Slang words for stingy or penniless in Greek Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Vocabulary


by Tom Simpson @ flickr

by Tom Simpson @ flickr

The Greeks enjoy having long conversations. Their favorite topics are politics, football, food and hobbies. For the last few years, a new topic has been added: money. Some of the new words that are introduced in our daily conversations are “bailout”, “public debt” and “debt restructuring”. Fortunately, this is not an economy blog, so this post is about slang terms that we use when we want to describe a pesron  as stingy or broke. These terms are much older –and funnier- than the newly appeared economic terms.  There are masculine names and nouns used in the examples, not because women aren’t stingy, but because the masculine nouns are more appropriate grammatically.


  1. Άφραγκος, άφραγκη (afragos, afragki): penniless, broke. (Φράγκα (fraga) is a slang term for money and άφραγκος (afragos) is someone with no money.

Στο τέλος του μήνα είμαι πάντα άφραγκος.

(Sto telos tou mina ime panda afragos)

I’m always broke at the end of the month.


2. Μπατίρης, μπατίρω (batiris, batiro): penniless, poor. This term is old-fashioned  but classic.

Η κόρη τους τα έχει με έναν μπατίρη που δεν έχει λεφτά ούτε για τσιγάρα.

(I kori tous ta ehee me enan batiri pou den ehei fta oute gia tsigara)

Their daughter is dating a penniless man that has no money even to buy cigarettes.


3. Τσίπης, τσίπισσα (tsipis, tsipissa): stingy or someone who buys worthless things in very low prices(from the English adjective cheap).

Ο τσίπης ο Μανόλης έκανε δώρο στη γυναίκα του πλαστικά λουλούδια.

(O tsipis o Manolis ekane doro sti gynaika tou plastika louloudia)

Manolis, the stingy, gave his wife plastic flowers as present)


4. Τζαμπατζής-τζαμπατζού (tzabatzis, tzabatzou): freeloader (τζάμπα tzaba=for free)

«Πάλι δεν πλήρωσε ο Νίκος το ποτό του;»

«Ναι, είπε ότι ξέχασε το πορτοφόλι του στο σπίτι.»

«Είναι η τρίτη φορά! Μα τι τζαμπατζής είναι αυτός!»

(Pali den plirose o Nikos to poto tou?)

“Hasn’t Nikos for his drink?”

(Nai, eipe oti xehase to portofoli tou sto spiti)

“No, he said he left his wallet at home.”

(Ine i triti fora! Ma ti tzabatzis ine aftos!)

“This is the third time he does that! What a freeloader he is!”


5. Φραγκοφονιάς  (fragofonias): stingy (from φράγκα fraga= money and φονιάς  fonias= killer)

Ο αδερφός μου ήρθε να με πάρει από το αεροδρόμιο και μου ζήτησε να του πληρώσω τη βενζίνη. Τι φραγκοφονιάς!

(O aderfos mou irthe na me parei apo to aerodromio kai mou zitise na tou pliroso ti venzini. Ti fragofonias!)

My brother came to pick me up from the airport and asked me to pay for the petrol. He’s so stingy!


6. Σπάγκος / σπαγκοραμμένος, σπαγγοραμμένη (spagos/ spagoramenos, spagorameni): stingy. ( Σπάγκος= twine and σπαγκοραμμένος= sewed with twine.)

Ο Μάκης πηγαίνει πάντα με άδεια χέρια όπου τον καλούν. Είναι τόσο σπάγκος / σπαγκοραμμένος!

(O Makis pigeni panda me adia heria opou ton kaloun. Ine toso spagos / spagoramenos!)

Makis visits people always empty-handed. He’s so stingy!


7. Τρακαδόρος, τρακαδόρισσα (trakadoros, trakadorissa): scrounger

Παιδιά κρύψτε τα τσιγάρα!  Έρχεται ο Γιώργος ο τρακαδόρος.

(Pedia, kripste ta tsigara! Erhete o Giorgos o trakadoros)

Guys, hide your cigarettes! Here comes Giorgos the scrounger.


8. Καρμίρης / καρμίρω (karmiris / karmiro): down-and-out , miserable.

«Η Έλλη άφησε δέκα λεπτά για πουρμπουάρ.»

«Τι καρμίρω!»

(I Ellie afise 10 lepta gia pourboire)

“Ellie left 10 cents for tip.”

(Ti karmiro!)

“She’s such a down-and-out!”
















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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.