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Definition of Idiomatic Expressions


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What does it's all Greek to someone mean?


Meaning of idioms with examples...

it's all Greek to someone

The phrase 'it's all Greek to me' means that something is completely unintelligible as if it is written in a language that one does not speak.

The origin of the phrase 'it's all Greek to me'



It is believed that the phrase comes from a direct translation of a similar phrase in Latin: "Graecum est; non legitur" meaning "it is Greek, [therefore] it cannot be read". This phrase was used more and more by monk scribes in the Middle Ages because knowledge of the Greek alphabet and language was decreasing among those who were copying manuscripts in monastic libraries.

The phrase appears in 1599 in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, as spoken by Servilius Casca to Cassius after a festival in which Caesar was offered a crown:

CASSIUS: Did Cicero say any thing?

CASCA: Ay, he spoke Greek.
CASSIUS: To what effect?

CASCA: Nay, an I tell you that, I'll ne'er look you i' the face again: but those that understood him smiled at one another and shook their heads; but, for mine own part, it was Greek to me. I could tell you more news too: Marullus and Flavius, for pulling scarfs off Caesar's images, are put to silence. Fare you well. There was more foolery yet, if I could remember it.
— William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar (1599)

Example(s):

I watched a documentary about black holes, but it was all Greek to me.

I tried reading that science book, but it was all greek to me.

She doesn't like his classes because it's all Greek to her.

I'm afraid these instructions are Greek to me.


This idiom is in the nationalities category


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