Our Everyday Greek: Review: Greek Words you Already Know

November 26, 2018
Dimitra Pontoporou

English words that begin with the prefix geo-, which means earth, come directly from similar Greek words. By analyzing the second component of these words, you will see how many Greek words you already know without realizing it.


English word            Greek word    Pronunciation

Geography    η γεωγραφία  EE geograFEEa

geographer   ο γεωγράφος O geoGRAfos

geographic    γεωγραφικός geographiKOS

geographical γεωγραφικός geografiKOS

Geology         η γεωλογία    EE geoloYEEa

geologist        ο γεωλόγος   O geoLOyos

geologic         γεωλογικός    geoloyiKOS

geological      γεωλογικός    geoloyiKOS

Geometry       η γεωμετρία   EE geomeTREEa

geometer       ο γεωμέτρης  O geoMEtris

geometric       γεωμετρικός  geometriKOS

geometrical   γεωμετρικός  geometriKOS

geocentric     γεωκεντρικός            geoKEntrikos

Geochronology        ηγεωχρονολογία       EE geokhronoloYEEa

Geomorphology       ηγεωμορφολογία      EE geomorpholoYEEa

Geochemistry           ηγεωχημεία   EE geokhiMEEa

geodynamic  γεωδυναμικός           geodinamiKOS

geomagnetic             γεωμαγνητικός          geomagnitiKOS

geophysical  γεωφυσικός   geofisiKOS

Geophysics   ηγεωφυσική  EE geofisiKEE

Geopolitics    ηγεωπολιτική            EE geopolitiKEE

Many English words of disciplines end in the suffixes -logy, -graphy, -metry, which derive from Greek verbs.


Comes from the Greek verb εγώγράφω (eYOGRAfo) and the noun η γραφή (EE graFEE). They mean I write and the writing.


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.


Comes from the Greek verb εγώμετράω (eYOmeTRAo) and the noun τομέτρο (TO MEtro). The verb means I count, I measure and the noun means the measure, the meter.

If we analyze the above words in their components, you will realize that you are familiar with many more Greek words than you may think.

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


Greek word    Pronunciation          Meaning

Τοκέντρο        TO KEntro     the center

Ο κεντρικός   O kentriKOS  central

Η μορφή         EE moRFEE the shape, the form, person

Ο λόγος          O LOyos         the speech, the talk

Ο χρόνος       O KHROnos  time

Η χημεία         EE hiMEEa   chemistry

Η δύναμη       EE DEEnami            power

Ο δυναμικός  OdinamiKOS            dynamic

Ο μαγνήτης    O maGNEEtis           the magnet

Η φύση           EE FEEsi       nature

Η φυσική        EE fisiKEE    physics

Η πολιτική     EE politiKEE politics

Ο πολιτικός   O politiKOS   the politician

Η πόλη           EE POLi         the city, the town


A general rule is that Greek nouns that refer to a discipline usually end in -ια, while in English end in -y. Therefore, the discipline is: γεωγραφ-ία, γεωλογ-ία, γεωμετρ-ία, γεωμορφολογ-ία, γεωχρονολογ-ία (geograph-y, geolog-y, geometr-y, geomorpholog-y, geochronology-y). They are considered of feminine grammatical gender and take the article η.


The words that refer to the relevant scientist usually end in -ος, while in English end in -ist or -er. Ο γεωγράφος, ο γεωλόγος (the geographer, the geologist), but ο γεωμέτρης (=the geometer). Note the connection between the ending -τρης in the Greek word γεωμέτρης and the ending -ter in the English word geometer.


The relevant adjectives end in -ικος, while in English end in -ic or -ical:Γεωγραφικός, γεωλογικός, γεωμετρικός, γεωμαγνητικός, γεωδυναμικός, γεωφυσικός, γεωκεντρικός (geographic or geographical, geologic or geological, geometric or geometrical, geomagnetic, geodynamic, geophysical, geocentric).


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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