Are some Greek words hard to translate in a single word?


The history of Greek language is one of the world’s oldest recorded living languages. In Greece, we have some words that can’t be understood by foreigners because there are no similar words in another language.

An extremely famous one is the word “filotimo”, which is a word that involves personal pride, dignity, duty, courage, logical thinking and finally sacrifice. Only a person with true respect and empathy can grasp this concept. “Filotimo” is a Greek noun comprised of the words “philo”, which can be translated as “to like” (verb) or as “friend” (noun), and “timo”, meaning “to honor”.

“Filotimo” is a philosophy that is adopted at an early age when children learn how to show respect and love to their family. Growing up, one begins to feel pride for their country and any achievement of someone in the past.

Furthermore, you get this feeling by helping friends with their problems and by acting out of generosity, always without expecting anything in return. Last but not least, “filotimo” means being equal with others and respecting them. If everyone possessed this virtue, then the world would be a better place.

Another word that doesn’t exist in any other language, is the word “leventis”, which describes someone who has a nice body shape and, at the same time, good character. By calling someone a “leventi” means that this person is a tall, upright and sometimes masculine man. A young or an old man who is brave, proud, direct, honest and generous is a “leventis”, which is a word similar to “palikari”. In Greek War of Independence (1821) a “palikari” was a strong member of a fighting group led by a captain.

The above Greek words that can’t be translated in a single word and many others, such as “kaimos” which means deep sadness, are what makes our language truly admirable.



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