The Greeks Had a Word for It


42 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7713-0144-8





Reviewed by Alan D. Booth

Alan D. Booth is an associate professor in the Classics Department at
Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.


English vocabulary owes much to ancient Greek; for example, the common words “symbol” and “problem” are direct borrowings, while “telephone” and “photograph” are forged from Greek elements to name modern inventions. Coinages such as these are being constantly added to our tongue, and the student who has a grasp of the basic Greek terms employed will naturally feel more comfortable with this strain of our scientific and technical vocabulary. Herein lies the principal aim of this slim but effective volume. After emphasizing the debt of English to ancient Greek, Taylor explains the development of the Greek alphabet, thus familiarizing the student with Greek letters and their pronunciation. Then follow twelve units which exercise the student in Greco-English vocabulary. Basic terms are presented in Greek and in transliteration, and English forms and compounds are explained; the student is invited to employ such vocabulary in sentences, to provide definitions and explanations of Greek words, and to transcribe from Greek to English and vice versa. Working through this compact text will surely provide a useful acquaintance with our Greek heritage.


Taylor, B.C., “The Greeks Had a Word for It,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,