All Greek to me
by DUB MOWERY
Jan 14, 2014 | 386 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WHETHER OR NOT the expression “all Greek to me” was derived from the fact that the New Testament was originally written in koine Greek, the common Greek language of the first century, I don’t know. That is probably how it came about. The phrase “all Greek to me” has reference to that which is incomprehensible because of being complex and unintelligible. It would at least take a lot of time to learn. That which we know little about would fall into that category. Certainly a foreign language such as the Greek language could not be understood if an individual had never studied or learned it.

The expression dates back to at least the early part of the 17th century. Two different playwrights of that period used it. Thomas Dekkar included it in his play: “Patient Grissel,” in 1603 as follows: “FAR: Asking for some Greek poet, to him he fails. I’ll be sworn he knows not so much as one character of the tongue.” RIC: “Why, then its Greek to him.”

IT WAS LATER used by Shakespeare in “Julius Caesar in 16:16. He has CASSIUS saying: “Did Cicero say anything?” To which CASCA responded: “Ay, he spoke Greek.” CASSIUS then ask: “To what effect?” CASCA answered: “Nay, an I tell you that, I’ll ne’er look you in 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.”

Thus, the expression is used now days in referring to that in which we do not understand.

Dub Mowery is a Gospel preacher in the Church of Christ. A native of Southeast Oklahoma, he is the author of Colloquial Sayings & Expressions (Morris Publishing, 2008)

nativeheritage1@gmail.com
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