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Empty sea at sunset |  © Horia Varlan / Flickr
Empty sea at sunset | © Horia Varlan / Flickr

15 Beautiful Words That Will Make You Fall in Love With the Greek Language

Picture of Ethel Dilouambaka
Updated: 1 October 2017

Every language has its particularities and quirks. And while there is no consensus on the issue, it is common to hear people say that Greek is a difficult language. Whatever your opinion is on the matter, Culture Trip has assembled some beautiful words in Greek. While you may not be able to pronounce them correctly, it’s most likely that you, too, will see the magic behind the Greek language.

ρίψασπις

Pronounce it like this: ripsaspis. This word literally translates into “someone (originally, a soldier) who drops his shield, with cowardice.”

Ripsaspis | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

χαρμολύπη

Pronounce it like this: charmolipi. This compound word cannot be literally translated, but the closest term in English would be “mixed feelings.” It is composed of joy and sorrow or sadness.

Charmolipi | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

ασκαρδαμυκτί

Pronounce it like this: askardamikti.

Askardamikti | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

ευλογία

Pronounce it like this: evlogia. The word is composed of the suffix eu- (good) and logia (words).

Evlogia | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

νοσταλγία

Pronounce it like this: nostalgia.

Nostalgia | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

αμετροέπεια

Pronounce it like this: ametroepia. The literal translation is “the lack of measure (in words).”

Ametroepia | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

Ψυχή

Pronounce it like this: psihi.

Psihi | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

επιγνωση

Pronounce it like this: epignosi.

Epignosi | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

χοχλιοί

Pronounce it like this: hohli. This word is actually from a Cretan dialect. σαλιγκάρι (saligari) is the modern Greek term, yet both terms are still in use.

Hohli | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

εγγύτητα

Pronounce it like this: egitita.

Egitita | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

φιλότιμο

Pronounce it like this: filotimo. One of the hardest to translate Greek words, filotimo is the concept of putting others (or the greater good) before yourself. It involves a sense of courage, self-sacrifice, and honor.

Filotimo | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

κύκλωπας

Pronounce it like this: kiklopas.

Kiklopas | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

αγάπη

Pronounce it like this: agapi.

Agapi | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

νεφεληγερέτης 

Pronounce it like this: nefeligeretis. It literally means “the one who raises or gathers the clouds”; this was an epithet of Zeus.

Nefeligeretis | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka

µεράκι

Pronounce it like this: meraki. One of the hardest words to translate, meraki means to put “a part of your soul” into what you’re doing—doing something with passion and absolute devotion.

Meraki | © Culture Trip/Ethel Dilouambaka