Imagine for a moment you are sitting in your cubicle at work and you overhear a conversation. Should the company continue to sell to the same consumer base, thus ensuring a marginal profit, or should they try to go after a different demographic? Due to the inherent risk and weight of this decision, expressions such as “Greek to me” are being thrown around. Do you actually know what this term means or even the origin behind it? In today’s competitive business environment you must have a working understanding of the business jargon related to your industry, or else you risk being taken advantage of. Read on to increase your general knowledge of American business idioms.

Idiom: Greek to Me

Greek to meThe idiom “Greek to me” is somewhat related to the phrase Double Dutch in the sense that both are used to describe something unintelligible. It’s gibberish to someone who is not familiar with the language used during the conversation or the topic being discussed. It also describes a verbal or written message that contains too much jargon or symbols. The expression is categorized as a dead metaphor which means the phrase has been excessively and repetitively used that it can be understood without knowing its original content. Here’s how the saying can be used in a sentence:

Example: “This math equation is giving me a headache. It’s all Greek to me.”

Origin: The origin of the idiom “Greek to me” is said to derive from a Latin phrase used in mediaeval times, “It is Greek; it cannot be read.” However people commonly associate the phrase to a line from Julius Caesar, one of Shakespeare’s most celebrated masterpieces. The great playwright played with the fact that the characters in the play were Romans, and so they couldn’t understand or speak Greek. Hence the phrase “Greek to me.”

Accent Pros idioms series

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