Connect
To Top

Greek Loanwords in English

Greek Loanwords in English

The English language has borrowed extensively from the Greek language beginning during the Germanic period when many words borrowed from Latin were originally borrowed into Latin from Greek. English continued to borrow from Greek through Latin during the Old English period. However, most of the Greek loanwords in English were borrowed during the Early Modern English period by scholars, scientists, writers, and other highly educated English speakers. Thus, although English is a Germanic language, many common and everyday words as well as the vocabulary of specialized domains such as science including linguistics are of Greek origin.

List of Greek Loanwords

With all the loanwords borrowed from Greek into English, an exhaustive list would be too lengthy to be possible. The following are some of the commonly used Greek loanwords in English:

A

  • academia
  • academy
  • acoustics
  • aesthetics
  • amnesia
  • analogy
  • analysis
  • analytic
  • anatomy
  • angel
  • anonymous
  • antagonist
  • antarctica
  • anthropology
  • antibiotic
  • antiseptic
  • apathy
  • apocalypse
  • archaeology
  • archipelago
  • architecture
  • arctic
  • armageddon
  • atmosphere
  • atom
  • autocracy
  • autograph

B

  • barbarian
  • bible
  • biology
  • butter

C

  • calligraphy
  • cannabis
  • catapult
  • catastrophe
  • category
  • catharsis
  • chamomile
  • character
  • charisma
  • chord
  • christ
  • chronology
  • clergy
  • cleric
  • clerk
  • climate
  • climax
  • comedy
  • contiguity
  • critic
  • cynic

D

  • data
  • democracy
  • demography
  • demon
  • diagnosis
  • diagonal
  • dialect
  • diameter
  • diamond
  • diaspora
  • dichotomy
  • dinosaur
  • disaster
  • dogma
  • dolphin
  • dragon

E

  • ecology
  • economics
  • ecstasy
  • eczema
  • electron
  • emblem
  • embryo
  • empathy
  • emphasis
  • encyclopedia
  • energy
  • ephemeral
  • epicenter
  • epilepsy
  • epiphany
  • epistemology
  • ethics
  • ethos
  • etiology
  • etymology
  • eucharist
  • euphoria

F

G

  • galley
  • genetics
  • geography
  • geometry
  • giant
  • grammar
  • gymnasium
  • gymnastics

H

  • harmony
  • hemisphere
  • hermeneutics
  • hero
  • hierarchy
  • hippopotamus
  • history
  • homonym
  • hormone
  • horoscope
  • hydraulics
  • hymn
  • hypnosis
  • hysteria

I

  • idiot

J

  • jealousy

K

  • kaleidoscope
  • kinesis

L

  • lexicography
  • lexicology
  • lexicon
  • lexis
  • lion
  • lithography
  • logic
  • lyrics

M

  • mania
  • maniac
  • marble
  • martyr
  • mathematics
  • mechanic
  • melody
  • mentor
  • metamorphosis
  • metaphor
  • meteorology
  • monarch
  • monarchy
  • monastery
  • monk
  • monogamy
  • monotheism
  • morpheme
  • morphology
  • museum
  • music
  • mythology

N

  • nausea
  • necromancy
  • nemesis
  • neurology
  • nostalgia

O

  • ocean
  • oceanography
  • octopus
  • optics
  • organ
  • organism
  • organization
  • orgasm
  • orthodoxy
  • ostracize

P

  • pain
  • paranoia
  • parasite
  • pasta
  • pathos
  • patriarch
  • phenomenon
  • philology
  • philosophy
  • phobia
  • phonograph
  • phonology
  • photograph
  • photography
  • piracy
  • placenta
  • plasma
  • plastic
  • pneumonia
  • poetry
  • prophet
  • protagonist
  • prototype
  • psyche
  • psychiatry
  • psychology
  • psychosis
  • pyramid

Q

  • quince

R

  • rhetoric
  • rhinoceros
  • rhombus
  • rhythm

S

  • scandal
  • schema
  • schizophrenia
  • school
  • scorpion
  • semantics
  • skeleton
  • sketch
  • sphere
  • stadium
  • stereotype
  • sycophant
  • syllogism
  • symbol
  • sympathy
  • symptom
  • synonym
  • syntax

T

  • taxonomy
  • theology
  • theory
  • thermodynamics
  • thesaurus
  • thesis
  • tragedy
  • typography

U

  • urethra

V

W

X

  • xenophobia
  • xylophone

Y

Z

  • zealot
  • zoology

Resources

Loanwords: Major Periods of borrowing in the history of English: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~kemmer/Words/loanwords.html
Wikipedia: Greek Loanwords: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/category:greek_loanwords

More in Information

  • Word Matrix: Pink

    <pink> “pale red color” meaning “pale rose color” first recorded 1733 “small” from Dutch pink “small” Word Sums pink Pink +...

    Heather JohnsonApril 18, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Yester

    <yester> “former, earlier, previous” from Old English geostran “yesterday” Words Sums Yester Yester + s = yesters Yester + Day =...

    Heather JohnsonApril 16, 2019
  • Word Matrix: Somn

    <somn> “sleep” from somnus “sleep” Words Sums Somn + us = somnus Somn + o + G(e)n(e) = somnogen Somn +...

    Heather JohnsonApril 15, 2019
  • Are ‘Yesterday,’ ‘Today’, and ‘Tomorrow’ Nouns or Adverbs?

    Are the words yesterday, today, and tomorrow adverbs or nouns? Oxford Living Dictionaries identifies all three words as an adverb first...

    Heather JohnsonApril 14, 2019
  • Lies Your Grammar Teacher Told You: Singular and Plural

    I recently shared a photo across my social media accounts of the grammar textbook that I currently use with my oldest....

    Heather JohnsonApril 6, 2019