Our Everyday Greek: You Already Know the Number 2019 in Greek

January 15, 2019
Dimitra Pontoporou

Most of the words for the numbers in Greek are well known, mainly from geometry and sports. Let’s check one example: the number of the New Year 2019 = δύο χιλιάδες δέκα εννέα (DEEo hiliAdes DEka eniA). Is it possible that you already know these Greek numbers from English words?

Δύο means two. The word is familiar to you from the word dialogue, which originally meant a discussion between two persons and is a composite word from the dia-  =δύο, the Greek word for number two and -logue = λόγος, talk.

Χιλιάδες means thousands. The word is familiar to you from the prefix kilo-, which means a thousand. Thereafter the kilo+gram is a thousand grams, the kilo+meter is a thousand meters.

Δέκα is found in the word decathlon, which comes from the Greek word δέκαθλον (DEkathlon). It is a composite word from the number δέκα (DEka), ten and the word άθλος (Athlos), which means the achievement.

Εννέα (eNEa), the number nine, is the root of the word enneagon, which refers to a polygon with nine sides.

Now, let’s check the number 2018 = δύο χιλιάδες δέκα οκτώ (DEEo hiliAdes DEka okTO)

2018 has the same numbers except for the last one. Οκτώ (oKTO), the number eight, is familiar to you from words like octa+pus, the sea creature with eight legs, and octagon, the polygon with nine sides.


The phrases below are widely used in the beginning of the New Year.

Greek phrase           Pronunciation           Meaning

Πάει ο παλιός ο χρόνος      PAi o paliOS o HRonos      The old year is gone

Πάει το 2018 PAi to 2018   2018 is gone

Ήρθε το 2019           EErhte to 2019         2019 is here

Το έτος 2019             to Etos 2019             the year 2019

Τα έτη 2018-2019   ta Eti 2018-2019      The years 2018-2019

Πάει is the third person singular of the verb εγώ πάω (= I go) and it can mean either is gone, or he /she/ it goes. In this case it means is gone. Ήρθε is the third person singular of the simple past tense of the irregular verb εγώ έρχομαι (= I come) and it means either has come, or came, but in this case it means has come.

Η Μαρία πάει στο σχολείο.

EE maREEa PAi STO shoLEEo.

Maria goes to school.

Ο Πέτρος πάει στο Γυμνάσιο.

O PEtros PAi sto yiMNAsio.

Petros goes to high school.

Η γιαγιά ήρθε στο σπίτι μας.

EE yiayiA EErthe sto SPEEti mas.

Grandma came to our house.

Ο μπαμπάς ήρθε στο σπίτι.

O mpaMPAS EErhte sto SPEEti.

Dad came home.


In Greek we have different words that mean the year and the years. Their meaning is exactly the same, but we usually use each one of them in a different phrase. Τα χρόνια is used in the wish «Χρόνια πολλά!», while ο χρόνος is used in the phrases «Πάει ο παλιός ο χρόνος», «Ήρθε ο νέος χρόνος».

Greek word   Pronunciation           Meaning

Ο χρόνος       o HROnos     the year        

Τα χρόνια      ta HROnia     the years

Το έτος           to Etos            the year

Τα έτη             ta Eti   the years


Add the correct word in the phrases below.

… ο παλιός ο …
… ο νέος …
…. πολλά.
…. …. 2019.
Η μαμά … στο σπίτι μας.
Η Μαρία … στο σχολείο.
Η Ελένη … στο σπίτι μας.


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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