Our Everyday Greek: Greek Words you Already Know from Earth Sciences

November 11, 2018
Dimitra Pontoporou


Η γηi s found in the form of the prefix geo-, γεω- in Greek, in many English words. They all come from Greek words.If we analyze these words in their compounds, you will realize that you are familiar with many more Greek words than you may think.

English word Greek word Pronunciation
Geocentric γεωκεντρικός geokentriKOS
Geochronology γεωχρονολογία geokhronoloYEEa
Geomorphology γεωμορφολογία geomorpholoYEEa
Geochemistry γεωχημεία geokhiMEEa
Geodynamic γεωδυναμικός geodinamiKOS
Geomagnetic γεωμαγνητικός geomagnitiKOS
Geomagnetismγεωμαγνητισμός geomagnitiSMOS
Geophysical γεωφυσικός geofisiKOS
Geophysics γεωφυσική geofisiKEE
Geopolitics γεωπολιτική geopolitiKEE

Geo+centric = γεω+κεντρικός>γη+ κέντρο.
Geo+dynamic = γεω+δυναμικός> γη + δύναμη
Geo+magnetic = γεω+μαγνητικός> γη + μαγνήτης
Geo+morpho+logy = γεω+μορφο+λογία > γη + μορφή + λόγος
Geo+chrono+logy = γεω+χρονο+λογία > γη + χρόνος + λόγος
Geo+chemistry = γεω+χημεία> γη + χημεία
Geo+physical = γεω+φυσικός> γη + φυσικός
Geo+physics = γεω+φυσική> γη + φυσική
Geo+politics = γεω+πολιτική> γη + πολιτική

Τοκέντροisthecenter in English.
Ηδύναμη is the power, the strength, familiar to you from English words that come from Greek, like dynamic, dynamite, dynasty (= the family of the powerful).
Ηφύσηis the nature in Greek. The words Physics (ηΦυσική), and physical (φυσικός) derive from this root.
Ηπόληis the city, the town in Greek. From this word derive words like: ηπολιτική (politics), and οπολιτικός (the politician).

Ageneral rule is that Greek nouns that refer to a science discipline usually end in -ια, while in English end in -y. Therefore, the discipline is: Γεωχημείαin Greek, Geochemistr-y in English.
They may also end in -logy. This ending comes from the Greek verb εγώλέω (eYOLEo) and the noun ο λόγος (O LOyos). The verb means I say, I tell, I talk about and the noun means the talk.
The relevant adjectives end in -ικος, while in English end in -ic or -ical: γεωκεντρικός, γεωμαγνητικός, γεωδυναμικός (geocentric, geomagnetic, geodynamic).

Greek word Pronunciation Meaning
Τοκέντρο TOKEntro the center
Οκεντρικός OkentriKOS central
Ημορφή EEmoRFEE the shape, the form, person
Ολόγος OLOyos the speech, the talk
Οχρόνος O KHROnos time
ΗΧημεία EEhiMEEa chemistry
Ηδύναμη EEDEEnami power
Ο δυναμικός OdinamiKOS dynamic
Ομαγνήτης O maGNEEtis magnet
Ηφύση EE FEEsi nature
ΗΦυσική EE fisiKEE physics
Ηπολιτική EE politiKEE politics
Οπολιτικός OpolitiKOS thepolitician
Ηπόλη EE POLi the city, the town
Ορόλος OROlos the role

Can you understand and translate the Greek phrases below?They are all built with Greek words used in English. We just added the basic verbs έχει= has, έχουν = have and είναι= is.
1.Το κέντρο της γης είναι μαγνήτης.
2. Η Γεωχημεία και η Γεωφυσική έχουν κεντρικό ρόλο στη φύση.
3. Ο λόγος έχει δύναμη.
4. Tο κέντρο τηςγης.
5. Ο πολιτικός έχει δύναμη.
6. Ο πολιτικός είναι δυναμικός.

Match the English phrases below with the Greek ones above.
1.Geochemistry and Geophysics have a central role in the nature.
2. The politician has power.
3. The earth’s center.
4. The earth’s center is a magnet.
5. The speech is powerful.
6. The politician is dynamic.

i (idiom), ee (needle), e (energy), o (organism), oo (boot), y (yes), h (helium), th (theory), d (the). The capitalized syllables are accented.


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