Greek


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the Greek calends

A time that is expected to never arrive or occur. (Used after a preposition, especially "at," "on," or "till.") A reference to the day of the new moon and the first day of the month in the ancient Roman calendar, which the Greeks did not observe. You lent that leech John more money? It'll be at the Greek calends when he pays you back.
See also: Greek

beware of Greeks bearing gifts

Be skeptical of a present or kindness from an enemy. The phrase refers to the Trojan horse, a gift to the Trojans from which Greek soldiers emerged and conquered Troy. A: "I can't believe the opposing team made us cupcakes before the big game!" B: "Yeah, I'd beware of Greeks bearing gifts if I were you."
See also: bearing, beware, gift, Greek, of

(it's) (all) Greek to me

This might as well be a foreign language, because I don't understand it at all. The phrase comes from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar. Can you make sense of these instructions? It's all Greek to me!
See also: Greek

(it's all) Greek to (one)

(It is) completely unintelligible, as if it is written in a language that one does not speak. The phrase comes from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar. Mom said these instructions are Greek to her and that we should show them to Dad. A: "Can you understand this error message?" B: "Sorry, Greek to me. You'd better ask one of the programmers."
See also: Greek

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

Prov. Do not trust an opponent who offers to do something nice for you. (A line from the story of the Trojan horse, as told in Vergil's Aeneid.) Jill: I can't believe Melanie brought me cookies today, when we've been fighting for weeks. Jane: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. She probably has ulterior motives. When the rival company invited all his employees to a Christmas party, Tom's first impulse was to beware of Greeks bearing gifts, but then he upbraided himself for being paranoid.
See also: bearing, beware, gift, Greek, of

Greek to (someone)

incomprehensible to someone; as mysterious as Greek writing. I don't understand this. It's all Greek to me. She said it was Greek to her, and that it made no sense at all.
See also: Greek

Greek to me, it's

Also, it's all Greek to me. It is beyond my comprehension, as in This new computer program is all Greek to me. This expression was coined by Shakespeare, who used it literally in Julius Caesar (1:2), where Casca says of a speech by Seneca, deliberately given in Greek so that some would not understand it, "For mine own part, it was Greek to me." It soon was transferred to anything unintelligible.
See also: Greek

be all Greek to someone

BRITISH, AMERICAN or

be Greek to someone

AMERICAN
If you say that something is all Greek to you, you mean that you do not understand it at all. I've no idea what it means — it's all Greek to me. I don't understand legal jargon — it's all Greek to me. Note: The idea behind this expression is that Greek is very difficult to learn and understand, especially because it uses a different alphabet from most other European languages.
See also: all, Greek, someone

it's all Greek to me

I can't understand it at all. informal
Greek meaning ‘unintelligible language or gibberish’ is recorded from the 16th century. In Shakespeare 's Julius Caesar, Casca, having noted that Cicero speaks Greek, adds ‘for mine own part, it was Greek to me’.
See also: all, Greek

beware (or fear) the Greeks bearing gifts

if rivals or enemies show apparent generosity or kindness, you should be suspicious of their motives. proverb
This proverb refers to the Trojan priest Laocoon's warning in Virgil 's Aeneid: ‘timeo Danaos et dona ferentes ’, in which he warns his countrymen against taking into their city the gigantic wooden horse that the Greeks have left behind on their apparent departure. The fall of Troy results from their failure to heed this warning.
See also: bearing, beware, gift, Greek

it’s all ˈGreek to me

(informal, saying) it is too difficult for me to understand: This contract is written in such complicated language that it’s all Greek to me.
See also: all, Greek

Greek to someone

n. something incomprehensible to someone; something as mysterious as Greek writing. I don’t understand this. It’s all Greek to me.
See also: Greek, someone

Greeks bearing gifts, beware of/like

Do not trust enemies who pretend to be friends. The term refers to the treachery of the Greeks during the Trojan Wars, when they entered the city of Troy bearing the “gift” of a large wooden horse that was actually filled with soldiers who then burned down the city.
See also: bearing, beware, Greek, like, of

Greek to me, it's/that's (all)

It is completely unintelligible; I don’t understand. This term, used by generations of schoolchildren, was coined by Shakespeare in Julius Caesar (1.2), where the conspirator Casca says of Cicero’s speech, “For mine own part, it was Greek to me.” In the play Cicero actually spoke in Greek, in order to prevent some people from understanding, but the term soon was transferred to anything unintelligible and has been so used ever since.
See also: Greek

Greek to me

Unintelligible, as in “I didn't understand a word he said—it was all Greek to me.” Shakespeare said it best in this exchange from Julius Caesar: Cassius: Did Cicero say any thing? Casca: Aye, he spoke Greek. Cassius: To what effect? Casca: Nay, an' I tell you that, I'll ne'er look you i' the face again: but those that understood him smiled at one another and shook their heads; but, for mine own part, it was Greek to me.
See also: Greek
References in classic literature ?
These were the Greeks. They had a great literature, they were more learned and quite as skilled in the arts of peace as the Romans.
Baldwin did not long rule as Emperor of the East, and the Greeks after a time succeeded in regaining Constantinople from the western Christians.
In Constantinople the ancient learning and literature of the Greeks had lived on year after year.
The Greeks with their small states had a far clearer apprehension than we can have of the dependence of a constitution upon the people who have to work it.
Based on the proper authority, the Greek original, though with influence from Wiclif and from the Latin and German (Luther's) version, this has been directly or indirectly the starting-point for all subsequent English translations except those of the Catholics.
"These last words were in Greek, and at the same instant the man with a convulsive effort tore the plaster from his lips, and screaming out 'Sophy!
We should not have troubled you, only that our friend who speaks Greek and who began these negotiations has been forced to return to the East.
"'Anybody supplying any information to the whereabouts of a Greek gentleman named Paul Kratides, from Athens, who is unable to speak English, will be rewarded.
' Ayáyvela , signifies 'impurity.' You see that people do know their Greek."
"What indeed!" said the scholar; and he lifted to Claude his impudent eyes into which he had just thrust his fists in order to communicate to them the redness of tears; "'tis Greek! 'tis an anapaest of AEschylus which expresses grief perfectly."
Two Greek papers and one French one were suppressed here within a few days of each other.
I was a little surprised to see Turks and Greeks playing newsboy right here in the mysterious land where the giants and genii of the Arabian Nights once dwelt--where winged horses and hydra-headed dragons guarded enchanted castles--where Princes and Princesses flew through the air on carpets that obeyed a mystic talisman--where cities whose houses were made of precious stones sprang up in a night under the hand of the magician, and where busy marts were suddenly stricken with a spell and each citizen lay or sat, or stood with weapon raised or foot advanced, just as he was, speechless and motionless, till time had told a hundred years!
The bight we knew to be good ground for sturgeon, and there we felt sure the King of the Greeks intended to begin operations.
Carmintel also bothered us, for he kept us busy among the shad-fishers of San Pablo, so that we had little time to spare on the King of the Greeks. But Charley's wife and children lived at Benicia, and we had made the place our headquarters, so that we always returned to it.
The King of the Greeks made his boast that no fish patrol had ever taken him or ever could take him, and the fishermen cheered him and said it was true.