The Greek language has contributed to the English vocabulary in five main ways:.
Since the living Greek and English languages were not in direct contact until modern times, borrowings were necessarily indirect, coming either through Latin through texts or various vernaculars , or from Ancient Greek texts, not the living spoken language.
Some Greek words were borrowed into Latin and its descendants, the Romance languages. English often received these words from French. Their phonetic and orthographic form has sometimes changed considerably. In some cases, the orthography of these words was later changed to reflect the Greek — and Latin — spelling: e. Many more words were borrowed by scholars writing in Medieval and Renaissance Latin.
Some words were borrowed in essentially their original meaning, often transmitted through classical Latin: topic , type , physics , iambic , eta , necromancy , cosmopolite. Some kept their Latin form, e. So it is really the combining forms of Greek roots and affixes that are borrowed, not the words.
Such terms are coined in all the European languages, and spread to the others freely —including to Modern Greek as reborrowings.
Traditionally, these coinages were constructed using only Greek morphemes, e. These hybrid words were formerly considered to be ' barbarisms '. Many Greek affixes such as anti- and -ic have become productive in English, combining with arbitrary English words: antichoice , Fascistic. Some portmanteau words in English have led to suffixes based on Greek words, but which are not suffixes in Greek, e.
Some Greek words were borrowed through Arabic and then Romance. Curiously, chemist appears to be a back-formation from alchemist. A few words took other routes. Some Greek words have given rise to etymological doublets , being borrowed both through a later learned, direct route, and earlier through an organic, indirect route:  .
Many Greek words, especially those borrowed through the literary tradition, are recognizable as such from their spelling. These conventions, which originally reflected pronunciation, have carried over into English and other languages with historical orthography, like French.
Etymological Dictionary of Greek (2 vols.)
The romanization of some digraphs is rendered in various ways in English. The ligatures have largely fallen out of use worldwide; the digraphs are uncommon in American usage, but remain common in British usage.
What is ETYMOLOGICAL DICTIONARY? What does ETYMOLOGICAL DICTIONARY mean?
The spelling depends mostly on the variety of English, not on the particular word. Most learned borrowings and coinages follow the Latin system, but there are some irregularities: eureka cf. Aneurysm was formerly often spelled aneurism on the assumption that it uses the usual -ism ending.
Some words whose spelling in French and Middle English did not reflect their Greco-Latin origins were refashioned with etymological spellings in the 16th and 17th centuries: caracter became character and quire became choir. In some cases, a word's spelling clearly shows its Greek origin.
If it includes ph or includes y between consonants, it is very likely Greek, with some exceptions, such as nephew , cipher , triumph. In clusters such as ps- , pn- , and gn- which are not allowed by English phonotactics , the usual English pronunciation drops the first consonant e.
Initial x- is pronounced z. Ch is pronounced like k rather than as in "church": e.
Some sound sequences in English are only found in borrowings from Greek, notably initial sequences of two fricatives , as in sphere. Usage is mixed in some cases: schema, schemas or schemata ; lexicon, lexicons or lexica ; helix, helixes or helices ; sphinx, sphinges or sphinxes ; clitoris, clitorises or clitorides. Plurals from Latin and Greek.
Few English verbs are derived from the corresponding Greek verbs; examples are baptize , ostracize , and cauterize. However, the Greek verbal suffix -ize is productive in Latin, the Romance languages, and English: words like metabolize , though composed of a Greek root and a Greek suffix, are modern compounds.
Greek and English share many Indo-European cognates.
In some cases, the cognates can be confused with borrowings. Many Latin phrases are used verbatim in English texts— et cetera etc.
Greek technical terminology was often calqued in Latin rather than borrowed,  and then borrowed from Latin into English. Greek phrases were also calqued in Latin, then borrowed or translated into English. The contribution of Greek to the English vocabulary can be quantified in two ways, type and token frequencies : type frequency is the proportion of distinct words; token frequency is the proportion of words in actual texts.
Since most words of Greek origin are specialized technical and scientific coinages, the type frequency is considerably higher than the token frequency. And the type frequency in a large word list will be larger than that in a small word list.
Of the most common words in English, 18 are of Greek origin: place rank , problem , school , system , program , idea , story , base , center , period , history , type , music , political , policy , paper , phone , economic From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from List of English words of Greek origin. This article contains special characters.
Without proper rendering support , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols. The Greek language has contributed to the English vocabulary in five main ways: vernacular borrowings , transmitted orally through Vulgar Latin directly into Old English , e.
The post-classical coinages are by far the most numerous of these.
English words of Greek origin
All etymologies in this article are sourced from the Oxford English Dictionary and can be found under the English word;  somewhat less complete etymologies may also be found in other online and offline dictionaries, such as the Online Etymological Dictionary ,  the Merriam-Webster Dictionary ,  and the American Heritage Dictionary.
Main article: Classical compound.
Ancient Greece portal Language portal Linguistics portal. Ayers, English words from Latin and Greek elements , 2nd ed.
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For a list of words relating to with Greek language origins, see the English terms derived from Greek category of words in Wiktionary , the free dictionary.