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List of Greek phrases
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List of Greek phrases

List of Greek Phrases/Proverbs

Α / A

Αγεωμετρητος μηδεις εισιτω

Age˘metriŕtos mŕdeis eisit˘.

"Let no-one without geometry enter". Motto over the entrance to Plato's Academy.

Αει φερει τι Λιβυη κακον καινον

Aei pherei ti Libyŕ kakon/kainon.

"Libya always bears something evil/new", Aristotle. (Cf. Latin Ex Africa semper aliquid novi, "From Africa always something new".)

Αει κολοιος παρα κολοιω ιζανει

Aei koloios para koloi˘ hizanei.

"A jackdaw is always found near a jackdaw", i.e. birds of a kind flock together.

Αετου γηρας, κορυδου νεοτης

Aetou gŕras, korydou neotos.

"An eagle's old age (is worth) a sparrow's youth".

Αναγκα δ'ουδε θεοι μαχονται

Ananka d'oude theoi makhontai.

"Even the Gods do not fight necessity", Simonides.

Ανθρωπος μετρον

Anthropos metron.

"Man the measure (of all things)", motto of Protagoras.

Απαξ λεγομενον

Hapax legomenon.

"Once said", i.e. a word that only occurs once in a text or body of literature.

Αριστον μεν υδωρ

Ariston men hyd˘r.

"Greatest however is water", Pindar.


Β / B

Βρωμα θεων

Br˘ma the˘n.

"Food of the gods" -- allegedly said by Nero of the poisoned mushrooms with which his mother Agrippina murdered Claudius.

Γ / G

Γλαυκ' Αθηναζε/Γλαυκ' εις Αθηνας

Glauk' Athŕnaze/Glauk' eis Athŕnas.

"Owls to Athens", i.e. coals to Newcastle, ice to the Eskimos.

Γνωθηι σεαυτον

Gn˘thi seauton.

"Know thyself" -- the motto over the entrance to the temple of Apollo at Delphi.


Δ / D


Ε / E


Ζ / Z


Η / ╩


Θ / Th

Θαλασση και πυρ και γυνη, κακα τρια

Thalassa kai pyr kai gynŕ, kaka tria.

"Sea and fire and woman, three evils."


Ι / I


Κ / K

Κακου  κορακος  κακον  ωον

Kakoű kˇrakos kak˛n ˘˛n.

"From a bad crow, a bad egg", i.e. like father, like son.


Λ / L


Μ / M

Μη γενοιτο

Mŕ genoito.

"Let it not be!"/"Heaven forfend!" -- phrase used frequently by St Paul.


Ν / N


Ξ / X


Ο / O

Ου φροντις 'Ιπποκλειδη

Ou phrontis Hippokleidŕ.

"Hippocleides doesn't care." From a story in Herodotus (6.129), in which Hippocleides loses the chance to marry Cleisthenes' daughter after getting drunk and dancing on his head. Herodotus says the phrase was a common expression in his own day.


Π / P


Ρ / R


Σ / S

Σπευδε βραδεως

Speude brade˘s.

"Hasten slowly" (cf. Latin festina lente), "less haste, more speed".


Τ / T

Το γαρ ηδυ, εαν πολυ, ου τι γε ηδυ

To gar hŕdy, ean poly, ou ti ge hŕdy.

"A sweet thing tasted too often is no longer sweet."


Υ / Y


Φ / Ph


Χ / Ch


Ψ / Ps


Ω / ď


See also: