My 11 Favorite Greek Words And Their Meaning


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One of the things I really love to do is to read and learn new words, even from languages I don’t speak. Words hold the power of their history, their culture, and the way of living and thinking of their people. All we can feel the magic of knowing the right word and the blessing of sharing this knowledge with other people. In this post, I share my eleven favorite Greek words and their meaning. I hope to find them interesting and share your favorite words in the comments.

  • Psyche

(n. < ψυχή) It is the totality of the human mind, conscious and unconscious. The basic meaning of this ancient Greek word was “life” in the sense of “breath”, formed from the verb “ψύχω”, which means to blow. (Source: Wikipedia).

  • Nephele

(n. < Νεφέλη) It means small cloud, but it was also used by Aristophanes in plural to describe ideas, in his most interesting comedy of all, Nephelae. It is also the first name of the mythical cloud nymph Nephele.

  • Kairos

(n. < καιρός) the right or opportune moment. It signifies a period or season, a moment of indeterminate time in which an event of significance happens (Source: Wikipedia). Ancient Greeks used two words for time: the word “chronos” (<χρόνος) which is quantitative and the word “kairos” which has a qualitative, permanent nature and in modern Greek also means weather.

  • Eunoia

(n. < εύνοια). In modern Greek, it means favor or grace. In rhetoric, eunoia is the goodwill a speaker cultivates between himself/herself and his/her audience, a condition of receptivity.  It comes from the Greek word εὔνοια, which means “well mind” or “beautiful thinking” (Source: Wikipedia).

  • Catharsis

(n. < κάθαρσις) Purification or cleansing. Α therapeutic technique to relieve tension, especially through art and music. It is a metaphor originally used by Aristotle in the Poetics, comparing the effects of tragedy on the mind of a spectator to the effect of a cathartic on the body. Any release of emotional tension (Sources: and Wikipedia).

  • Metanoia

(n. < μετάνοια) The journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life. In rhetoric, it is a correction, a rhetorical device. In theology, it means repentance. And, in psychology, the process of experiencing a psychotic “breakdown” and subsequent, positive psychological re-building or “healing” (source: Wikipedia).

  • Ataraxia

(n. < αταραξία) According to the ancient Grek author Empiricus, it is an untroubled and tranquil condition of the soul. The Greek term was used by philosophers Pyrrho and Epicurus for a lucid state of robust equanimity, characterized by ongoing freedom from distress and worry (source: Wikipedia).

  • Eudaimonia

(n. < ευδαιμονία) It is a Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, “human flourishing” has been proposed as a more accurate translation. Etymologically, it consists of the words good and spirit (in Greek, “eu” and “daimōn“). According to philosopher Aristotle, eudaimonia was used as the term for the highest human good, and so it is the aim of practical philosophy (source: Wikipedia).

  • Nostos

(n. < νόστος) It is a theme used in Greek literature which includes an epic hero returning home by the sea after an extensive journey, which includes being shipwrecked in an unknown location, going through certain trials that test the hero and push him to show a high level of heroism or greatness. The return isn’t just about returning home physically but also about retaining certain statuses and retaining your identity upon arrival. The theme of Nostos is brought to life in Homer’s The Odyssey, where the main hero Odysseus tries to return home after battling in the Trojan War. (source: Wikipedia).

  • Peripeteia

(n. < περιπέτεια) It is a reversal of circumstances or turning point. According to philosopher Aristotle, peripeteia is “a change by which the action veers round to its opposite, subject always to our rule of probability or necessity.” Peripeteia, along with discovery, is the most effective when it comes to drama, particularly in a tragedy (source: Wikipedia).

  • Sophrosyne

(n. < σωφροσύνη) is an ancient Greek concept of an ideal of excellence of character and soundness of mind, which when combined in one well-balanced individual leads to other qualities, such as temperance, moderation, prudence, purity, and self-control. In other languages, there is no single word that is a simple equivalent, but it is sometimes translated into English as prudence, self-control, moderation, or temperance (source: Wikipedia).

Wish you all a beautiful day … xoxo!!!











2 thoughts on “My 11 Favorite Greek Words And Their Meaning

  1. Such a interesting theme dear. I really love this article so well done.
    I love philosophy and many of these terms I wish they were part of my character. I think we can always improve and it would be nice every day to choose one of these issues and try to apply it in our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

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