Along with Latin, Greek is probably the language that most influenced other languages around the world. Many English words derive directly from Greek ones, and knowing their origin and meaning is important.
Below you will find 12 Greek words that are commonly used in our society. The next time you hear someone saying “Kudos to you,” you will know where it comes from.
The highest point of a structure. The peak or zenith of something. One could say that Rome reached the acme of its power on 117 AD, under the rule of Trajan.
Acro means edge or extremity, while polis means city. Acropolis, therefore, refers to cities that were built with security purposes in mind. The word Acropolis is commonly associated with Greece’s capital Athens, although it can refer to any citadel, including Rome and Jerusalem.
The Agora was an open market place, present in most cities of the ancient Greece. Today the term can be used to express any type of open assembly or congregation.
Anathema is a noun and it means a formal ban, curse or excommunication. It can also refer to someone or something extremely negative, disliked or damned. Curiously enough, the original Greek meaning for this word was “something offered to the gods.”
Anemia refers to a condition characterized by a qualitative or quantitative deficiency of the red blood cells (or of the hemoglobin). Over the years, however, the term started to appear in other contexts, referring to any deficiency that lies at the core of a system or organization.
Translated literally from the Greek, ethos means “accustomed place.” It refers to a disposition or characteristics peculiar to a specific person, culture or movement. Synonyms include mentality, mindset and values.
Dogma refers to the established belief or set of principles held by a religion, ideology or by any organization. Dogmas are also authoritative and undisputed. Outside of the religious context, therefore, the term tends to carry a negative connotation. Notice that the plural is either dogmata or dogmas.
The exclamation Eureka is used to celebrate a discovery, and it can be translated to “I have found!”. It is attributed to the famous Greek mathematician Archimedes. While taking a bath, he suddenly realized that the water displaced must be equal to the volume of the part of his body he had submerged. He got so excited with the discovery that he left his home and started to run and shout “Eureka!” through the streets of Syracuse.
Genesis means birth or origin. There are many synonyms for this word, including beginning, onset, start, spring, dawn and commencement. Genesis is also the name of the first book of the Bible.
Many people wrongly think that a phobia is a fear. In reality it is more than that. Phobia is an irrational and exaggerated fear of something. The fear can be associated with certain activities, situations, things or people.
You have a plethora when you go beyond what is needed or appropriate. It represents an excess or undesired abundance.
Kudos means fame or glory, usually resulting from an important act or achievement. It is interesting to notice that in Greek and in the Standard British English, Kudos is a singular noun. Inside the United States, however, it is often used in a plural form (e.g., You deserve many kudos for this accomplishment!)