Our Everyday Greek: Greek You Already Know: So Many English Words from Philo-

February 17, 2019
Dimitra Pontoporou

Φιλώ (phiLO) is an ancient Greek verb, which means I love. There are so many English words that begin with the Greek verb φιλώ, philo- and that also have a Greek second compound, like Philadelphia, philanthropist, philology, philhellene etc. We believe you can enrich your Greek vocabulary just by bringing to your attention these Greek words you already know.


Philanthropist is the person who loves and cares about humans in need. The second compound is the Greek word for the human, άνθρωπος (philo+ anthropos).


Hellene is the transliteration in English of the word ο Έλληνας, the Greek. Philhellene is α person, who, though not Greek, loves the Greek people, the Greek nation, and its achievements, and Greek culture.


The word harmony is the Greek αρμονία. Philharmonic means he who loves the harmony.


The name Philip is a compound one from the words philo+ippos. Φιλώ + ίππος. Ίππος is horse in ancient Greek. Philip is a name that means the person who loves horses.


Λόγος in ancient Greek means both speech (oral and written) and logic. It is interesting that in ancient Greek thought, speaking and rational thinking were closely connected. English words that end in -logy mean talking about something in a rational way, using the scientific method; they usually refer to names of scientific disciplines. Philology (philo+logy) is the love of the oral and written λόγος.


Philosophy (philo+Sophia) is the love of wisdom. Η σοφία is the wisdom and a name as well.


Τέλος means the end and the tax as well. It also means the stamp on the envelope, which is actually the tax, the money we pay to the state to send the letter by mail. The philatelist is the person who loves collecting the stamps.


Philadelphia is the name of a U.S. city. The word is Greek and it is compound from Philo+adelphia. Τα αδέλφια are the siblings. Philadelphus is the person who loves his siblings.



English word             Greek word      Pronunciation

Philadelphus             φιλάδελφος      phiLAdelphos

Philanthropic             φιλανθρωπικός philanthropiKOS

Philanthropical          φιλανθρωπικός philanthropiKOS

Philanthropist            φιλάνθρωπος   phiLAnthropos

Philanthropy              η φιλανθρωπία EE philanthroPEEa

Philatelic           φιλοτελικός philoteliKOS

Philatelist          φιλοτελιστής philoteliSTEES

Philately            ο φιλοτελισμός O philoteliZMOS

Philharmonic    φιλαρμονικός   philarmoniKOS

Philhellene       ο φιλέλλην        O phiLElin

Philhellenic      φιλελληνικός    philelliniKOS

Philhellenism   ο φιλελληνισμός       philelliniZMOS

Phillip                Φίλιππος PHEElipos

Philologic          φιλολογικός      philologiKOS

Philological      φιλολογικός      philologiKOS

Philologist        ο φιλόλογος      O phiLOlogos

Philology          η φιλολογία       EE philoloYEEa

Philosopher      ο φιλόσοφος     O phiLOsophos

Philosophic      φιλοσοφικός     philosophiKOS

Philosophical   φιλοσοφικός     philosophiKOS

Philosophize    φιλοσοφώ         philosoPHO

Philosophy       η φιλοσοφία      EE philosoPHEEa



Below are the Greek words you already know from English compound words with philo-.

Greek word      Pronunciation  Meaning

ο αδελφός         O adeLFOS      the brother

τα αδέλφια        TA aDElfia        the siblings

ο άνθρωπος     O Anthropos     the man

ο Έλληνας        O Elinas   the Greek

το τέλος    TO TElos          the end, the tax

η αρμονία EE armoNEEa the harmony

ο ίππος    O EEpos           the horse

ο λόγος    O LOyos           the reason, the speech

η σοφία    EE soFEEa      the wisdom

η Σοφία    EE soFEEa      Sofia

ο σοφός   O soFOS          the wise (male)

η σοφή     EE soFEE        the wise (female)



By using two verbs είναι=is (EEne) and έχει=has (Ehi) we have built sentences with the above vocabulary. Can you translate them?

Ο Σωκράτης είναι φιλόσοφος.

Ο παππούς μου είναι σοφός.

Η γιαγιά μου είναι σοφή.

Η Σοφία είναι φίλη μου.

Ο Έλληνας είναι φιλάνθρωπος.

Οι Αμερικάνοι είναι φιλέλληνες.

Έχω δύο αδέλφια.

Είναι το τέλος;

Ο λόγος του έχει αρμονία.



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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