an English to Greek dictionary with Greek words

8 Confusing Greek words

Every one of us speaks a little Greek. In English, it is even impossible to spend one day without using at least one word of Greek origin. Architect, astronaut, acrobat. Base, bible, biology. Centre, chaos, comedy. There are over 150.000 English words that originate from the Ancient Greek language. But don’t trust too much on your English when you hear some real Greeks talking. Here is a list of 8 confusing Greek words that sound like English, but actually mean something completely different.

  1. Nai

    Unlike no in English, nee in Dutch, nein in German, nièt in Russian and non in French. The word that is pronounced like nè means yes in Greek! This is extremely confusing, especially when you’re new to Greece. The real Greek no is ochi.

  2. Erotisie

    When someone tells you: I have an erotisie for you. He does not mean something erotic, not does he mean he has feelings for you. The word erotisie simply means that this person wants to ask you a question. To make things confusing, erotic in Greek is erotikos, while love translates into eros or erotas. Even in Greek every question sounds erotic.

  3. Teras

    Overhearing a Greek group of friends talking about a Teras you might think their topic of conversation in the best terraces in the city or something. But this word as well is not what it sounds like. In Greek Teras means monster, a freak or something really big, like the terabyte.

  4. Klapse

    This one got me confused when a friend of mine said to her baby: min klapse. Don’t clap is what I thought I heard, strange to say to a child right? Well, I was wrong. Klapse in greek means cry. Saying don’t cry makes so much more sense.

  5. Tipos

    Oreos tipos, a beautiful mistake in writing? And even if they are not talking about typeo’s, shouldn’t they at least say what kind of type they find so beautiful? In Greek tipos does mean type but there is more. A tipos used in this way refers to a man while the female version tipissa means a woman. Tipos is used as a kind of slang, meaning guy or gal for the female version.

  6. Notio

    When asking for directions in Greek there are four orientations to expect. Dysi, Anatoli, Vorros and Notos. Dysi means West, Anatoli is East, but what about the other two? North and South? Turns out that the Greeks see the world from the opposite side. Although Notos sounds like our North, they actually mean South. Leaving Vorros to translate into North.

  7. Kabana

    Kabana literally is the same as cabana or cabin. Hearing this word you would assume some kind of structure. But not in Greek, kabana’s are much smaller in this language. The word means a bell or a gong.

  8. Echo

    In the Greek language, there are many words that sound the same but mean something different. In this case, there are ego, echo and exo. Not of them however, have anything to do with the echo we know. Instead, ego means I, echo is I have and exo is outside.

Do you know more confusing Greek words that do not mean what they sound like in English? Please leave them in the comments below

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