The Greek language has been in use for over three and a half millennia, making it the first Indo-European language. Because of this, Greek is often referred to as “the mother of western languages.” Learn some of the most eloquent words in Contemporary Greek, and then investigate their history and the ways in which they have influenced languages all over the world.
ελπίδα (el-pee-da) / hope
The name Elpida originates from the ancient Greek word elpis, which refers to the personification of hope and the spirit of hope in Greek mythology. Elpis is typically portrayed as a young lady carrying flowers or a cornucopia. Today, Elpida is a well-liked choice as a name for females.
φιλοξενία (fil-o-ksen-i-a) / hospitality
In a broader sense, the term filoksenia, which literally translates to “friend to the stranger,” refers to hospitality as well as a welcoming and “what’s mine is yours” attitude. Both the Iliad of Homer and the Bible make reference to filoksenia, demonstrating its longevity as a concept.
The ancient Greek culture placed a significant amount of value on hospitality. It was considered a very admirable trait to be generous toward strangers and those who were traveling a long distance.
χαρμολύπη (char-mo-lee-pee) / joyful mourning, sweet sorrow
The Greek words for happiness and lamentation, or melancholy, combine to form the euphemistic compound word charmolipi. It is difficult to describe, but it expresses the concept of bittersweetness as well as having conflicting sentiments about something.
µεράκι (me-ra-kee) / passion or absolute devotion
To do something with meraki means to put a “part of your soul” into what you are doing, and this is one of the words that is one of the most challenging to interpret. This phrase originates from the Turkish word merak, which can be translated as “to perform anything with pleasure” or as a “labor of love.”
ίριδα (ee-ree-da) / iris
Iris, the incarnation of the rainbow and messenger of the gods, inspired the Modern Greek word irida. According to myth, she had magnificent wings and a multicolored coat that created rainbows as she traveled, carrying messages from Mount Olympus to Earth. Her name was later used to define the word ‘rainbow’ in ancient Greek, from which the English term ‘iridescent’ derives.
ευτυχία (ef-tee-hee-a) / happiness
This term is constructed from the root eu-, which can be translated as “good,” and tyhi, which can be translated as “luck” or “good fortune.” It is also possible to translate it as “contentment,” which is a form of happiness that is considered by some to be the most genuine and consistent type of happiness.
αγάπη (a-ga-pee) / love
There are numerous words for love in ancient Greek. Agapi is considered as the highest form of love – the love shared by two partners, the love shared by parents and their children, or even the love shared by humans and God. The term (erotas) in Modern Greek usually refers to romantic or sexual intimacy, whereas (filia) refers to intimacy and friendship.