from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The Indo-European language of the Greeks.
  • noun Greek language and literature from the middle of the eighth century BC to the end of the third century AD, especially the Attic Greek of the fifth and fourth centuries BC.
  • noun A native or inhabitant of Greece.
  • noun A person of Greek ancestry.
  • noun Informal A member of a fraternity or sorority that has its name composed of Greek letters.
  • noun Informal Something that is unintelligible.
  • adjective Of or relating to Greece or its people, language, or culture.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A member of the ancient Greek race, one of the chief factors in the history of civilization, inhabiting the territory of Greece, comprising part of the southeastern peninsula of Europe and the adjoining islands, and also extensive regions on the coasts of Asia Minor, Sicily, southern Italy (Magna Græcia), etc.
  • noun A member of the modern Greek race, which has descended, with more or less foreign admixture, from the ancient race; especially, a subject of the modern kingdom of Greece.—2. The language spoken by the inhabitants of Greece or by persons of the Greek race.
  • noun Any language of which one is ignorant; unmeaning words; unintelligible jargon: in allusion to the proverbial remoteness of Greek from ordinary knowledge, and usually with special allusion to the unfamiliar characters in which it is printed.
  • noun A cunning knave; a rogue; an adventurer.
  • noun In entomology, the English equivalent of Achivus, a name given by Linnæus to certain long-winged butterflies of his group Equites, most of which are now included in the genus Papilio. They were distinguished from the Trojans by not having crimson spots on the wings and breast. See Trojan.
  • Of or pertaining to Greece or the Greeks; Grecian; Hellenic.
  • Greek painting, from the fame in antiquity of such artists as Polygnotus, Zeuxis, Apelles, Parrhasius, cannot have been behind its fellow-arts; but all the originals have perished, and the materials for study include little more than the pale reflections afforded by Pompeiian and other Roman wall-paintings, by some frescoed tombs in Italy, Greece, and the Crimea, and by one or two painted sarcophagi of Etruria and of Asia Minor.
  • Greek sculpture developed comparatively late, but by the beginning of the fifth century b. c. it had gained a position on a par with that of architecture. The earliest Greek sculpture was in wood (see xoanon); all examples of it have perished. Later, this was imitated in stone (of which an Artemis of the seventh century b. c., found at Delos, is a good specimen) and in bronze, the first use of the latter material being ascribed to the artists of Chios and Samos. In the latter half of the sixth century were produced the beautiful painted archaic statues which, until they were unearthed during the last decade, remained buried on the Athenian Acropolis from the time of their entombment during the improvements which followed the Persian wars. (See archaic.) The Æginetan marbles (see Æginetan) of the beginning of the fifth century mark the last period of the archaic. The remainder of the fifth century was the period of Phidias (see ethos, 2) and the artists grouped about his name, as Myron and Polycletus. In the following century majesty and the lofty ideal gave place to a more individual and intimate quality (pathos) and to grace, of which Praxiteles was the most prominent exponent, with Scopas and others hardly less famous. The abundant and charming Greek terra-cottas throw a side light on Greek sculpture akin to that supplied by painted vases for the study of Greek painting.
  • The architecture of the Greeks was developed from a primitive framed inclosure in wood or rough stones, with a sloped roof to shed the rain. As fully developed it implies the presence of columns, both as supports and for ornament, in a system of lintel construction (see entablature), or vertical resistance to superimposed weight. The arch was known to the Greeks, but was practically never employed by them where it could be seen. The most typical production of Greek architecture is the peripteros, or temple of which the cella is entirely inclosed by ranges of columns supporting a low gabled roof. The normal plan of such buildings is rectangular, the length being slightly more than twice the breadth; but the exigencies of special use or of the nature of the site often led to wide deviations from the type, as in the Erechtheum at Athens; and circular buildings of various kinds were not uncommon. The idea of the column was probably imported from Egypt (Doric) and from Assyria (Ionic), as were many motives of decoration, as the fret, and the anthemion, which was derived in direct line, though transformed, from the lotus-blossom. (For the Greek orders, the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian, see these words.) Greek architecture found its highest expression in stone, particularly in marble. The structures in wood have, of course, perished, and must be studied from allusions in literature and inscriptions, from certain details of stone buildings, and such remains as the terra-cotta copings of some Athenian tombs, of which the edicules in wood have disappeared, and in vase-paintings. Baked bricks are rare or not found in truly Greek work, unless possibly in prehistoric times. Much use, however, was made of unburned brick, even at a comparatively late date, and considerable remains of such work have been found at Olympia, at Eleusis, and elsewhere. The marble buildings of the period of perfection, simple and imposing in their general composition, were enriched with statuary and sculptured ornament and brilliantly colored (see polychromy in architecture, under polychromy) to bring out all their details with full effect in the clear air of the Mediterranean. Until Macedonian preponderance had vitiated the ideals of independent Greece, all this magnificence of art was reserved for the glory of the gods and the public buildings of the state. Luxury in private life was not approved, private houses being small and plain. See masonry (Greek).
  • To imitate the Greeks: with an indefinite it.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to Greece or the Greeks; Grecian.
  • adjective See under Greek calends in the vocabulary.
  • adjective Eccl. Hist. the Eastern Church; that part of Christendom which separated from the Roman or Western Church in the ninth century. It comprises the great bulk of the Christian population of Russia (of which this is the established church), Greece, Moldavia, and Wallachia. The Greek Church is governed by patriarchs and is called also the Byzantine Church.
  • adjective See Illust. (10) Of Cross.
  • adjective See Byzantine Empire.
  • adjective a combustible composition which burns under water, the constituents of which are supposed to be asphalt, with niter and sulphur.
  • adjective the flower campion.
  • noun A native, or one of the people, of Greece; a Grecian; also, the language of Greece.
  • noun Slang A swindler; a knave; a cheat.
  • noun colloq. Something unintelligible.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun countable An inhabitant, resident, or a person of descent from Greece.
  • noun US, countable A member of a college fraternity or sorority, which are commonly characterised by being named after Greek letters. (See also Greek system)
  • noun uncountable Unintelligible speech or text, such as foreign speech or text, or regarding subjects the listener is not familiar with, such as mathematics or technical jargon; or statements that the listener does not understand or agree with.
  • noun uncountable, slang anal sex
  • proper noun The language of the Greek people, spoken in Greece and in Greek communities.
  • proper noun The writing system used in Greek language.
  • adjective Of or relating to Greece, the Greek people, or the Greek language.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to a fraternity or sorority.
  • adjective unintelligible, especially regarding foreign speech or text, or regarding subjects the speaker is not familiar with, such as mathematics or technical jargon.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a native or inhabitant of Greece
  • noun the Hellenic branch of the Indo-European family of languages
  • adjective of or relating to or characteristic of Greece or the Greeks or the Greek language


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English Grek, from Old English Grēcas, the Greeks, from Latin Graecus, Greek, from Greek Graikos, ethnic designation of a Boeotian tribe that settled in Italy.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin Graecus, from Ancient Greek Γραικός (Graikos, "a character in Greek mythology") (a son of Thessalos, the king of Phthia), whom Ἑλλάς (Hellas, "Greece"), and Ἕλληνες (Hellenes), were also named after; see also Ἕλλην and Hellen.


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