it's all Greek to me
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- (idiomatic) I don't understand any of it; it makes no sense.
- Synonyms: it's all Chinese to me, (I can’t) make head or tail of (it), double Dutch
- I tried reading the instructions, but it’s all Greek to me.
- 1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Iulius Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii], page 112, column 1:
- But thoſe that vnderſtood him, ſmil'd at one another, and ſhooke their heads: but for mine owne part, it was Greeke to me.
- [1653, François Rabelais; Thomas Urquhart and Peter Anthony Motteux, transl., The Works of Francis Rabelais, Doctor in Physick: Containing Five Books of the Lives, Heroick Deeds, and Sayings of Gargantua, and His Sonne Pantagruel. […], London: […] [Thomas Ratcliffe and Edward Mottershead] for Richard Baddeley, […], OCLC 503530; republished in volume II, London: […] Navarre Society […], , OCLC 977536467, book the fifth:
- During the processions they trilled and quavered most melodiously betwixt their teeth I do not know what antiphones, or chantings, by turns. For my part, ’twas all Hebrew-Greek to me, the devil a word I could pick out on’t;]
- 1844, [Frederick] Marryat, chapter XI, in The Settlers in Canada. […], volume II, London: Longman, Brown, Green, & Longmans, […], OCLC 85791999, pages 181–182:
- "Well," said Alfred, "it may be a letter, but I confess it is all Greek to me. I certainly do not see why you wish to keep it a secret. Tell me."
- 1849, Herman Melville, “He is Initiated in the Business of Cleaning Out the Pig-pen, and Slushing Down the Top-mast”, in Redburn: His First Voyage. […], 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, […], OCLC 3268577, page 45:
- I ran after him, and received an order to go aloft and “slush down the main-top mast.” This was all Greek to me, and after receiving the order, I stood staring about me, wondering what it was that was to be done.
- 1904, George M. Fenn, The Ocean Cat's Paw:
- “Look here, Mr. Count,” he said; “I am only a rough Englishman, and a lot of what you have been saying about mission and that sort of thing is just so much Greek to me.”
- 1929, M[ohandas] K[aramchand] Gandhi, chapter VIII, in Mahadev Haribhai Desai and Pyarelal Nair, transl., The Story of My Experiments with Truth: Translated from the Original in Gujarati, volume II, Ahmedabad, Gujarat: Navajivan Press, OCLC 875661731:
- A Parsi lawyer was examining a witness and asking him question regarding credit and debit entries in account books. It was all Greek to me.
- 1965, Harry Ray Bannister, The Education of a Broadcaster, page 16:
- Cavanaugh explained the network-affiliate relationship, which of course was all Greek to me and remained so even after his explanation.
- 2004, Jacob Taubes, The Political Theology of Paul, page 99:
- […] it was expected of me, or it was considered an honor, to lecture on seventeenth-century philosophy: Descartes (which was all Greek to me), Descartes to Spinoza.
I don’t understand any of it