Greek Language Blog

Colloquial phrases in modern Greek Posted by on Jun 24, 2020 in Vocabulary

Γειά χαρά! Today we are going to take a look into some colloquial phrases we often hear in Greek but are quite difficult to understand.


Φωτογραφία από Julian Hacker από το Pixabay

Colloquial phrases are metaphorical expressions used in everyday speech. These are usually short, often incomplete, phrases, usually taken from a proverb or anecdotal incident, so it is difficult to discern their meaning if we learn Greek in an academic environment and they may impede our understanding or even cause confusion when we try to communicate in an informal level! Although there are such expressions for almost every aspect of oral communication, I am going to concentrate in some phrases we use to characterize a person or a situation.

  • If a person fails in something: (i.e. He made a mess.)

Τα έκανε θάλασσα!

Τα έκανε σαλάτα!

Τα έκανε μαντάρα!

  • If a person is fooled or deceived: (i.e. I’ve been had!)

Την πάτησα!

Μου την έφερε!

Την έπαθα!

  • If someone wins undoubtedly: (i.e. He was beaten hands down.)

Τον έκανε σκόνη!

Τον έφαγε λάχανο!

Τον έλιωσε!

  • If someone is irritated or angry: (i.e. I’ve had enough!)

Μου την έδωσε!

Τα πήρα!

Μου την έσπασε!

  • If someone is tired or exhausted: (i.e. I’m beat.)

Τα έχω παίξει!

Τα έχω φτύσει!

Είμαι πτώμα!

  • If someone is pleased or satisfied:

Την έχω βρει!

Την έχω καταβρεί!

Μου ήρθε κουτί!

  • If someone is surprised:

Του ήρθε κεραμίδα!

Τί λες τώρα;


  • Smart: Τα έχει τετρακόσια.
  • Stupid: Δεν του κόβει.
  • Ability: Τον έβγαλε ασπροπρόσωπο.
  • Lazy, indifferent: Τα φόρτωσε στον κόκορα!
  • Revelations: Το έκανε βούκινο!
  • Worth: Είναι όλα τα λεφτά!

Even though the meaning of these expressions may not be evident at first sight, knowing how they are used or what they mean can help us keep up with what others are saying.

I hope that this entry clears up some confusion that can often occur in colloquial speech and encourage you to participate in everyday conversation, which is the cornerstone of making any language our own.


Φωτογραφία από pasja1000 από το Pixabay

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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.


  1. Alexandra:

    Μου άρεσε πολύ, Ράνια!
    Maybe a few examples would be very helpful, e.g.
    Α: Πού είσαι, βρε Τάσο;
    Β: Άσε, δουλεύω όλη μέρα. Τα έχω παίξει!
    (from one of your older posts)
    Shorter examples would be sufficient, as well.
    Ευχαριστώ και καλή συνέχεια! 🙂

    • Ourania:

      @Alexandra Ευχαριστώ, Αλεξάνδρα!