• Stefanos Karampalis

English words that come from the Greek language

In this English-speaking world, it is not possible to pass a day without using at least one word of Greek origin. From the marmalade adorning our morning toasts, to the music we listen to and the dramas we see at the cinema, the Ancient Greeks have greatly infiltrated the modern English we speak today.


But many of the Greek-origin words in English did not come directly from ancient Greek. Many are new, not ancient, consisting of Greek root words. From "atlas" to "zephyr," the Greek language, and specifically, Greek mythology, has had a huge influence on the English language. Now I am going to show you some of the famous English words that came from Greek origins.


Acrobat:

An acrobat is a person who walks on the edge, often on tiptoe. This word is derived from the word akri (άκρη — “tip” or “edge”) and the verb vaino (βαίνω — “to walk”). In other words, it is a circus performer who shows circus agility by climbing to the very edge of the rope.


Cemetery:

Many Greek words used in English show themselves as French or Latin. Don’t get deceived by them. This word actually originates from the Greek word koimame (κοιμάμαι — “to sleep”). It is also the root of another word, koimitirion (κοιμητήριο — “dormitory”).


Dialogue:

One speaker is essential for monologue, but the dialogue doesn’t need to have two speakers (that would be a “di-Logue,” but there’s no such word).

The word dialogue comes from Greek words. The meaning of this word is “across-talk". It includes more than two people who can do that if they take turns.


Dinosaur:

You already have heard about a dinosaur. It is like something similar to “fear-inspiring reptile,” The word we use to call these huge, ancient creatures originates from the Greek words deinos (δεινός — “terrible”) and savra (σαύρα — “lizard”).


Europe:

According to Ancient Greek mythology, Europe was a legendry princess having big, beautiful eyes. There was a trait seen in the very origins of her name: every (ευρύς — “broad”) and ops (ωψ — “eye”). When the god Zeus saw her with his eyes, he fell in love at first sight. He quickly changed himself into a white bull and took her off to the faraway lands we now call Europe.


Economy:

The Greek word for "household administration" has been extended to mean the administration of cash, products, and administrations for a whole network or country. In any case, "economical" actually alludes to individual thrift.


Galaxy:

Most of the Greek words used in English have mythological origins. English word Galaxy, the Milky Way, originates from the Greek word for milk, gala (γάλα). According to one myth, Zeus’s baby son, Heracles had created the Milky Way. After that, he tried suckling on his step-mother’s milk while she slept. When Hera woke up to find that she was giving milk to a baby that was not her own, she moved the child away, causing her milk to pour into the universe.


Charity:

The meaning of charity is the selfless giving of help to others who are in need. This word originates from the story of Chairs. It is one of the Three Graces in Greek mythology. The Graces include goddesses of beauty, kindness, life, creativity, and nature.


There are still tons of English words that come from the Greek language, especially in medicine, mathematics, physics and astronomy. Even the word etymology (ετυμολογία (etumología) - ἔτυμον (étumon), meaning "sense of a truth", and -logia, meaning "the study of") comes from the Greek language!

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©2020 by Stefanos Karampalis