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English Language: The Strong Influence From Greek

There is one thing that many widely used English terms have in common: they are Greek words. It is obvious that the Greek language has had a significant influence on English. Let’s look more closely.

Greek language history in a nutshell


Greek, one of the first Indo-European languages, is typically divided into Modern Greek and Ancient Greek (commonly considered a dead language). At that time, Greek language have not influenced English yet.

Koine, a widespread Ancient Greek dialect of the time that was understood throughout the Greek-speaking globe, is where Modern Greek derives from. Modern Greek was adopted as the official tongue of the Kingdom of Greece in the 19th century.

Peter T. Daniels asserts that the Ancient Greeks were the first civilization to employ a “true” alphabet or one that had both vowels and consonants. Alpha and beta, the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, do, in fact, make up the term “alphabet.”

How has Greek influenced the English language?


One estimate claims that more than 150,000 terms in the English language have Greek roots. Along with more everyday vocabulary like those mentioned above, these also include technical and scientific terms.

Greek is the most common language of origin for words beginning with “ph-,” such as philosophy, physical, photo, phrase, and philanthropy.

The following examples show how many English words are made up of morphemes, which come from the Greek language:

Arachnophobia is a type of phobia, meaning fear of spiders.
Demos (people), as in democracy – government by the people
micro (tiny), as in microscopic – so small it’s difficult to see
The two speeches of the former prime minister and economist Prof. Xenophon Zolotas, which were written in English but actually contained only Greek words (aside from articles and prepositions), are an excellent illustration of the importance of the Greek language.

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