Greek language

THE GREEK LANGUAGE

Greek is the official language of Greece and Cyprus. It contains around 50 000 words in the lexicon. Greek has been written in the Greek alphabet since the 9th century BC, The modern Greek alphabet consists of 24 letters, each with a capital and lowercase form. The letter s has an additional lowercase form (ς) used in the final position of a word. Many modern languages, such as English, have adopted words from Greek. The English language has over 50 000 words in its lexicon which derive from the Greek, especially in the fields of Medicine, Sciences, and other fields of studies and literature in particular.

Greek etymology

The study of the history of words is named etymology. Greek etymology is one of the most interesting subjects to study, most of the roots of the words may be traced back to the Ancient Greek or Latin languages. Once you learn some of the Greek etymology rules, it will be much easier for you to identify words and their definitions.

If you recognize the parts, you’ll understand the whole word: learn the Greek and Latin roots, the prefixes and suffixes.
by N.S. Gill

Many people think that Latin taught in schools is not useful as it is an ancient language. You will soon understand why it is taught and why it is useful. The ancient Greek language is just as useful and very interesting.


The word etymology roots from the Greek word etoimon, which means “true sense”; and the word “logos” which means “word”. That is the meaning in etymology of the word “etymology”.


Another example I can give you in order to understand the meaning of the word etymology is: The ancient Greek word hippo means horse and the word potamos means river, so if you come across the word hippopotamus the real meaning is river horse.


A few other parts of words that root from the ancient Greek language are: micro (small), tele (far), phone (voice), scope (look), ante (against, before), apo (far away from), hydro (wet) and logy (words). From these words root the English words telephone, telescope, microphone, microscope, hydrofoil, apology and antenna.

Now here is a chart with some examples of Greek ”end forms”.

A CHART OF SOME GREEK END FORMS

GREEK WORD ENDING MEANING
algos -algia pain
vios -ve life
kili -cele tumor
tomos -ectomy cut
aima -(a)emia blood
logos -logy study
eidos -oid form
poieo -poesis make
skopeo -scope see into
stoma -stomy mouth

Root Suffix Prefix=Word


Prefixes are usually adverbs or prepositions derived from Greek  that can’t be used alone in English. While suffixes are often joined to their roots by separate connecting vowels, the transformation of these prepositional and adverbial prefixes is more direct, although often the final letter of the prefix is changed or eliminated. In two-letter prefixes, this can be confusing. Among other changes, n can become m or s and a final b or d may be changed to match the first letter of the root.
This list won’t help you figure out antipasto, but it will prevent you from describing the antonym of precedent as antident or polydent.

Greek Prefix

Meaning

a-, an-

“alpha privative”, a negative

ana-

up, back again, throughout, against

anti-

against

apo-

away from

cata-

down, across, under

di-

two, twice, double

dia-

through

dys-

hard, difficult, bad


ec- ex

out of

ecto-

outside

exo-

outside, outward

en-

in

eu-

well, good, easy

hemi-

half

hyper-

over, above,

hypo-

below, under

meta-

with, after, beyond

opistho-

behind

palin-

again

para-

along side of, beside

peri-

around, near

pro-

before, in front of

proso-

onwards, in front

syn-

with

Adjective Root Suffix=Word

The following tables contain Greek adjectives in the form used to combine with English words.

Greek

Meaning in English

mega-, megalo-, makro

big

micro

little

macro-, dolicho

long

brachy

short

eury, platy

wide

steno

narrow

cyclo-, gyro

round

pachy-, pycno-, steato

thick

lepto

thin

bary

heavy

sclero-, scirrho

hard

malaco

soft

hygro-, hydro

wet

xero

dry (Xerox®)

oxy

sharp

cryo- psychro

cold

thermo

hot

dexio

right

scaio

left

proso-, proto

front

meso

middle

poli

many

oligo

few

stheno

strong

hypo

bottom

paleo-, archeo

old

neo-, ceno

new

crypto-, calypto

hidden

tauto

same

homo-, homeo

alike

eu-, kalo-, kallo

good

dys-, caco

bad

ceno-, coelo

empty

holo

entirely

idio

one’s own

allo

another’s

glyco

sweet

picro

bitter

iso

equal

hetero-, allo

different

Colors

Greek

Meaning in English

coccino -, erythto -, rhodo -, eo –;

Reds of various shades

chryso -, cirrho

orange

xantho -, ochreo

yellow

chloro -, prasini

green

cyano -, iodo

blue

porphyro

violet

leuko

white

polio -, glauco -, amauro

gray

melano

black

Numerals


Some are derived from adverbs, most from adjectives.

Greek

Meaning in English

semi-

1/2

hen-

1

dyo (di-, dis-)

2

tri

3

tetra-, tessaro-

4

penta

5

hex, hexa

6

hepta

7

octo

8

ennea

9

deca

10

dodeca

12

hecatonta

100

chilio

1000

myri

any large or countless number