15 Greek Slang Words to Sound Like a True Greek! | Raptor Translations Magazine (2023)

15 Greek Slang Words to Sound Like a True Greek! | Raptor Translations Magazine (1)

Many people will tell you that the Greek language is one of the coolest and most sophisticated languages on the planet. As such, it stands to reason that Greek slang would similarly be as sophisticated and as cool!

As of the time of writing, only 13.4 million people speak Greek, mostly confined to Greece, a few Greek islands. There are also large Greek-speaking minorities in the US, UK and Turkey.

Looking at Greek, you’ll notice that it doesn’t use the Latin alphabet that English does. Instead, it uses the Greek alphabet. For the purposes of this article, all slang terms will be transliterated for you to use easily!

15. Télos – Whatever

For the most part, Greek slang has remained mostly the same, even with the rise of the internet. In other languages, internet slang has exploded, whilst it hasn’t really done so in Greek. It has, but not to the same extent…

If you were to look for télos in the dictionary, chances are that you wouldn’t find it. This is because télos is actually a shortened down version of the phrase télos pándon, which you would find in the dictionary.

Both télos and télos pándon translate as “Whatever”. Chances are that you’ll hear télos pándon in the streets, used to mean “Whatever” however, on the internet, you’ll just see télos being used to mean “Whatever”.


[Enter boring or monotonous conversation you couldn’t care less about}
“Télos (pándon)”

14. Paidi mou – (Close) friend

Most languages have some from of endearment that can be used between friends. Paidi mou is kind of like that, but is used on a much larger scale, to the point where it arguably doesn’t have an English equivalent!

Paidi mou literally translates as “My child” and was initially used to mean that. Here, it was used as a term of affection – something you’d say to a little child to tell them that you loved them. Over time, its meaning has evolved…

Overwhelmingly, it is used by friends in a way that’s a mixture of “Dude”, “Mate”, “Bro” and all of the above! However, it’s also used between parents and grandparents to their children and grandchildren too!


“Paidi mou, min to káneis aftó”
“Syngnómi giagiá”

13. Filos mou / Filia mou – Mate

If paidi mou isn’t really your style, why not try filos mou or filia mou? Thanks to both British and Australian slang, we are familiar with the term “mate”. In Greece, they have a similar term: filos mou and / or filia mou.

Literally speaking, filos and filia are to do with friendship. Filos translates as “Friend” whilst filia translates as “Friendship”. Mou on the other hand, translates as “my”.

However, filos mou and filia mou are used like “Mate”, “Dude” or “Bro” is.

Due to how the Greek language is, you would only use filos mou to describe a male friend. By the same token, you can only use filia mou to describe a female one.

(Video) 1.4 Your First Greek Words (Erasmian pronunciation)


“Ya filos mou! Teelei?”

12. Teelei? – Wassup?

15 Greek Slang Words to Sound Like a True Greek! | Raptor Translations Magazine (2)

When you were learning Greek, you were probably taught that pós eísai? was the Greek way of saying “How are you?” Whilst this will be used in formal settings, most Greeks will use another phrase to mean the same…

This phrase is teelei? Literally speaking, teelei? has no meaning whatsoever. Despite this, most Greeks teenagers will use it as a slang way of asking how you are, similarly to how many American teenagers use “Wassup?”

Unlike it’s English equivalent, which will just get you weird looks, you can’t use it with older generations. To many of them, using teelei? is a perversion if a young Greek person uses it, and a travesty if a foreigner uses it!


“Ya filos mou! Teelei?”

11. Yamas! – Cheers!

In English, “Cheers!” is one of those phrases that we probably don’t give much thought to, because it is so prevalent. In Greece, the same is true, but instead of “Cheers!” they have their own phrase: yamas.

Technically speaking, yamas is a shortened form of the stineh yamas, which literally means something like “To your health!”. In this instance, yamas is roughly translated as “Health” but is used in the sense of “Cheers!”

You would be correct in assuming that this is prevalent in bars and pubs. With that being said, it is also common at supper, with many Greek people raising their glasses, saying “Yamas!” before they begin eating.



10. Asap – ASAP

As with just about every other language, the internet has revolutionized the Greek language. Similarly to English, text speak has become quite common in Greece, with everyday phrases being shortened down for ease of use.

Due in part to American media being quite common in Greece (both in English and dubbed in Greek). Thanks to this, a slew of American slang terms have entered Greek slang.

By far the most common is asap. Unlike it’s English equivalent, the Greeks don’t spell it in all-caps, but rather, all lower case. Some Greeks also translate it literally into Greek, αμέσως (amésos).


“Póte tha ftásete sto spíti?”

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9. Malaka – Dude

Malaka is a pretty strange Greek slang word. To many Greeks, it is a word they couldn’t live without. Yet in English, there is no direct translation, only rough ones, and even then, they don’t encompass the entirety of malaka’s use in Greek!

Literally speaking, malaka translates as “A**hole” and is occasionally used in this regard. Despite this, the vast majority of the time, it is used somewhat like how we’d use “Dude” or “Bro” in English.

A word of warning with this one: Do not use it with people you don’t know. Whilst uncommon, a few will take it offensively, which may cause its own set of issues, especially so as a foreigner. However, most will understand.


“Ya malaka teelei?”
“Kalós efcharistó!”

8. Rehfeeleh – Dude

If you are slightly older, chances are that you won’t hear malaka as much. You will, but most people who are older than about 45 years old, will often use rehfeeleh in the place of malaka.

Literally speaking, rehfeeleh has no meaning whatsoever. It appeared about 35 years ago with Greek teenagers, and became quite popular. When the internet first appeared, it was one of the first Greek words put onto the internet!

As with malaka, rehfeeleh was quite common pretty much everywhere. In particular, it was common in school playgrounds. Today, it is more common in bars and restaurant as well as in the workplace.


“”Ya rehfeeleh! Teelei?”

7. Alani / Alania – Dude(s)

With that being said, most Greek teenagers don’t really use rehfeeleh that often. To many of them, rehfeeleh is an antiquated term – one that their parents or grandparents would use!

Instead, most Greek teenagers will use alani or alania in the same contexts that you could also use rehfeeleh! Literally, alani comes from the Greek word alana, meaning something like “Alleyway”.

Originally, it was used to describe a rebellious child. But over time, its meaning has changed, to mean something like “Dude”. Alania, on the other hand, is the plural form, translating as something like “Dudes”.


“”Ya alania! Teelei?”

6. Kamaki – Flirt(er)

Kamaki is one of the more unique Greek slang words. This is because the way you’d translate it into English technically wouldn’t be that correct – it’s a term, but it’s not used that often.

In English, we would call someone a flirt, whilst in Greek, they’d call them as kamaki. However, kamaki literally translates as a “Flirter” – a man who flirts with lots of different women, often without success.

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For the most part, the female diminutive, kamakia, is rather uncommon. However, if a woman was flirting with multiple people, chances are they’d be called a kamakia!


“Échete dei ton Leonída? Eínai tóso kamiki!”

5. Éla! – Come!

15 Greek Slang Words to Sound Like a True Greek! | Raptor Translations Magazine (3)

In just about every language, there is some way of saying “Let’s go!” or “Come!” In French, it’s allons-y in Spanish it’s vamos and andiamo in Italian. In Greek slang, it’s éla.

Éla is one of only a few Greek words that we know hasn’t changed much. The general consensus among linguists is that éla is one of the oldest Greek words still used, likely used by the Ancient Greeks themselves!

If you are familiar with other languages spoken on the Mediterranean, such as Arabic and Hebrew, you may be familiar with yalla. Both éla and yalla have the same origins, with éla inspiring yalla.


“Nai, érchomai!”

4. Aragma – To hang out

Aragma is probably one of the funniest Greek slang words. Not for its Greek meaning or uses, but rather for it’s English translation!

If you look up aragma in a Greek dictionary, there are two main meanings. The first, means “Plow” however, this isn’t that common. The second (and more common meaning!), roughly translates as “The act of chilling”.

In English, we’d probably refer to aragma as the verb “To hang out” as this is its closest English equivalent!

If you spend anytime near the beaches of Greece in particular, you’ll hear this a lot. You’ll also hear it as a euphemism for something else…


“Poú pigaíneis?”
“Aragma me fílous”

3. Ya – Hi

This one is sure to play games on your English brain! Whilst it is a shortened version of “Yes” in English, in Greek, it is a shortened down form of the word yassass, meaning both “Hello” and “Goodbye”.

Due to yassass having two meanings, which are the polar opposites of one another, ya also has this double meaning. For the most part, you’ll hear it in the “Hi” form, however, you’ll also hear it as the Greek equivalent of “Bye”.

If you ever visit Greece, and take a stroll into the middle of town, you’ll hear this quite frequently, even if you aren’t trying to listen for it. Commonly, it is used by close friends, but it can be used by and to almost anyone, even if you’ve just met them!

(Video) Joey and the ESL (Joey Learning English).


“Ya Panos! Teelei?”

2. Perpatiémai – Floozy

Some people just can’t keep it in their pants! For whatever reason, they have some insatiable need to sleep around with multiple people. In English, we’d probably call them a “Floozy”.

The Greeks would call them a perpatiémai. Literally, perpatiémai is the past tense of the verb “to walk”. And is used to mean something like “They walk all over people (in bed)” – eg. They sleep around too much.

I’m sure that this is fairly self-explanatory, but use this with caution. As with it’s English equivalent, whilst it isn’t a vulgar term by any means, it is seen as an offensive one. Use this one, at your own peril.


“Echeis dei tin Élena?”
“Eínai tóso perpatiémai!”

1. Halara – Relax

Halara is probably one of the most useful Greek slang words you could use. Not only is it a verb, but it’s also a noun AND an adjective! You’d be hard-pressed to find a phrase that halara couldn’t be used in!

If you look in a Greek dictionary, halara has a number of English meanings. For the most part they are to do with loosening up and relaxing, just the same as their Greek slang meaning.

Confused? Don’t be. Halara was initially a slang term, originally coined in the 19th century, but has come to the forefront in recent years. Due to how widespread it is, it was added to the Greek Dictionary a few years later!


“Ya Atticus, halara alani!”

Which are your favorite Greek slang words? Tell me in the comments!

Chloe Harmon

At 20 years old, Chloe Harmon dropped out of university to travel the world. Here, she would immerse herself in the local culture, often learning their languages. She still do this today!

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What does Yamas mean in Greek slang? ›

'Yamas! ' Any time that you find yourself toasting at supper or a bar, yamas is a word that will be useful. The equivalent of 'cheers', you'll find it difficult to say without a smile on your face.

What does paidi mou mean? ›

Paidi mou – (Close) friend

Most languages have some from of endearment that can be used between friends.

Why do Greeks say Opa? ›

It is frequently used during celebrations such as weddings or traditional dancing. In Greek culture, the expression sometimes accompanies the act of plate smashing. It can also be used to express enthusiasm, shock or surprise, or just after having made a mistake.

What is the meaning of Yassou? ›

yassou = hello or goodbye – γειά σου. A greeting to one person or a friend.

What does vlaka mean in Greek? ›

Vlaka, a Greek word for stupid/idiot male. Often used by Greeks when speaking English.

What does Kalo Mina mean in Greek? ›

The first day of each month, the locals will be greeting just about every single person they know and meet : “Καλό μήνα” (Kalo Mina), which literally means “good month”. It is the Greek way of wishing their friends, family and kins a good month ahead of them, their way of wishing you well.

What does Yaya mean in Greece? ›

In ancient Greek, "Yaya" meant literally "woman." Today, Greek grandmothers are called "Yaya," likely because they have achieved womanhood. In an Afro-Caribbean religious sect, found mostly in Brazil and the Congo, the word "Yaya" refers to a woman who has gone through a religious initiation.

What does Malaki mean in Greece? ›

Malakia (μαλακία, "softness", "weakliness") is an ancient Greek word that means moral weakness or "effeminacy".

What is Agapi Mou in Greek? ›

Agapi Mou (my beloved in Greek) is five stories told by five different people. Part love story, heartache and historical fiction this book engages the reader with stories that by the final pages brings together lost lovers of over 57 years on a veranda overlooking the Ionian Sea on the Island of Zakynthos, Greece.

What do the Greek say when they smash a plate? ›

Breaking plates is often accompanied with 'opa! ' which means oops, and this is done with great cheer and joy.

Why do Greeks smash plates? ›

Smashing plates has been used to signal the end and the beginning, to ward off evil spirits and to express abundance. In symbolic ritual, a plate is smashed at the graveside of the departed following a Greek Orthodox funeral. Life has ended on earth.

What is Parakalo? ›

The word 'parakalo' is used in many ways in Greek - it is even used to answer a phone call or a knock at the door. Perhaps the most common way you can use it, however, is in order to say 'please' and 'you are welcome'. If you are buying a coffee or cheese pie, add 'parakalo' at the end of your request to be polite.

What does Kala mean in Greek? ›

Adverb. καλά • (kalá) (comparative καλύτερα, absolute superlative κάλλιστα) or άριστα (árista) well synonym ▲ Synonym: καλώς (kalós)

What does efharisto in Greek mean? ›

(Ευχαριστώ) Efcharistó is the most popular way to say 'thank you' in Greek. More similar to 'thanks' than 'thank you', efcharistó is an informal way of expressing gratitude.

What is Daxi in Greek? ›

And what is the 'daxi' Greek meaning I hear you ask? Well, it's Greek for 'OK'! While we also use 'OK' a lot, especially in everyday situations, you are bound to hear this word dozens of times during your Greek vacation.

What does Hallas mean in Greek? ›

Greek: possibly a nickname for someone slow from Albanian hala 'yet still'. Compare Chalas .

What does Zoe se mas mean? ›

Funerals. Zoi se mas (ζωή σε μας): meaning “life to us,” this respectful way to express the idea that life goes on is used between members of a grieving family.

What does na sas zisi mean? ›

Pregnancy and Birth

Greek: Να σας ζήσει! Romanization: Na sas zísi! Meaning: “(May your baby) live long!”

What does Katharos mean in Greek? ›

καθαρός • (katharós) m (feminine καθαρή, neuter καθαρό) clean, pure, clear.

What does Lala mean? ›

la-la (plural la-las) (slang, US) Something unusually good; (occasionally) something unusually bad. [ Late 19th century] quotations ▼

What does ANAX mean in Greek? ›

Anax (Greek: ἄναξ; from earlier ϝάναξ, wánax) is an ancient Greek word for "tribal chief, lord, (military) leader". It is one of the two Greek titles traditionally translated as "king", the other being basileus, and is inherited from Mycenaean Greece.

What does Papouli mean in Greek? ›

Updated on 05/23/19. The most commonly used Greek term for grandfather is pappous. This is, of course, a phonetic or Americanized spelling since the Greek language uses a different alphabet. You may also see it rendered as pappoo, papu, or papou. A more affectionate term is pappouli.

What is the female version of malaka? ›

While "malakas" is a strictly masculine noun, a female form of the word exists, malako (μαλάκω), but is a recent coinage and not as widely used, whereas malakismeni (μαλακισμένη) seems to be rather more vintage, but also more common, though this form is only used as a slur.

What is Kalispera in Greek? ›

The same word structure applies throughout the day, so just switch to kalispera (good afternoon) and kalinixta (good night) as time passes. For a more informal greeting, try yasas (hello) or yasou (hi).

What does Yasu Tikanis mean in Greek? ›

Explanation: Yiasou = Hi, hello. Ti kanis? = How are you? Kala = OK, fine.

What does Filakia mou mean? ›

English translation: Kisses my baby

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW) Greek term or phrase: Filakia moro mou. English translation: Kisses my baby.

What is a popular Greek saying? ›

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” – Greek Proverb.

What do Greeks say when they spit? ›

So next time you're at a Greek event or holidaying in Greece and someone spits at you or mutters the words 'ftou', don't worry, it's not really an insult, it's just some superstitious Greek wishing you good luck and protection from the evil eye!

How do Greeks greet each other? ›

A handshake is the most common greeting in Greece. It is exchanged between men, women and children. Close friends may greet each other with a warm embrace or a kiss on the cheek. Others might slap or pat one another's arm or back a few times.

How do Greeks show affection? ›

Physical Contact: Greeks are generally very tactile people, comfortable with open affection. Hugging and kissing is common in public spaces. People often touch one another on the back, arm or leg to emphasise their point as they talk.

What do Greeks call each other? ›

It may surprise you that Greeks don't call themselves “Greek”. Instead Greeks refer to themselves as “Έλληνες”— Hellenes. The word “Greek” comes from the Latin “Graeci”, and through Roman influence has become the common root of the word for Greek people and culture in most languages.

Do Greeks break glasses? ›

Plate smashing is a Greek custom involving the intentional smashing of plates or glasses during celebratory occasions.

What does Yaya stand for? ›

Meaning of Yaya

In ancient Greek, "Yaya" meant literally "woman." Today, Greek grandmothers are called "Yaya," likely because they have achieved womanhood. In an Afro-Caribbean religious sect, found mostly in Brazil and the Congo, the word "Yaya" refers to a woman who has gone through a religious initiation.

What does Opa mean in grandpa? ›

noun. grandad [noun] a grandfather.

What does Yaya mean in Spanish? ›

Etymology 2. Borrowed from Spanish yaya (“granny”).

What is Yazoo in Greek? ›

It is a multi-purpose term with a literal translation of "your health" in English and is used to wish good health upon a person. Sometimes, in informal settings like a casual bar, Greeks might also say "yassou" to make an informal toast in the same way Americans say "cheers."

What does Yiamas mean in Greek? ›

Here's a list of the most common ways you can say “Cheers” in Greek: Stin iyia mas! - To our health! (Commonly shortened to "Yiamas!”)

What is the difference between Yamas and Yassou? ›

Common Greek Phrases

Hello is translated as “Yasas” which is more respectful and polite than “Yasou” which is used in a more friendly way. “Yamas” or “Yasas” is also used as a toast, meaning cheers!

What do Greeks yell in celebration? ›

Hronia polla (χρόνια πολλά): meaning “many years,” as in “and many more” or “many happy returns,” it is the most common Greek wish, used at most celebrations, including birthdays, name days and holidays.

How do you say yasas in Greek? ›

The word is sometimes spelled "giasou" or "ya su". You can also shorten the phrase to "ya" in an informal setting. Say "Yassas" (pronounced "YAH-sas") X Research source in formal situations, or when you're informally greeting two or more people at the same time.


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