he still feels like a man.

What is the flower of Greece? ›

As Athens became Greece's capital, the violet became one of Greece's flower symbols.

What name means princess in Greek? ›

Aricia is a name that has a sweetly feminine appeal. This poetic name is said to have stemmed from Greece. Aricia carries the meaning of “the princess of Athens”. AVANTIKA.

What are the 3 Greek loves? ›

The Greek language distinguishes four different kinds of love: Philia, Eros, Storge and Agape.

What is Greek word for peace? ›

The word "peace" (Greek eirene) together with its derivatives (the verbs meaning to reconcile, to be at peace, and to make peace) is one of those terms which more often than not is translated literally and concordantly in many translations.

What is the 183 letter word? ›

λοπαδοτεμαχοσελαχογαλεοκρανιολειψανοδριμυποτριμματοσιλφιοκαραβομελιτοκατακεχυμενοκιχλεπικοσσυφοφαττοπεριστεραλεκτρυονοπτοκεφαλλιοκιγκλοπελειολαγῳοσιραιοβαφητραγανοπτερύγων. According to Greek City TImes, the English transliteration of the word is a stunning 183 characters.

What is the shortest word in the world? ›

The shortest word is a. Some might wonder about the word I since it consists of one letter, too. In sound, a is shorter because it is a monophthong (consists of one vowel), while I is a diphthong. Both do consist of one letter in the English writing system, and in most fonts I is the narrowest letter.

What are the most common Greek last names? ›

Most Common Last Names In Greece
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What are the 100 idioms? ›

100 Idiomatic Expressions That You'll Use All the Time (+PDF)
  • At a crossroads – Needing to make an important decision. ...
  • Bad apple – Bad person. ...
  • Barking up the wrong tree – Pursuing the wrong course. ...
  • Be closefisted – Stingy. ...
  • Be cold-hearted – Uncaring. ...
  • Be on solid ground – Confident. ...
  • Beat around the bush – Avoid saying.
Oct 15, 2020

What are the 50 idioms? ›

50 popular idioms to sound like a native speaker
Kill two birds with one stoneSolve two problems at once / with one action
Leave no stone unturnedDo everything possible to achieve a goal
Let the cat out of the bagAccidentially reveal a secret
Make a long story shortCome to the point
46 more rows
Mar 20, 2017

What do Greeks call their girlfriend? ›

congratulations for being so much in love! Common phrases used in Greek for an object of affection are: αγάπη μου (agApi mou - my love), αγαπούλα μου (agapOUla mou - my little love) καρδιά μου (kardiA mou), μωρό μου (morO mou - my baby), μωράκι μου (morAki mou - my little baby), άγγελέ μου (AnghelE mou - my angel)...

What is the Greek word for boyfriend? ›

φίλος fílos. More Greek words for boyfriend. φίλος noun. fílos friend, companion, date.

What do Greek parents call their kids? ›

The most usual Greek naming tradition is to give children the names of their grandparents. Usually, if the first child is a boy, it takes the name of his grandfather from the father's side. If it is a girl, it takes the name of the mother's mother.

What are the 4 types of love in Greek? ›

The Four Types of Love: Some Are Healthy, Some Are Not
  • Eros: erotic, passionate love. We might as well get that one out of the way first. ...
  • Philia: love of friends and equals. ...
  • Storge: love of parents for children. ...
  • Agape: love of mankind.
Feb 9, 2015

What's a stronger word for love? ›

adore, caress, dote (on), idolize, worship.

What does Oreo mean in Greek? ›

The origin of the name "Oreo" is unknown, but there are many hypotheses, including derivations from the French word or, meaning "gold", or from the Greek word ωραίο (oreo) meaning "nice" or "attractive". Others believe that the cookie was named Oreo simply because the name was short and easy to pronounce.

What is the most common female name in Greece? ›

According to a survey conducted by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), the most popular male and female names in Greece are Georgios and Maria. According to ELSTAT, around 8.3% of men in Greece are named Georgios, with the same percentile (8.3%) of women named Maria.

What does Zoe mean in the Greek? ›

Origin: The name Zoe is of Greek origin and means “life” Gender: Zoe is most commonly used as a girl name. Pronunciation: ZOWE-ee.

What is a popular Greek saying? ›

The tongue has no bones, but bones it crashes.” “Wine and children speak the truth.” “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” “Win by persuasion, not by force.”

What do Greeks say before eating? ›

Kali orexi (καλή όρεξη): this means “good appetite” and is said before a meal. Stin igia mas / Yiamas (στην υγειά μας / γειά μας): this means “to our health,” and is used when raising glasses in a toast.

What is the motto of Greece? ›

Eleftheria i thanatos (Greek: Ελευθερία ή θάνατος, IPA: [elefθeˈri.a i ˈθanatos]; 'Freedom or Death') is the motto of Greece. It originated in the Greek songs of resistance that were powerful motivating factors for independence.

What is a typical Greek greeting? ›

The common verbal greeting in Greece is “Yassas” (Hello) or the more informal “Yiasoo”. Address people by their appropriate title, e.g. 'Keerios' (Mr) for men and 'Keeria' (Mrs) for women.

What is cheers in Greece? ›

To say cheers in Greek, you say " Yamas" which is short for "Stin Yeia Mas" which means to our health. Cheers!

Why do Greeks say OPA? ›

It (OPA) literally means “to jump” and it's used in many ways to say “bravo”, “WoW”, “all right” or in today's lingo, “You Go”! When a Greek says OPA, they are usually dispensing complements, admiring your zest for life, your dancing or drinking prowess or showing their admiration of a performance.

What does the Greek word Ella mean? ›

Greek, Norman, Hebrew. Meaning. beautiful, fairy Maiden, Goddess.

What do you call a Greece person? ›

The Greeks or Hellenes (/ˈhɛliːnz/; Greek: Έλληνες, Éllines [ˈelines]) are an ethnic group and nation indigenous to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions, namely Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

What was Greece called before Greece? ›

The Greeks called their land Hellas and themselves Hellenes. It was the Romans who called them Greeks- (Graeci ) and that is the name by which we know them.

How do you say no in Greek? ›

How to Say "No" in Greek | Greek Lessons - YouTube

How do you say sorry in Greek? ›

How to Say "I'm Sorry" in Greek | Greek Lessons - YouTube

How do you say hi in Greek? ›

How to Say "Hello" in Greek | Greek Lessons - YouTube

What do Greeks say before eating? ›

Kali orexi (καλή όρεξη): this means “good appetite” and is said before a meal. Stin igia mas / Yiamas (στην υγειά μας / γειά μας): this means “to our health,” and is used when raising glasses in a toast.

What do Greeks say when they take a drink? ›

The Greek version of “cheers” is ya mas, which means “to our health”. As in other countries, you clink glasses when you toast.

What does Yasu mean in Greek? ›

Along with kalimera, you've probably heard the residents of Greece saying "yassou" during your travels. Greeks often greet one another with the friendly and casual phrase. It is a multi-purpose term with a literal translation of "your health" in English and is used to wish good health upon a person.

What do the Greek say when they smash a plate? ›

The word “Opa” actually means something like oops! or whoops! or Watch out! In dedicated plate smashing sessions, it means pay attention. The word is so embedded in the ritual that when you hear the word Opa! you expect to hear a plate breaking.

How do you say Bon Appetit in Greek? ›

Greek: Καλή όρεξη!

Before enjoying your food, wish everyone, Kalí óreksi! or Good appetite!

How do you say Yamas in Greek? ›

health". 🥂🍷 You can pronounce it like "jˈɑːməz"


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6. Ancient Greece 101 | National Geographic
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