Our Everyday Greek: Survival Guide for Greece Travelers: Is the Water Drinkable?



When travelers get to a place, one of the first questions they ask is, if the water is drinkable. They also want to know how to ask for bottled water. In Greece, when you ask for water in a super market or in a cafe, you get a bottled water, usually spring water, without gas.

Τwo verbs are useful. The verb: πίνεται; is it drinkable? and the verb: θέλω, I want, I would like. The Greek word for the glass, ποτήρι, comes from the verb πίνω = I drink.

The ancient Greek word for the water was ύδωρ, (EEdor). The word ύδωρ (hydro-) is a component of many English words, like hydrodynamic, hydrotherapy, hydromassage, hydromel, hydrate, hydrant, hydroid. In Byzantine (Medieval) Greek the word νερόwas used for the water. It means young water, fresh water and is composed from the Greek word νέο, young, fresh andύδωρ, the water. English words like neon, neologism, neoclassical have as a first compound the word νέο, new, young.


Here is how you will form your question and the possible answers. -Το νερό πίνεται; TOneROPEEnete? Isthewaterdrinkable?

-Το νερό της βρύσης πίνεται; TO neRO TEES VREEsisPEEnete? Is the tap water drinkable?

- Ναι, πίνεται. NE PEEnete. Yes, it is drinkable.

- Όχι, δεν πίνεται. OhiDEEnPEEnete. No, it isn’t drinkable.

ASKING FOR WATER Below are the phrases we use to ask for a bottle or for a glass of water. In everyday Greek it’s not a mistake to say “I want some water”, which means I want a bottle of water. Θέλωνερό. THEloneRO I want (I would like) some water.

Θέλω ένα μπουκάλι νερό, μεγάλο. THEloEnabooKAlineRO, meYAlo I want (I would like) a big bottle of water.

Θέλω ένα νερό, μεγάλο. THEloEnaneROmeYAlo I want (I would like) a big bottle of water.

Θέλω δύο μπουκάλια νερό, μεγάλα. THEloDEEobooKAlianeRO I want (I would like) two bottles of water, big ones.

Θέλωένανερό,μικρό. THEloEnaneROmiKRO I want (would like) a small bottle of water.

Θέλω ένα μπουκάλι νερό, μικρό. THEloEnabooKAlineRO, miKRO I want (I would like) a small bottle of water.

Θέλω δύο μπουκάλια νερό, μικρά. THEloDEEobooKAlianeRO, miKRA I want (I would like) two bottles of water, small.

Θέλωέναποτήρινερό. THEloEnapoTEErineRO I want (I would like) a glass of water.

Θέλωδύοποτήριανερό. THEloDEEopoTEErianeRO I want (I would like) two glasses of water.

BASIC VOCABULARY Greek word Pronunciation Meaning Θέλω THElo I want (I would like) Τονερό TO neRO water Τομπουκάλι TO booKAli the bottle Ταμπουκάλια TA booKAlia the bottles Τοποτήρι TO poTEEri the glass Ταποτήρια TA poTEEria the glasses Έναμπουκάλινερό EnabooKAlineRO a bottle of water Δύομπουκάλιανερό DEEobooKAlianeRO two bottles of water Έναποτήρινερό EnapoTEErineRO a glass of water Δύοποτήριανερό DEEopoTEErianeRO two glasses of water Μεγάλο meYAlo big (singular) Μεγάλα meYAla big (plural) Μικρό miKRO small (singular) Μικρά miKRA small (plural) Εγώπίνω eYOPEEno I drink Πίνεται; PEEnete? Is it drinkable? Ηβρύση EE VREEsi the tap (faucet) Τηςβρύσης TEES VREEsis of the tap Ναι NEE yes Όχι Ohi no

GREEK YOU ALREADY KNOW Μικρό, in English words like microcosm, microscope, microtip. Μεγάλο, in English words like megalomania, megabyte, megalithic.

PRONUNCIATION KEY i (ill), ee (beer), e (ever), o (organ), oo (boot), y (yes), h (helium), th (theory), d (the). The capitalized syllables are accented.