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Greek vs English: a love story


Many Greek words that are common in English were adopted directly from Greek – this is only 6%- or indirectly from Latin –this is 29%- as Latin had been strongly influenced by Greek. So, 35% of the English vocabulary is Greek!

Here are some interesting examples of English words that have Greek origin:

  1. English words influenced by the Greek Mythology

They are presented in this order with the Greek word or name (followed by a description) > the English word (followed by a definition).

Ares (god of war) > battle (to fight)

Atlas (a Titan who was condemned to carry the heavens upon his shoulders) >  atlas (book of maps), Atlantic (the ocean)

Clotho (the youngest of the Three Fates who spun the thread of life) > cloth (material made by weaving)

Chronos (keeper of time) > chronology (events in order of time)

Erôs (god of love and sexual desire) > erotic (sexual in nature)

Hypnos (god of sleep) > hypnosis (a sleep-like state of consciousness)

Hêlios (god of the sun and guardian of oaths) > heliotrope (plant that turns towards the sun)

Khaos (the nothingness from which all sprang) > chaos (confusion, disorder)

Muses (goddesses of the inspiration of literature, science and the arts) > musical (of or like music), museum

Narcissus (a very vain god who fell in love with his own reflection) > narcissism (extreme love of self)

Nectar (drink of the gods) > nectar, nectarine (fruit juice or sweet plant secretion)

Nymph (beautiful maidens, lesser deities who cared for plants and animals) > nymph (beautiful woman)

Ôkeanos (God of the river Oceanus, the source of all the Earth’s fresh-water) > ocean (large body of water)

Typhon (father of all monsters) > typhoon (huge rotating tropical storm)

Zephyrus (god of the west wind) > zephyr (gentle west wind)

  1. English words which describe a concept  found and founded in  ancient Greece and strongly influenced thought and knowledge of the entire world.

Here is an indicative selection

theory (θεωρία)>theomai (θεώμαι)= to look

 empirical (εμπειρική)>peiromai (πειρώμαι)= try, attempt

 practical (πρακτική)>prato (πράττω)= to act

system (σύστημα)>syn+istimi (συν+ιστημι) = to set up together

method (μέθoδoς)>meta+odos (μετά+οδός)= the street after, that is a path leading to the solution.

logic (λoγική)>logos (λόγος)= to say, to measure

 criteria (κριτήρια)>crino (κρίνω)= to judge

category (κατηγoρία)> kata+agorevo(κατά+αγορεύω)= to tell, judge according to

ideas (ιδέες)>Fid- (Fιδ-, stem of verb οιδα)= to know

programme (πρόγραμμα)>pro+grafo (προ+γράφω)= to write in advance

problems (πρoβλήματα)>pro+valo(προ+βάλλω)= to put in front (in order to find a solution or an answer)

symptoms (συμπτώματα)>syn+pipto (συν+πίπτω)= to fall together (I fall from the usual)

 therapy (θεραπεία)>therapon (θεράπων)= the person who was the priest of a God and took care of the ill person through praying but also applying other methods that, it was believed, they were transmitted to him by God

enthousiasm (ενθουσιασμός)>en+theos (εν+θεός)= the situation of havin the spirit of God (theos) into (en) yourself. During the fests the ancient people organized for God Dionysus they came to a situation of singing songs for the God

symmetry (συμμετρία)>syn+metro (συν+μέτρο)= fit to measure or to standard

democracy (δημoκρατία)>dimos+kratos (δήμος+κράτος)= dimos(=people)+kratos(=authority), power, so democracy is the system of government in which people have the authority

 politics (πολιτική)>polis (πόλις)= city and also state

poetry (πoίηση)>pio (ποιώ)= to create

theatre (θέατρo)>theomai(θεώμαι)= to see

philosophy(φιλοσοφία)>philos+sofia (φίλος+σοφία)= friend of wisdom

economy (oικoνoμία)>oikos+nemo (οίκος+νέμω)= house+manage, command, apparently the household management is replaced nowadays by the enterprise management

physics (φυσική)>physis (φύσις)= nature

biology (βιολογία)>bios+logos (βίος+λόγος)= life+talk, the discussion about life

music (μoυσική)>muses (μούσες)= t he Muses were the Greek goddesses of inspiration in literature, science and the arts. This meaning is kept at the word ‘’museum’’ , but the meaning  was limited in only one art for the word ‘’music’’.

 athletics (αθλητισμός)> athlos (άθλος)= achievement

analysis (ανάλυση)> ana+lysis (ανά+λύσις)= to give a wide solution




Posted in Greek Language.

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  1. This post is great . this article is very informative and rich of information. i have have bookmarked this blog Thank admin keep it up .

  2. what a great love story Your post is fabulous and your story are too good when I started to read your love story I became feeling excited and I read your story continue seriously it’s an awesome story…

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