Our Everyday Greek: Greek you Already Know: Philo Means I Kiss

February 2, 2019
Dimitra Pontoporou

February is the month of St. Valentine. Therefore, February’s classes will be on Greek words that mean love and are used in English. English words that begin with philo-, like Philadelphia, philanthropist, philology, philhellene etc., come from Greek.

Φιλώ (phiLO) is an ancient Greek verb, which means I love. Nevertheless, in modern Greek we don’t use the verb φιλώ (philo) in its original meaning, I love. In modern Greek φιλώ means I kiss. The fact that the ancient Greek verb of love has been chosen to describe the action of kissing is of particular importance, because it underlines the feeling of love, when we kiss somebody. In everyday speaking we use the φιλάω type of the verb φιλώ.

Three important words derive from the verb φιλώ. Το φιλί (TO fiLEE) =the kiss ο φίλος (O FEElos) =the friend (male) and η φίλη (EE FEEli) =the friend (female).



This is how the verb φιλάω, I kiss, is conjugated.

Greek verb    Pronunciation           Meaning

Εγώ φιλά-ω   eYO fiLAo      I kiss

Εσύ φιλ-άς    eSEE fiLAS   you kiss (sing.)

Η Μαρία φιλά-ει        EE maREEa fiLAi    Maria kisses

Εμείς φιλ-άμε            eMEES fiLAme         we kiss

Εσείς φιλ-άτε eSEES fiLAte            you kiss (plur.)

Τα παιδιά φιλ-άνε     TA pediA fiLAne       the kids kiss



Εγώ σε φιλάω. eYO SE fiLAO. I kiss you.

Φιλάω το φίλο μου. fiLAo TO FEElo moo. I kiss my friend.

Ο φίλος μου μού δίνει ένα φιλί. O FEElos moo moo DEEni Ena fiLEE. My friend gives me a kiss.

Ο Γιάννης με φιλάει. O yiAnis ME fiLAi. John kisses me.

Η Μαρία φιλάει τον Πέτρο. EE maREEa fiLAi TON PEtro. Maria kisses Peter.

Ο Πέτρος φιλάει τη Μαρία. O PEtros fiLAi TEE maREEa. Peter kisses Maria.

Ο Πέτρος μου δίνει ένα φιλί. O PEtros moo DEEni Ena fiLEE. Petros gives me a kiss.

Ο μπαμπάς φιλάει τη μαμά. O mpaMPAS fiLAi TEE maMA. Dad kisses mom.

Ο μπαμπάς φιλάει την αδελφή μου. O mpaMPAS fiLAi TEEn adelFEE moo. Dad kisses my sister.

Η μαμά φιλάει τον αδελφό μου. EE maMA fiLAi TON adeLFO moo. Mom kisses my brother.

Τα παιδιά φιλάνε τη γιαγιά. TA pediA fiLAne TEE yiayiA. The kids kiss grandma.

Εμείς φιλάμε τον παππού. eMEES fiLAme TON paPOO. We kiss grandpa.

Εσείς φιλάτε τη μαμά το βράδυ; eSEES fiLAte TΕΕ maMA TO VRAdi? Do you (plural) kiss mom goodnight?

Σε φιλάει ο μπαμπάς σου το βράδυ; SE fiLAi O mpaMPAs soo TO VRAdi? Does your dad kiss you goodnight?



Greek word   Pronunciation           Meaning

Το φιλί            TO fiLEE        the kiss

Δίνω   DEEno           I give

Ένα φιλί         Ena fiLEE      a kiss

Μου δίνει       MOO DEEni  he/she/it gives me

Ο φίλος          O FEElos       the friend (male)

Η φίλη            EE FEEli        the friend (female)

Εμείς  eMEES          we

Με       ME      me

Μου    MOO   my, me

Εσείς  eSEES           you (plural)

Σε        SE       you

Σου     SOO   your

Την αδελφή μου       TEEN adeLFEE moo          my sister (accusative)

Τον αδελφό μου       TON adeLFO moo   my brother (accusative)

Τη γιαγιά        TEE yiayiA    the grandma (accusative)

Τον παππού TON paPOO the grandpa (accusative)

Τη μαμά         TEE maMA   the mom (accusative)

Τον μπαμπά  TON mpaMPA          the dad (accusative)

Τα παιδιά      TA pediA       the kids


Note that the person which is being kissed is put in accusative case and takes the article το(ν) (male) or τη(ν) (female).



Try to translate in English.

Η φίλη μου μού δίνει ένα φιλί.

Η Ελένη με φιλάει.

Η Ελένη φιλάει τον Πέτρο.

Η μαμά φιλάει τον μπαμπά.

Η γιαγιά με φιλάει.

Ο Πέτρος μου δίνει ένα φιλί.



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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