Greek Language Blog

A love letter to olive oil Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 in Vocabulary

by USDAgov (under a CC license on flickr)

by USDAgov (under a CC license on flickr)


Dear olive oil,

You are the best-known product of Greece and a basic component of the Mediterranean diet. Scientists relate you to good health,  big eaters to pleasure and cosmetologists to beauty. For me you are the indispensable ornament of my favorite comfort food, which is greens with feta cheese, and of my hand-made beeswax cream.

In december I have the chance and the pleasure to taste the best quality of you: first press olive oil made of cold-pressed olives collected from my grandfather’s fields in Southern Greece, a product that others would taste in gourmet restaurants only. You are one of the best ingredients a dressing could have but I prefer to consume you raw. And if some people want to “bathe” their fresh vegetables in you, for me just one or two teaspoons can make me feel your taste, which is fruity or bitter, pungent or mild.

When I travel abroad,  in my attempt to make an intimate relationship with a new flavor, I have cheated on you. However, you are the only flavor that brings me back to my childhood and that gives me a touch of the eternal Greek summer even in the heart of winter.

People have been producing you since antiquity. You have been a symbol of health and wellness and have been used as a special treat on the bodies of warriors and athletes. You have inspired poets and authors, your name has appeared in tragedies and there are many expressions and idioms with you. In mythology, the Athenians valued a small olive tree as the most precious gift a god could offer them.

I promise you that we will see each other more often in the summer time but I will use you wise because, like all great loves, you can cause problems.

With love,

Vocabulary related to olive oil


  • Ελαιόλαδο (eleolado)= olive oil
  • Αγνό παρθένο ελαιόλαδο (agno parhteno eleolado)= extra virgin oil
  • Αγουρέλαιο (agoureleo)= first press olive oil
  • Οξύτητα (oxitita)= acidity
  • Λάδι (ladi)= oil
  • Ελιά (elia)= olive, olive tree
  • Κουκούτσι, πυρήνας (koukoutsi, pirinas)= kernel
  • Ελαιώνας (eleonas)= olive field
  • Ελαιοτριβείο (eleotrivio)= oil press
  • Συγκομιδή (sigomidi)= harvest
  • Λαδερός-ή-ό (laderos, laderi, ladero)= oily: it refers to foods cooked with olive oil such as green beans or okra
  • Λαδί (ladi)= olive green
  • Λαδολέμονο (ladolemono)= dressing made of olive oil and lemon)
  • Λαδώνω (ladono)= to spread olive oil / to lubricate / to bribe

A Greek video about muths and symbolisms related to olive oil in different civilizations.



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About the Author: Ourania

Ourania lives in Athens. She holds a degree in French Literature and a Master’s degree in Special Education for Children. Since 2008, she has been teaching Greek to foreigners.