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"What I liked about Greece was [...] the impressive force of the language itself, unconfined by dictionaries, spoken in the streets, in cafes and in the country."
    Peter Levi. The Hill of Kronos. 1980.

  • This is a guide for editors of Greek terms, this being the Modern Greek language.
  • For help with the ancient or classical language refer to the Ancient Greek guide.
  • Editors should note that Entry layout explained is their primary source for guidance.
  • English Wiktionary's definitions are written in English, definitions in Greek can be found in the Greek Wiktionary - το Βικιλεξικό.

Forms of Greek[edit]

The following languages are recognised in Wiktionary:

the language of Linear B the most ancient attested form of the Greek language.
  • Ancient Greek – the language of Homer and Socrates, in use between say 900-300 BC, including its original dialects, of which (Attic) became predominant.
  • Classical Greek – sometimes synonymous with Ancient Greek, often refers to the language of Greek classical literature (600-300 BC).
  • Koine (Hellenistic or New Testament Greek) – the common (hence Koine) language of the eastern Mediterranean, of Alexander the Great and the New Testament of the Bible, used from say 300 BC until AD 300.
  • Medieval or Byzantine Greek in use from about A.D. 325 until 1453.
  • Katharevousa – the classically based artificial Greek language created at the start of Greece's independence from the Ottoman Empire, it was used for formal and official purposes until 1976.
  • Demotic Greek – the vernacular language which began to develop as early as the 11th century A.D. It became the official language of Greece in 1976.
  • Modern Greek – more specifically: the standardised form of Demotic Greek with some Katharevousa influences, often referred to as Standard Modern Greek. It has been taught in Greek schools since 1982.
  • Modern Greek dialects – current in Greece, Crete, Cyprus and elsewhere.

Writing Greek[edit]

Wikipedia has a section on the Greek alphabet, Modern Greek uses the monotonic system with a single stress accent in nearly every word of more than one syllable; in contrast the polytonic system used for Katharevousa and Ancient Greek entries means that many terms will have multiple diacritical marks.


Nearly all words of more than one syllable will have an acute accent on one of the last three syllables. A few words with a single syllable like πώς are accented, in this case indicating interrogation and differentiating it from πως.

  • The diaeresis - used in some words like καϊμάκι which require separated vowel sounds, occasionally a combination will be encountered, as in καΐκι.
  • Capital letters are usually unaccented as in the abbreviation for Ένωση Σοβιετικών Σοσιαλιστικών Δημοκρατιών (ΕΣΣΔ) and capitalised ήλιο (ΗΛΙΟ). in contrast, words that begin with a stressed vowel should carry an accent (Έλληνας).
  • Enclisis - sometimes when two words are combined phonetically the first will develop an extra stress, as in the statement "Το όνομά μου είναι Σαμ" (My name is Sam).

Entry structure[edit]

Greek words illustrating page structure are listed in Greek model pages.

Greek terms can be classified as shown above and given the level 2 heading Greek, Ancient Greek or Mycenaean Greek. When Ancient and Modern forms have different diacritical marks they will have separate entries, for example the Ancient polytonic ?δός (?dós) and the Modern monotonic οδός (odós). Often they share the same form, for example: βαθύς (vathýs) which has an entry with two language headings.

Wiktionary will eventually include all Greek's many inflected forms; each of which will link back to the main (lemma) entry (see: αγγούρια). The usual lemma forms are: for nouns the nominative singular, for pronouns and adjectives the masculine, nominative singular, and for verbs the 1st person singular of the present tense.

Their are two obligatory headings for an entry: language and part of speech (POS):

  1. ==Language==   (see: κουάρκ) If Ancient and Modern have the same form, like βαθύς, the Greek section follows the Ancient with an obligatory intermediate spacer of four hyphens "‑‑‑‑".
  2. ===Part of speech===   (see: αγγούρι) This is followed by a headword line, in our example {{el-noun| f |αγγούρια}} and the gloss or glosses.


The model noun αγγούρι shows the structure for a straightforward entry, ====Declension==== is an obligatory heading unless the term is undeclinable.

  • Headword line — the "part-of-speech" heading is always followed by a "headword line". In the example given this is {{el-noun| f |αγγούρια}} with obligatory gender argument (here "f") and "αγγούρια" the optional plural form. The template page {{el-noun}} gives details of the other options available.
  • Declension   this heading should be followed by one of the following:


The model verb λύνω shows the structure for a straightforward entry, ====Conjugation==== is an obligatory heading.

  • Headword line — the "part-of-speech" heading is always followed by a "headword line", in this example {{el-verb|past=έλυσα|passive=λύνομαι}} . The template page {{el-verb}} gives details of the options available.
  • Conjugation   this heading should be followed by one of the following:


The model μεταφρ. shows the structure for a straightforward entry.

FAQs for special cases[edit]