Our Everyday Greek: This January we Speak in Greek about Snowballs

January 14, 2018
Dimitra Pontoporou

Snow is the kids favorite and the parents’ headache.

This is a common dialogue between a mother (M) and her kids (K)about the snow.


Greek phrase            Pronunciation          Meaning

K: Μαμά, τικαιρόκάνει          maMA TEE keROKAni        What’s the weather

σήμερα;SEEmera?  today?

M: Χιονίζει.    hioNEEzi.      Itsnows.

K: Ρίχνει πολύ χιόνι;            REEhnipoLEEhiOni?         Does it snow a lot?

M: Ναι, πολύ.            NE, poLEE.   Yes, a lot.

K: Κάνειπολύκρύο;               KAnipoLEEKREEo?           Is it very cold?

M: Ναι, κάνειπαγωνιά.         NE, KAnipayoniA.   Yes, it is freezing cold.

K: Οι δρόμοι έχουν πάγο;    EE DROmiEhoonPAyo?    Is there ice on the roads?

M: Ναι, έχουνπολύπάγο      NE, EhoonpoLEEPAyo      Yes, there is ice

καιπολύχιόνι.            KE poLEEhiOni.      and a lot of snow.

K: Θα πάμε σχολείο σήμερα;          THA PAmeshoLEEoSEEmera? Shall we go to school today?

M: Όχι, δεν θα πάτε σχολείο.          Ohi, DEN THA Pate shoLEEo.      No, you won’t go to school.

K: Πάμεναπαίξουμε  PAme NA PExoome            Shall we play

χιονοπόλεμο;hionoPOlemo?         snow ball fight?

M: Πάμε!         PAme!            Let’s go!

K: Νακάνουμεκαι      NA KAnoome KE     Shall we make

έναχιονάνθρωπο!     EnahioNAnthropo!  a snow man?


Greek phrase            Pronunciation          Meaning

Τι         TEE    what

Οκαιρός         keROS           weather

Κάνει  KAni   does, is

Σήμερα           SEEmera       today

Τοκρύο                       ΤΟKREEo     cold

Πολύ   poLEE            very

Θα       THA    will

Δεν      DEN   not

Τοχιόνι           TO hiONi snow

Χιονίζει.          hioNEEzi.      It is snowing, snows.

Ρίχνειχιόνι.    REEhnihiOni.           It snows.

Οδρόμος /-οι O DROmos /-I           road, street

Οπάγος          O PAyos        ice

Έχουν                        Ehoon                        they have

Ηπαγωνιά      EE payoniA   freezing cold

Τοπαγωτό      TO payoTO    ice cream

Πάμε   PAme let’s

Δενθαπάτε     DEN THA PAte         you won’t go

Τοσχολείο      TO shoLEEo school

Ναπαίξουμε   NA PExoome            to play

Νακάνουμε    NA KAnoome           to make

Οχιονάνθρωπος       O hioNAnthropos     snowman

Οχιονοπόλεμος        O hionoPOlemos     snowball fight


Τοχιόνι is the noun, the snow, from which derives the verb χιονίζει. Πάγος means ice. From this word derive the nouns η παγωνιά, icy cold and το παγωτό, the ice cream.


In Greek in order to describe the weather, we use the third person singular of the appropriate verb. The verb is either χιονίζει, it snows, or ρίχνειχιόνι, which verbatim means it drops snow.

Ιn order to form a question about the weather, we keep the word order and we just add the question mark at the end of the sentence. Kάνει κρύο σήμερα. Κάνει κρύο σήμερα; -Ναι, κάνει κρύο.- Όχι, δεν κάνει κρύο.

In order to form the negative form of the verb, we just put the word δενin front of it. Δεν κάνει κρύο. Δεν χιονίζει. Δεν ρίχνει χιόνι.


In English the word kairos, καιρός, means a propitious moment for decision or action.

The word χιονάνθρωπος is a compound word from χιόνι+άνθρωπος, the human. In English we find the word άνθρωπος in words like anthropology(ηανθρωπολογία), anthropocentrism (οανθρωποκεντρισμός).

The word χιονοπόλεμος is also a compound one from χιόνι+πόλεμος, the war. In English we find the word πόλεμος in polemic.


Match the Greek phrases with their translation in English.

1.Τι καιρό κάνει σήμερα;      1. Isitverycold?

  1. Κάνειπολύκρύο; 2. Is it icy cold?
  2. Κάνειπαγωνιά; 3. What is the weather today?
  3. Οιδρόμοιέχουνπάγο; 4. Is there ice on the streets?


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


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