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List of 150.000 English Words Derived From Greek

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Last updated on November 21st, 2020 at 08:17 am

Influence of the Greek(Hellenic) language in today’s word

Parthenon
Parthenon

How many Greek words are in the English language

The Guinness Book of Records ranks the Hellenic language as the richest in the world with 5 million words and 70 million word types!

Hellenic roots are often used to coin new words for other languages, especially in the sciences and medicine.

Mathematics, physics, astronomy, democracy, philosophy, athletics, theatre, rhetoric, baptism and hundreds of other words are Hellenic(Greek), this is a FACT

Greek words and word elements continue to be productive as a basis for coinages: anthropology, photography, telephony, isomer, biomechanics, cinematography, etc…

In a typical everyday 80,000-word English dictionary, about 5% of the words are directly borrowed from Greek; (for example, “phenomenon” is a Hellenic word and even obeys Hellenic grammar rules as the plural is “phenomena”), and another 25% are borrowed indirectly.

So, about 150.000 words in modern English have direct or indirect origin from the ancient Greek language.

This is because there were many Hellenic words borrowed in Latin originally, which then filtered down into English because English borrowed so many words from Latin (for example, “elaiwa” in Greek evolved into the Latin “oliva”, which in turn became “olive” in English).

So, 30% of English words are…Greek!

Hellenic and Latin are the predominant sources of the international scientific vocabulary, however, the percentage of words borrowed from Greek rises much higher than Latin when considering highly scientific vocabulary (for example, “oxytetracycline” is a medical term that has three Hellenic roots).

And finally, had you ever wondered how the world was going to be if the Greek language never existed?

Most of this article is borrowed from this website, so greetings belong to them.

Greek words in the English language
Greek words in the English language

List of Greek words in English

Only an example of a few words of Greek origin is below with their writing in the modern Greek language and their spelling with Latin characters. Practically unchanged since antiquity.

Academy = Ακαδημία (Akademia)
Acrobat = Ακροβάτης (Akrovates)
Air = Αέρας, Αήρ (Aeras)
Airplane = Αεροπλάνο (Aeroplano)
Anatomy = Ανατομία (Anatomia)
Angel = Άγγελος (Aggelos)
Anti = Αντι (Anti)
Archaeo = Αρχαιο (Archaeo)
Architect = Αρχιτέκτων (Architekton)
Aroma = Άρωμα (Aroma)
Astronaut = Αστροναύτης (Astronaftis)
Athlete = Αθλητής (Athleetees)
Atlas = Άτλας (Atlas)
Atmosphere = Ατμόσφαιρα (Atmosphera)
Atom = Άτομο (Atomo)
Auto = Αυτο (Afto)
Bacterium = Βακτήριον (Vakterion)
Base = Βάση (Vasee)
Bible = Βίβλος (Veevlos)
Bio = Βιο (Veeo)
Biology = Βιολογία (Viologia)
Box = Βοξ (Vox)
Cemetery = Κοιμητήριο (Keemeeteerio)
Centre = Κέντρο (Kentro)
Centro = Κέντρο (Kentro)
Chair = Καρέκλα (Karekla)
Chaos = Χάος (Chaos)
Character = Χαρακτήρ (Characteer)
Chorus = Χορός (Choros)
Chromo = Χρωμο (Chromo)
Chronological = Χρονολογικό (Chronologiko)
Cinema = Κινημα (Kinima)
Climate = Κλιμα, Κλιματικό (Klimatiko)
Clinic = Κλινική (Kliniki)
Comedy = Κωμωδία (Komodeea)
Cosmos = Κόσμος (Kosmos)
Cube = Κύβος (Kyvos)
Cycle = Κύκλος (Kyklos)
Cyclo = Κυκλο (Kyklo)
Decade = Δεκάδα (Decada)
Demo = Δημο (Deemo)
Democracy = Δημοκρατία (Deemokrateea)
Devil = Διάβολος (Diavolos)
Diagram = Διάγραμμα (Diagrama)
Dialogue = Διάλογος (Dialogos)
Diet = Δίαιτα (Dieta)
Diplomat = Διπλωμάτης (Diplomates)
Dinosaur = Δεινόσαυρος (Dinosavros)
Disc = Δίσκος (Diskos)
Drama = Δράμα (Drama)
Dynasty = Δυναστεία (Dynasteia)
Dys = Δυσ (Dys)
Echo = Ηχώ (Echo)
Ecology = Οικολογία (Ekologia)
Economy = Οικονομία (Ekonomia)
Ecstasy = Έκσταση (Ekstasi)
Electric = Ηλεκτρικό (Elektriko)
Electronic = Ηλεκτρονικό (Eelektroniko)
Energy = Ενέργεια (Energeia)
Enthusiasm = Ενθουσιασμός (Enthousiasmos)
Episode = Επεισόδιο (Episodeio)
Erotic = Ερωτικό (Erotiko)
Ethics = ‘Ηθη (Ethe)
Eu = Ευ (Ef)
Euro = Ευρώ (Evro)
Europe = Ευρώπη (Evropee)
Fantasy = Φαντασία (Fantasia)
Galaxy = Γαλαξίας (Galaxias)
Genetic = Γενετικός (Genetikos)
Geography = Γεωγραφία (Geographia)
Geometry = Γεωμετρία (Geometria)
Giant = Γίγαντας (Gigantas)
Grammatical = Γραμματικό (Grammatiko)
Graph = Γραφ (Graph)
Guitar = Κιθάρα (Kithara)
Harmony = Αρμονία (Armonia), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Helicopter = Ελικόπτερο (Elikoptero), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Hercules = Ηρακλής (Eraklees), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Hero = Ήρως (Iros), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Hippopotamus = Ιπποπόταμος (Ipopotamos), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
History = Ιστορία (Eestoreea), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Horizon = Ορίζοντας (Orizontas), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Hormone = Ορμόνη (Ormonee), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Horoscope = Ωροσκόπιο (Oroskopio), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Hour = Ώρα (Ora), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Hydro = Υδρο (Ydro), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Hymn = Ύμνος (Ymnos), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Hypo = Υπο (Ypo), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Hyper = Υπερ (Yper), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Hypnotic = Υπνωτικό(Ypnotiko), the “h” sound, in the beginning, is rejected in modern Greek.
Idea = Ιδέα (Idea)
Idiot = Ιδιώτης (Idiotes)
Idol = Είδωλο (Idolo)
Irony = Ειρωνία (Ironea)
Jealous = Ζήλεια (Zelia)
Kilogram = Χιλιόγραμμο (Chiliogrammo)
Kilometer = Χιλιόμετρο (Chiliometro)
Kinetic = Κινητικό (Kinetiko)
Lion = Λέων (Leon)
Logic = Λογικό (Logiko)
Logo = Λογο (Logo)
Lyrics = Λυρισμός (Lyrismos)
Machine = Μηχανή (Mechane)
Macro = Μακρο (Makro)
Mega = Μεγα (Mega)
Magic = Μαγικό (Magiko)
Meta = Μετα (Meta)
Metaphor = Μεταφορά (Metaphora)
Metropolis = Μητρόπολις (Metropolis)
Micro = Μικρο (Mikro)
Mono = Μονο (Mono)
Muse = Μούσα (Musa)
Mystery = Μυστήριο (Mysterio)
Myth = Μύθος (Mythos)
Nectar = Νεκταρ (Nektar)
Neon = Νέον (Neon)
Nike = Νίκη (Nike)
Nine = Εννέα (Enea)
Ocean = Ωκεανός (Okeanos)
Olympic = Ολυμπιακός (Olympiakos)
Orchestra = Ορχήστρα (Orcheestra)
Organism = Οργανισμός (Organismos)
Orgasm = Οργασμός (Orgasmos)
Oxyzen = Οχυγόνο (Oxygono)
Paleo = Παλαιο (Paleo)
Panic = Πανικός (Panikos)
Panther = Πάνθηρας (Pantheras)
Paper = Πάπυρος (Papeeros)
Para = Παρα (Para)
paradise = Παράδεισος (Paradeisos)
Patriot = Πατριώτης (Patriotes)
Pause = Παύση (Pafsi)
Pepper = Πιπέρι (Peperi)
Period = Περίοδος (Periodos)
Phase = Φάση (Phasee)
Philo = Φιλο (Philo)
Philoshopy = Φιλοσοφία (Philosophia)
Photo = Φωτο (Photo)
Photography = Φωτογραφία (Photografia)
Physic = Φυσική (Physike)
Planet = Πλανήτης (Planeetes)
Poem = Ποίημα (Peema)
Pole = Πόλος (Polos)
Poly = Πολυ (Poly)
Pro = Προ (Pro)
Program = Πρόγραμμα (Programma)
Pseudo = Ψευδο (Psevdo)
Psycho = Ψυχο (Psycho)
Psychology = Ψυχολογία (Psychologia)
Pyro = Πυρο (Pyro)
Rhapsody = Ραψωδία (Rapsodia)
Rhythm = Ρυθμός (Rythmos)
Rhinoceros = Ρινόκερως (Rinokeros)
Sarcasm = Σαρκασμός (Sarkasmos)
Scene = Σκηνή (Skene)
Schizophrenia = Σχιζοφρένεια (Schizophrenia)
School = Σχολείο (Scholeeo)
Sphere = Σφαίρα (Sphera)
Star = Αστήρ (Asteer)
Stereo = Στέρεο (Stereo)
Strategy = Στρατηγική (Strategiki)
Sycophant = Συκοφάντης (Sykophantes)
Syllable = Συλλαβή (Syllavee)
Symbol = Σύμβολο (Symvolo)
Symmetry = Συμμετρία (Symmetria)
Sympathy = Συμπάθεια (Sympatheia)
Symphony = Συμφωνία (Symphonia)
Syntax = Σύνταξη (Syntaksi)
System = Σύστημα (Systeema)
Tactic = Τακτική (Taktikee)
Talent = Ταλέντο (Talento)
Techno = Τεχνο (Techno)
Technology = Τεχνολογία (Technologia)
Telescope = Τηλεσκόπιο (Teleskopio)
Telephone = Τηλέφωνο (Telephono)
Television = Τηλεόραση (Teleorasi)
Theatre = Θέατρο (Theatro)
Theme = Θέμα (Thema)
Theory = Θεωρία (Theoria)
Therapy = Θεραπεία (Therapia)
Thermo = Θερμο (Thermo)
Thermometer = Θερμόμετρο (Thermometro)
Third = Τρίτο (Treeto)
Tone = Τόνος (Tonos)
Tragedy = Τραγωδία (Tragodia)
Triumph = Θρίαμβος (Thriamvos)
Type = Τύπος (Typos)
Utopia = Ουτοπία (Utopeea)
Zone = Ζώνη (Zonee)
Zoo = Ζωο (Zoo)
Zoology = Ζωολογία (Zoologia)

Also, almost all words start with “ph” are of Greek origin!

We must stop here, impossible to write down all the 150.000 Greek words used in English!

If you are one of those who say “its all Greek to me” just follow a couple of simple tips.

Most important, the Latin sound of “C” is “K” in Greek. For Greeks, the sound of “C” is written and pronounced always with “S”.
Keep in mind that the “th” sound is written with “Θ” in Greek.

The ancient Greek B originally sounded like B in English today, but now it is written with “MΠ” and the letter “B” sound like “V”.

All ancient Greek words that start with “H”, History, for instance, were written without the letter “H” and the first letter was aspirated instead, this aspirate is abolished today and the sound of “h” is not pronounced.

Anywhere you see an “ω” or “o” both pronounced as “o”, there are some more minor differences. But slowly you will find out that you start to make sense.

Latin alphabet, after all, is a copy of the Greek alphabet with 5-6 changes.

Finally, you will see that saying “is all Greek to me” is a non-sense expression, better say “it’s all Chinese to me”.

Our aim is not to teach you how to speak Greek, not at all. It is just to give a glimpse of how close the alphabets are and an idea of the importance of the Greek language.

Your languages are all enriched and influenced by the Greek language.

They are all Hellenic(Greek)

According to one estimate, more than 150,000 words of English are derived from Greek words…source:www.britishcouncil.org

Now that you have seen how many Greek words you know, You shouldn’t feel stranger when you visit Greece, you are a native Greek-speaking person, you just don’t know it yet! Learn about this.

Thanks for Reading!

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