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E - 26 : You Speak Greek!

Had planned to write a blog about the Greek language but am going to write one about Greek words instead. Apparently the Greek language has the richest vocabulary in the world with over 5 million words. It is thus no surprise that in a small English dictionary with 80'000 words 5% are of direct Greek origin. But Greek influence goes beyond. There are more than 150'000 words in the English language with direct or in-direct roots in the Greek language.

We do not need to speak Greek to know what this shop is selling!


According to Wikipedia there are five different sources for these 150'000 words:

  1. Borrowings from Vulgar Latin which reached England mostly with the Norman Kings who all spoke medieval French. For 200 years after the battle of Hastings (1066) the English Royals spoke French

  2. Direct borrowings from Classical Greek texts like "Physic". During the Renaissance Classical Greek texts became widely available everywhere in Europe and influenced the vocabulary in emerging medical and natural science

  3. Indirect borrowings from Classical Arab texts. The first big medical school was established under Arab Rule in Palermo und continued to run under the Norman Kings. The Spanish University of Cordoba was one of the biggest learning centres in the Arab world and also attracted many Christian and Jewish students from Europe

  4. Creation of new neo-classical Greek words (like telephone) during the science revolution in Europe which gained true momentum with the 17th century

  5. Last but not least, borrowings from new Greek after Europeans engaged in Greece's War of Liberation from 1821 - 1831. Speaking both classic and modern Greek was fashionable at the time and an excursion to Greece to do some digging a must for young English aristocrats.

Rather than writing an abstract expose, I took the time to look up the origins of words on a website on "etymology"(Ha!) - and translated a photo of often used Greek words in the English Language. The job took me quite a while. It is definitely the longest blog I ever wrote. Thus just browse selectively and enjoy - as I did.


ETYMOLOGY

etumologos ‘student of etymology’, from etumon, neuter singular of etumos true. -logy – a subject of interest (RED = English, BLUE = Classic Greek)



ACADEMY

Latin academia, from Greek akadēmeia, from Akadēmos, the hero after whom Plato's garden was named.

ANATOMY

from Greek, from ana- ‘up’ + tomia ‘cutting’ (from temnein ‘to cut’).

ARCHITECT

from Greek arkhitektōn, from arkhi- ‘chief’ + tektōn ‘builder’.

AROMA

From Greek for “spice”

ATHLETE

from Greek athlētēs, from athlein ‘compete for a prize’, from athlon ‘prize’.

ATMOSPHERE

Mid 17th century from modern Latin atmosphaera, from Greek atmos ‘vapour’ + sphaira ‘ball, globe’.

ATOM

from Greek atomos ‘indivisible’, based on a- ‘not’ + temnein ‘to cut’.

BIBLE

from Greek (ta) biblia ‘(the) books’, from biblion ‘book’, originally a diminutive of biblos ‘papyrus, scroll’, of Semitic origin.

BIOLOGY

from Greek bios ‘life’ + -logy (a subject of intertest)

CENTRE

from Greek kentron ‘sharp point, stationary point of a pair of compasses’, related to kentein ‘to prick’.

CHAIR

from Latin cathedra ‘seat’, from Greek kathedra.

CHAOS

The first created being, from which came the primeval deities Gaia, Tartarus, Erebus, and Nyx. Late 15th century (denoting a gaping void or chasm, later formless primordial matter): via French and Latin from Greek khaos ‘vast chasm, void’.

CHARACTER

via Latin from Greek kharaktēr ‘a stamping tool’. From the early sense ‘distinctive mark’ arose ‘token, feature, or trait’ (early 16th century), and from this ‘a description, especially of a person's qualitieS”

CHORUS

Mid 16th century (denoting a character speaking the prologue of a play): from Latin, from Greek khoros.

CHURCH

based on medieval Greek kurikon, from Greek kuriakon (dōma) ‘Lord's (house)’, from kurios ‘master or lord’.

CLIMATE

from Greek klima ‘slope, zone’, from klinein ‘to slope’. The term originally denoted a zone of the earth between two lines of latitude, then any region of the earth, and later, a region considered with reference to its atmospheric conditions.

CLINIC

from Greek klinikē (tekhnē) ‘bedside (art)’, from klinē ‘bed’.

COMEDY

via Latin from Greek kōmōidia, from kōmōidos ‘comic poet’, from kōmos ‘revel’ + aoidos ‘singer’.

COSMOS

from Greek kosmos ‘order or world’.

CUBE

via Latin from Greek kubos.

CYCLE

from Greek kuklos ‘circle’.

DECADE

via Old French and late Latin from Greek deka ‘ten’. decade (sense 1) dates from the early 17th century.

DEMOCRACY

from Greek dēmokratia, from dēmos ‘the people’ + -kratia ‘power, rule’.

DEVIL

from Greek diabolos ‘accuser, slanderer’ (used in the Septuagint to translate Hebrew śāṭān ‘Satan’), from diaballein ‘to slander’, from dia ‘across’ + ballein ‘to throw’.

DIAGRAM

Early 17th century from Latin diagramma, from Greek, from diagraphein ‘mark out by lines’, from dia ‘through’ + graphein ‘write’.

DIALOGUE

via Latin from Greek dialogos, from dialegesthai ‘converse with’, from dia ‘through’ + legein ‘speak’.

DIPLOMA

via Latin from Greek diplōma ‘folded paper’, from diploun ‘to fold’, from diplous ‘double’.

DISC

Via Latin from Greek diskos.

DRAMA

via late Latin from Greek drama, from dran ‘do, act’.

DYNASTY

via late Latin from Greek dunasteia ‘lordship, power’

ECHO

from Greek ēkhō, related to ēkhē ‘a sound’.

ECOLOGY

Late 19th century (originally as oecology): from Greek oikos ‘house’ + -logy.(a subject of interest)

ECONOMY

via Latin from Greek oikonomia ‘household management’, based on oikos ‘house’ + nemein ‘manage’. Current senses date from the 17th century

ECSTACY

via late Latin from Greek ekstasis ‘standing outside oneself’, based on ek- ‘out’ + histanai ‘to place’.

ELECTRIC

from Latin electrum ‘amber’, from Greek ēlektron (because rubbing amber causes electrostatic phenomena)

ENERGY

from late Latin from Greek energeia, from en- ‘in, within’ + ergon ‘work’.

ENTHUSIASM

via late Latin enthusiasmus ‘inspiration, frenzy’ from Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein ‘be inspired or possessed by a god’ (based on theos ‘god’)

EPISODE

from Greek epeisodion, neuter of epeisodios ‘coming in besides’, from epi ‘in addition’ + eisodos ‘entry’ (from eis ‘into’ + hodos ‘way’)

EROTIC

from Greek erōtikos, from erōs, erōt- ‘sexual love

GALAXY

from medieval Latin galaxia, from Greek galaxias (kuklos) ‘milky (vault)’, from gala, galakt- ‘milk’

GENES

Early 20th century from German Gen, from Pangen, a supposed ultimate unit of heredity (from Greek pan- ‘all’ + genos ‘race, kind, offspring

GEOGRAPHY

Late 15th century from Latin geographia, from Greek geōgraphia, from ‘earth’ + -graphia ‘writing

GEOMETRY

from Latin geometria, from Greek, from ‘earth’ + metria (measurer)

GUITAR

from Greek kithara, denoting an instrument similar to the lyre.

HARMONY

from Greek, from harmos ‘joint’.

HELICOPTER

from Greek helix ‘spiral’ + pteron ‘wing

HERO

A priestess of Aphrodite at Sestos on the European shore of the Hellespont, whose lover Leander, a youth of Abydos on the opposite shore, swam the strait nightly to visit her. One stormy night he was drowned. Hero in grief threw herself into the sea.

HISTORY

via Latin from Greek historia ‘finding out, narrative, history’, from histōr ‘learned, wise man’

HORIZON

from Greek horizōn ‘limiting (circle)

HOROSCOPE

via Latin from Greek hōroskopos, from hōra ‘time’ + skopos ‘observer

HOUR

via Latin from Greek hōra ‘season, hour

HYMN

via Latin from Greek humnos ‘ode or song in praise of a god or hero’, used in the Septuagint to translate various Hebrew words, and hence in the New Testament and other Christian writings

IDEA

from Greek idea ‘form, pattern’, from the base of idein ‘to see’

IDOL

from Latin idolum ‘image, form’ (used in ecclesiastical Latin in the sense ‘idol’), from Greek eidōlon, from eidos ‘form, shape

IRONY

via Latin from Greek eirōneia ‘simulated ignorance’, from eirōn ‘dissembler

KILOGRAM

from Greek khilioi ‘thousand, and from Latin granum - grain

KINETIC

Mid 19th century from Greek kinētikos, from kinein ‘to move’.

LION

from Greek leōn, leont-.

LOGIC

from Greek logikē (tekhnē) ‘(art) of reason’, from logos ‘word, reason’.

LYRICS

from Greek lurikos, from lura ‘lyre’

MACHINE

via Latin from Doric Greek makhana (Greek mēkhanē, from mēkhos ‘contrivance’)

MAGIC

from Latin magicus (adjective), late Latin magica (noun), from Greek magikē (tekhnē) ‘(art of) a magus’ magi were regarded as magicians.

MAGNET

from Latin magnes, magnet-, from Greek magnēs lithos ‘lodestone’,

MANIA

via late Latin from Greek, literally ‘madness’, from mainesthai ‘be mad’.

MARATHON

from Marathōn in Greece, the scene of a victory over the Persians in 490 BC; the modern race is based on the tradition that a messenger ran from Marathon to Athens (22 miles) with the news.

MATHEMATICS

from Greek mathēmatikos, from mathēma, mathēmat- ‘science’, from the base of manthanein ‘learn’

MELODY

from Greek melōidia, from melos ‘song

METAPHOR

via Latin from Greek metaphora, from metapherein ‘to transfer’.

METER

(in the sense ‘person who measures’): from mete+ -er. The current sense dates from the 19th century.

METHOD

via Latin from Greek methodos ‘pursuit of knowledge’, from meta- (expressing development) + hodos ‘way’.

MICROPHONE

Mid 19th century from Greek mikro, small, and phōnē ‘sound, voice’.

MICROSCOPE

-skopion, -skopeion, equivalent to skop(eîn) to look at

MUSEUM

via Latin from Greek Mouseion home of the Muses, from Mousa Muse

MUSIC

from Latin mūsica, from Greek mousikē (tekhnē) (art) belonging to the Muses, from Mousa Muse

MYSTERY

via Latin from Greek mustērion secret rites

MYTH

via Late Latin from Greek muthos fable, word

NEO

via New Latin from Greek neon new

NIKE

From the Greek word nī́kē victory, conquest

OCEAN

from Latin ōceanus, from Greek ōkeanos Oceanus

ORCHESTRA

Latin orchēstra<Greek orchḗstra the space on which the chorus danced, derivative of orcheîsthai to dance

ORGAN

Latin organum mechanical device, instrument) <Greek órganon implement, tool, bodily organ, musical instrument

ORGASM

Greek orgasmós, derivative of orgân “to swell, be excited”

OXYGEN

French construction in 18th century: combining oxy meaning “sharp,” “acute,” “keen,” “pointed,” “acid,” used in the formation of compound words: form meaning “that which produces,” used in the formation of compound words:

PANTHER

from Latin panthera, from Greek panthēr

PAPER

via Latin papyrus, from Greek papuros.

PARADISE

via ecclesiastical Latin from Greek paradeisos ‘royal (enclosed) park’,

PATRIOT

from late Latin patriota ‘fellow countryman’, from Greek patriōtēs, from patrios ‘of one's fathers’, from patris‘fatherland’

PAUSE

from Latin pausa, from Greek pausis, from pausein ‘to stop’.

PEPPER

via Latin from Greek peperi, from Sanskrit pippalī ‘berry, peppercorn’.

PERIOD

via Latin from Greek periodos ‘orbit, recurrence, course’, from peri- ‘around’ + hodos ‘way, course’

PHASE

from French phase, based on Greek phasis ‘appearance’, from the base of phainein ‘to show’.

PHILOSOPHY

via Latin from Greek philosophia ‘love of wisdom’.

PHYSIC

from Latin physica, from Greek phusikē (epistēmē) ‘(knowledge) of nature’.

PLANET

from late Latin planeta, planetes, from Greek planētēs ‘wanderer, planet’, from planan ‘wander’.

POEM

from Latin poema, from Greek poēma, early variant of poiēma ‘fiction, poem’, from poiein ‘create’.

PROGRAM

via late Latin from Greek programma, from prographein ‘write publicly’, from pro ‘before’ + graphein ‘write’.

PSYCHOLOGY

From Greek psukhē ‘breath, soul, mind’. + -logy (a subject of intertest)

RHAPSODY

via Latin from Greek rhapsōidia, from rhaptein ‘to stitch’ + ōidē ‘song, ode’.

RHYTHM

from Greek rhuthmos (related to rhein ‘to flow’).

SARCASM

late Latin from late Greek sarkasmos, from Greek‘tear flesh’, in late Greek ‘gnash the teeth, speak bitterly

SCENE

via from Latin scena, from Greek skēnē ‘tent, stage’.

SCHOOL

via Latin from Greek skholē ‘leisure, philosophy, lecture place’,

SPHERE

from late Latin sphera, from Greek sphaira ‘ball’.

STRATEGY

from Greek stratēgia ‘generalship’, from stratēgos

SYLLABLE

via Latin from Greek sullabē, from sun- ‘together’ + lambanein ‘take’.

SYMBOL

from Latin symbolum ‘symbol, Creed (as the mark of a Christian)’, from Greek sumbolon ‘mark, token’, from sun- ‘with’ + ballein ‘to throw’.

SYMMETRY

from Latin symmetria, from Greek, from sun- ‘with’ + metron ‘measure

SYMPATHY

via Latin from Greek sumpatheia, from sun- ‘with’ + pathos ‘feeling’.

SYMPHONY

via Latin from Greek sumphōnia, from sumphōnos ‘harmonious’, from sun- ‘together’ + phōnē ‘sound’.

SYSTEM

From late Latin systema, from Greek sustēma, from sun- ‘with’ + histanai ‘set up’.

TACTIC

from Greek taktikē (tekhnē) ‘(art) of tactics’, feminine of taktikos, from taktos ‘ordered, arranged’, from the base of tassein ‘arrange’.

TALENT

from Latin talenta, plural of talentum ‘weight, sum of money’, from Greek talanton. talent (sense 1) is a figurative use with biblical allusion to the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14–30)

TECHNOLOGY

from Greek tekhnologia ‘systematic treatment’, from tekhnē ‘art, craft’ + -logia (a subject of interest).

TELEPHONE

Mid 19th century from tele- + -phone.

THEATRE

from Latin theatrum, from Greek theatron, from theasthai ‘behold’.

THEME

from Greek, literally ‘proposition’; related to tithenai ‘to set or place’.

THEORY

via late Latin from Greek theōria ‘contemplation, speculation’, from theōros ‘spectator’.

THERAPY

from Greek therapeia ‘healing’, from therapeuein ‘minister to, treat medically’.

THERMOMETER

from modern Latin thermometrum, from thermo- ‘of heat’ + -metrum ‘measure’.

TONE

from Latin tonus, from Greek tonos ‘tension, tone’, from teinein ‘to stretch’.

TRAGEDY

via Latin from Greek tragōidia, apparently from tragos ‘goat’ (probably related to the religious sacrifice of goats) + ōidē ‘song, ode’.

TRIUMPH

from Latin triump(h)us, probably from Greek thriambos ‘hymn to Bacchus’. Current senses of the verb date from the early 16th century.

TYPE

From Greek tupos ‘impression, figure, type’, from tuptein ‘to strike’.

UTOPIA

Mid 16th century based on Greek ou ‘not’ + topos ‘place’; the word was first used in the book Utopia (1516) by Sir Thomas More.

ZONE

from Latin zona ‘girdle’, from Greek zōnē.

ZOOLOGY

From Greek zōion ‘animal’ + -logia (a subject of interest).














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