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(it's all) Greek to (one)
cliché (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." Chris said that Foucault's theories are all Greek to him? Oh great, who's going to explain them all to us then?
(it's) (all) Greek to me
cliché 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! A: "Can you understand this error message?" B: "Sorry, Greek to me. You'd better ask one of the programmers." I thought I had a handle on Foucault's theories, but this concept of his is all Greek to me.
beware of Greeks bearing gifts
proverb 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."
like Greeks bearing gifts
Said of someone to be wary of, as an enemy offering gifts or kindness with possibly treacherous ulterior motives. The phrase refers to the Trojan horse, a gift to the Trojans from which Greek soldiers emerged and conquered Troy. The consulate received us very coldly, treating us like Greeks bearing gifts. A: "I can't believe the opposing team made us cupcakes before the big game!" B: "Yeah, like Greeks bearing gifts."
that's (all) Greek to me
cliché That might as well be a foreign language, because I don't understand it at all. The phrase comes from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar. A: "I've got some tax forms you need to fill out." B: "Would you mind doing them? That's all Greek to me!"
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
when Greek meets Greek, then comes the tug of war
proverb One does not win easily in a match against an equal. The title comes from Nathaniel Lee's 17th-century play, The Rival Queens, or the Death of Alexander the Great. A: "I know our department head won't go quietly in this fight for funding, even against the CEO." B: "Yeah, but will those two titans be able to come to an agreement? When Greek meets Greek, then comes the tug of war."
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
be all Greek to someoneBRITISH, AMERICAN or
be Greek to someoneAMERICAN
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.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
it's all Greek to meI 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’.
beware (or fear) the Greeks bearing giftsif 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.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
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.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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.
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price