Archive for 'Culture'

Greek Christmas vocabulary

Posted on 19. Dec, 2014 by in Culture, Vocabulary

Studio Amore under a CC license on Flickr

Studio Amore under a CC license on Flickr

Χρόνια πολλά! It will be Christmas soon so this post is about Christmas vocabulary. If you want to send wishes to your friends and family in Greek, below there are some common phrases that we use:

Καλά Χριστούγεννα (kala hristougena): Merry Christmas

Σου εύχομαι καλά Χριστούγεννα (sou efhomai kala hristougena): I wish you Merry Christmas (informal)

Σας εύχομαι καλά Χριστούγεννα (sas efhomai kala hristougena): I wish you Merry Christmas (formal)

Χρόνια πολλά (hronia pola): it is difficult to translate because there is no similar expression in English. We use it to wish people to live many years.

Καλές γιορτές (kales giortes): from γιορτή (feast, holiday). It means “nice holidays”.

Καλή Χρονιά (kali hronia): Happy New Year

Καλή Πρωτοχρονιά (kali protohronia): Happy New Year’s Eve

Ευτυχισμένο το Νέο Έτος (eftihismeno to neo etos): Happy New Year (formal). This is often written in formal cards.

Be careful: χρονιά and χρόνος mean year. However, we never say “Καλό χρόνο”.


j_silla under a CC license on Flickr

j_silla under a CC license on Flickr


And some basic words:

η παραμονή των Χριστουγέννων (ee paramoni ton hristougenon): Christmas’ Eve

η παραμονή της Πρωτοχρονιάς (ee paramoni tis protohronias): New Year’s Eve

η Χριστουγεννιάτικη κάρτα (ee hristougeniatiki karta): Christmas card

το Xριστουγεννιάτικο δέντρο (to hristougeniatiko dentro): Christmas tree

το αστέρι (to asteri): star

η φάτνη (ee fatni): manger

ο Χριστός (o Hristos): Christ

οι τρεις Μάγοι (ee tris magoi): Three Kings. (Literally, three Wizards).

ο άγγελος (o agelos): angel

οι μπάλες (ee bales): balls

η γιρλάντα (ee yeerlanda): garland

τα φωτάκια (ta fotakia): lights

το κερί (to keri): candle

τα στολίδια (ta stolidia): ornaments

το γκι (to gkee): holly

τα κάλαντα (ta kalanda): Christmas Carol

το καμπανάκι (to kabanaki): bell

η κορδέλα (ee kordela): ribbon

τα δώρα (ta dora): presents

ο Άγιος Βασίλης (o agios Vasilis): Santa Basil (Santa Claus). People traditionally exchange gifts in January 1st. This day Άγιος Βασίλης is honored and people who are named Βασίλης (Vasilis) or Βασιλική (Vasiliki) celebrate their name day. Άγιος Βασίλης is the Greek Santa who was not wearing red and did not have a sleigh with reindeer. The western Santa was introduced in the Greek culture after the 50’s.

η βασιλόπιτα (ee vasilopita): New Year’s cake

το έλκηθρο (to elkithro): sleigh

ο τάρανδος (o tarandos): reindeer

ο καλικάντζαρος (o kalikantzaros): goblin

το ξωτικό (to ksotiko): elf

You can see the vocabulary here: Καλά Χριστούγεννα




Funny place names in Greek

Posted on 13. Nov, 2014 by in Culture, Vocabulary

by watz under a CC license on Flickr

by watz under a CC license on Flickr

Words like εστιατόριο (estiatorio, restaurant), or καφενείο (kafeneio, café) are taught to Greek learners at a very early stage.Besides the place names used in formal language, there are other terms used in oral speech. Some of those terms are generation specific and in some cases they are not even understood outside the generation. Those of you who have experienced the Greek nightlife might be familiar with some of these terms.

Μπουγατσατζίδικο (bougatsatzidiko): the place where μπουγάτσα (bougatsa) ,the famous breakfast pastry from Macedonia, is made and served.

Ξενυχτάδικο (kseneehtadeeko): ξενυχτάω (kseneehtao) means to stay up late. Ξενυχτάδικο is a club which is open up to the early-morning hours.

Ορθάδικο (orthadiko): from όρθιος (orthios) which means standing up (not seated). It’s a very small bar with no chairs where people stand up and listen to Greek music. There are only few stools around the bar, lots of smoke and poor air-conditioning.

Ουφάδικο (oufadiko): the ancestor of the internet-café, the Greek version of amusement arcades. In the early 80’s it was the place where teenagers met up and spent their pocket money in the arcade game machines. Some people still miss those places. Ουφάδικο derives from ούφο (oufo), the English UFO.

Πεθαμενατζίδικο: from πεθαίνω (petheno) which means “to die”. It means funeral office.

Ρεμπετάδικο (rebetadiko): from ρεμπέτικο (rebetiko) the urban Greek music originating from Minor Asia. It’s a ταβέρνα (taverna) with live rebetiko music.

Ροκάδικο (rokadiko): a club with live rock music. The word derives from the English word rock.

Σκυλάδικο (skeeladiko): from σκύλος (skeelos, dog). There are many theories about the origin of this name. Σκυλάδικο is a pejorative which is used to define a night club with live Greek music with bouzoukia, electric guitar and drums and usually non-famous singers. It can be found everywhere in Greece, especially in the countryside. It was very popular in the 80’s.

Τσιπουράδικο / ρακάδικο (tsipouradiko, rakadiko): a Greek restaurant where tsipouro, ouzo, raki and similar beverages containing more than 40% alcohol by volume are served. Traditionally, people do not order main dishes but share appetizers. From τσίπουρο (tsipouro) and ρακή (rakee).

Φαστφουντάδικο / χαμπουργκεράδικο (fastfoodadiko / hambourgeradiko): a fast-food restaurant. It derives from the words fast-food and hamburger.

Χοροπηδάδικο (horopeedadeeko): a dance club similar to ορθάδικο. From the verb χοροπηδώ (horopeedo) which means “to hop”.




by SantiMB under a CC license on Flickr

by SantiMB under a CC license on Flickr

Pas kala? Exrpess anger in Greek!

Posted on 04. Nov, 2014 by in Culture, Videos, Vocabulary

Beegee49 under a CC licence on Flickr

Beegee49 under a CC licence on Flickr


One of the stereotypes about Greeks is that they get angry very often and that they use bad language. Although it’s true that the Greek language is rich in slang and idioms that we use when we get angry, cursing is socially acceptable only in football fields or in places where teenagers hang out.
Below, there’s a list of the most standard expressions that we use when we get angry. Do not read this post if you don’t like inappropriate language.

Μαλάκας / μαλάκω  (malakas, malako): jerk(masculine and feminine).  It’s one of the most common Greek words. We use it when we are angry with someone: «Φύγε από δω ρε μαλάκα!» (feege apo do re malaka)=  Go away jerk! We also use it to express disbelief, astonishment or admiration:  «Η Μαρία κέρδισε 100000 ευρώ.» «Τι λες ρε μαλάκα;» (Ee Maria kerdise ekato heeleeades evro. Ti les re malaka)=  “Maria won 100000 euros.” “What are you talking about, jerk?”

Μαλακία, μαλακίες (malakia, malakies): bullshit.  E.g: Δεν αντέχω άλλο τις μαλακίες σου! (Den anteho allo tees malakies sou)= I can’t stand your bullshit anymore.


Παράτα μας (parata mas): bugger off. Literally it means “abandon us”.


Χέσε με (hese me): leave me alone in bad language. Literally translated it means “shit on me”. We also say χέσε μας (hese mas) which means “shit on us” and is more emphatic.

Ρε (re): it’s an interjection. We use it in different contexts with people we know well to show different emotions. It could be translated as “hey”, “you”, “man”, “dude” etc. When we use it to express anger it’s rude. E.g:  “Δε μας χέζεις ρε μαλάκα;» (de mas hezeis re malaka)= Why don’t you shit on us (re) jerk? (in direct translation).

Μου τα ΄πρηξες (mou ta preexes):  I had enough. Literally, “you have swollen my balls”.

We also use many compound words formed by:
Κωλο- (kolo): from κώλος (kolos), which means “ass”.
Σκατο- (skato): from σκατό (skato), which means  “shit”.
Βρομο- (vromo): from βρόμικος (vromikos), which means  “dirty”.
E.g.: Φύγε από ‘δω κωλόπαιδο / σκατόπαιδο / βρoμόπαιδο! (Feege apo do kolopaido / skatopaido / vromopaido)= Go away  shity / filthy child!

Άντε στο διάολο! / α στο διάλο! (Ande sto diaolo / astodialo): go to hell. We use it when we are angry but also to express disbelief.

Πας καλά; (pas kala): are you out of your mind? E.g.: «Τι έκανες; Πας καλά;» (Tee ekanes? Pas kala?) “What have you done? Are you out of your mind?”


There’s also a gesture that we make, the famous moutza (μούτζα): the palm is facing the other person’s face and the fingers are extended.  This is the most insulting gesture to make.


Examples of moutza:


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