“Philotimo”: A Greek word packed with so much meaning, it can’t be defined

5 November 2018
660 Views

Related Stories

BBC: The “mystery” of the Greek word philotimo (video)
Philotimo, is a special Greek word that even Greeks themselves have trouble defining or translating, so much so that it even became a hot topic tackled by English broadcaster BBC, in their article “Philotimo: the Greek Word that can’t be translated.”

Vassilios P Vertoudakis, lecturer in Ancient Greek philology at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens told BBC, “All the same, Philotimo has become one of the building blocks of the Greek disposition because of the unique standing of Greece in relation to what we call the West.”

He explained that Philotimo comes from the Ancient Greek word philotimia (φιλοτιμία), of which the first attested written reference dates to the dawn of the Greek classical period (6th and 7th Centuries BC) in the writings of lyric poet Pindar.

It’s no surprise there is no translation for this word, as you need to experience it in order to truly understand it.

In most common dictionaries, the word Philotimo describes a list of virtues that include honour, dignity and pride, the ideal actions and behaviours, hospitality, and warmth received by another.

The saying “actions speak louder than words” comes to mind when trying to explain Philotimo, as it’s easier to give examples of when you have experienced Philotimo, rather than trying to define the word itself.

You may be interested

Greece ranked among top 8 honeymoon destination on Pinterest
GREECE
shares24 views
GREECE
shares24 views

Greece ranked among top 8 honeymoon destination on Pinterest

Panos - Apr 20, 2021

Greece is ranked among the top 8 honeymoon destinations in the world by users of the Pinterest platform, according to…

How a BA pilot got sucked out of a cockpit window, but lived to tell the tale
WORLD
shares23 views
WORLD
shares23 views

How a BA pilot got sucked out of a cockpit window, but lived to tell the tale

Panos - Apr 20, 2021

Like all airlines, British Airways has experienced a dreadful 2020, dogged by a virus that has devoured the demand for…

Underfloor central heating from 2700 B.C. in Minoan Crete
GREECE
shares21 views
GREECE
shares21 views

Underfloor central heating from 2700 B.C. in Minoan Crete

Panos - Apr 20, 2021

From 7000 BC they built cylindrical houses with flat or vaulted roofs, at the top of which was an opening.…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.