[Course Forum] 5000 Important words in Greek



Welcome to the “official” topic of the most popular Greek course on Memrise. Please use this topic to report errors, post suggestions or anything related to the course. We’re always open to feedback.


This is not a basic Greek course, but will help you build your vocabulary along the journey to acquire more Modern Greek. Please participate in this course Forum with feedback, corrections and additions as we plan to grow the course over time beyond 1692 words! This course was based on the original work of Harry Foundalis, but has been significantly enhanced and expanded.

This course was originally created by Memakiano, but became abandoned soon thereafter. Towards the end of last year, however, @neal.p.carey “inherited” the course and added @nphx as a contributor a bit later.

Current status

Current Word Count: 5,001 - we have changed the Title to reflect this milestone. And, it is worth noting that there are a number of words that many would not consider as the most important. But our philosophy is that all words are important.

Compared to the original state of the course:

  • All words have audio and Parts of Speech are labeled (noun, adverb, etc.)
  • Nouns have articles - answers with and without articles are correct when testing
  • Adjectives are presented in all 3 gender forms
  • A number of entries include alternative spelling (i.e. ρακέτα - ρακέττα)
  • Many English translations and definitions have been adjusted, enhanced, fixed
  • 3,308 words have been added on top of the original 1692
  • Many words include a label with a sentence using that word for context and understanding


How to make a post a wiki and how they work
(spdl79) #2

Hey nphx, would you prefer suggestions/fixes to be appended to this post, or posted as new topics?

Anyhow, πώς, Level 30 (726-750). The slide has it listed as an adverb.

Grammar isn’t my strong point, so I may be wrong, but shouldn’t the correct answer then be πως with no accent?

I thought πώς would be an interrogative and not an adverb. Thanks for all your work recently, BTW.

(Neal P Carey) #3

Thanks @spd179 - you are correct, it should be an interrogative. It is now, and I’ve added a simple context example. Yes, please append suggestions/fixes/etc. here and we’ll see how it goes. This is a new experience for all of us.

(spdl79) #4

Thanks Neal!

(spdl79) #5

αλάτι, Level 50 (1226-1250). Requires the article το to be placed in front of it, otherwise it gets marked as incorrect. Can you please amend so that both versions are correct? Thank you!

(spdl79) #6

Also: πολύς is in the course twice. The first instance is Level 48, (1176-1200), with a second instance in Level 70 (1701-1725).

Level 50 (1226-1250) actually has 26 words instead of 25, so could you move one word out of 50 and into 70 to replace the second instance of πολύς? Or, I guess, delete the first instance.

Thanks both!

Also: ότι, Level 23 (551-575) and που, Level 46 (1126-1150) are both given as conjunctions for ‘That’. So if you’re doing a test, it’s easy to answer incorrectly. Would you be able to include που as an alternative for the entry for ότι, and vice-versa?

Similarly, for Level 51 (1251-1275), we have το κουδούνι for ‘bell’. In Level 49 (1201-1225), we also have η καμπάνα for ‘bell’ (although it also accepts κουδούνι as a correct answer).

Could you please amend so that both answers are correct in Level 51? Alternatively, I think κουδούνι can be a door buzzer or doorbell, whereas I think καμπάνα implies more of a big metal object. So perhaps the English definitions could be tweaked instead?

Sorry, they’re coming thick and fast today…

For το νύχι, Level 52 (1276-1300) would it be possible to change the English definition to ‘nail, fingernail’?

This would help to differentiate it a bit better from το καρφί ‘nail, spike’, in Level 45 (1101-1125)

Thanks again for all your help

απόν, Level 57 (1401-1425). There’s an old mem saying that the correct spelling of this should be απών. From what I can tell, the mem’s right. Would one of you be able to check it out? Thanks!

φρένο, also Level 57, is listed as a verb (it’s a noun). Can you please amend?

Similar problem as above for λαϊκή Level 36 (876-900) and αγορά Level 55 (1351-1375). The English definition of both is ‘Market’, so when asked to provide the Greek for market in a review, it’s easy to answer incorrectly. I think λαϊκή implies more of a street or ‘popular’ market, so would you be able to tweak the English definition? Thanks!

Same again: For ‘mouth’, we have το στόμα in Level 34 (826-850) and το στόμιο in Level 58 (1426-1450).

If you were able to differentiate the English definitions, or to have both versions accepted as correct answers, that’d be great.

o αριθμός, Level 58 (1426-1450). The article is written as a Latin ‘o’ rather than an omicron. Can you please amend?

αγρόκτημα, Level 63 (1551-1575). It doesn’t have an article assigned to it. Assumed it’d be neuter, given the ‘μα’ ending, and was marked as incorrect. Can you please make ‘το αγρόκτημα’ a correct answer? Thank you.

άκρη, also Level 63 (1551-1575), has no audio. Can you please grab it off Forvo?

Another duplicate problem: In Level 1 (1-25), we have ‘Fruit’ defined as ‘το φρούτο’. A second entry for ‘Fruit’, ‘ο καρπός’, appears in Level 64 (1576-1600). Can you please differentiate the English definitions or allow both Greek versions as correct answers on both slides?

κουρασμένο, Level 64 (1576-1600). Would it be possible to change this to the masculine as per the other adjectives, and also include the Forvo audio? Thanks!

(Neal P Carey) #7

ΟΚ, fixed.

(Neal P Carey) #8
  1. Removed πολύς from Level 70.
  2. Moved το μπουζούκι to Level 71.
  3. που is now ‘who, that, when, where, which’ so primary is ‘who’ and it is identified as a pronoun. And added ‘whether’ to ‘ότι’.
  4. Changed το κουδούνι to ‘doorbell’ with ‘bell’ as Alt. It really isn’t the same as καμπάνα. And added ‘church bell’ as Alt for καμπάνα
  5. νύχι is now ‘fingernail, nail, toenail’
  6. Changed απόν (n.) to απών (m.) - both are actually correct, w/ ω it is masc., with ο it is neut. Also added απόν (n.) and απούσα (f.) as Alts.
  7. φρένο - fixed
  8. fixed αγορά to be market, marketplace, shopping, and λαϊκή to be street market, farmer’s market, market
  9. στόμιο is now ‘nozzle, spout, orifice, mouth’
  10. αριθμός should be fixed now
  11. Now το αγρόκτημα
  12. άκρη - fixed
  13. καρπός now has primary meaning of ‘the fruit of’, with Alts fruit, nut, harvest and also ‘wrist’. This is a slightly trickier word. Using ‘the fruit of’ goes with the context sentence: Είναι ο καρπός της εμπειρίας μας.
  14. κουρασμένος fixed, also added missing audio

Thanks for all reporting all of these issues.

(spdl79) #9

No worries Neal, and many thanks for carrying out the fixes. I’ve only got about 8 levels left, so I probably won’t bug you with too many more. :slight_smile:

(spdl79) #10

I’ve also got a quick question about verbs and I’d really appreciate it if someone could explain something for me (I haven’t started Greek classes yet and haven’t been able to figure it out via Googling either).

So, active voice, present tense verbs that end in -άω. For many of these, there is an alternative correct answer (and audio to go with it) where the verb ends in -ώ instead.

What’s the reason for this? Are both ways of spelling/pronouncing the verb considered correct? Is one a bit more formal than the other?

(Neal P Carey) #11


Take a look at Harry Foundalis’ explanation of contracted verbs @ http://www.foundalis.com/lan/grkvbreg.htm#2

“There is no rule specifying when to use the contracted or uncontracted form, when both exist. Some grammar books claim that the uncontracted forms are more informal. This is not always true. Although the contracted forms are found slightly more often in literature (esp. poetry), a mixture of forms is used in ordinary speech (including newspaper texts). Often both forms are equally plausible.”

The Foundalis site is where the original list (which has had MANY corrections here in Memrise) of 1692 words came from. Still, his site has a wealth of material about the Greek language, but I don’t really know when it was written and a number of things have changed in Modern Greek in the past 20-30 years, spelling reforms in particular, less use of katharevousa, etc., so I cannot speak to how current it is.

If you like grammar books, this is perhaps the most comprehensive and modern grammar of Greek (which I highly recommend any serious student of the Modern language ought to have):

Greek: A Comprehensive Grammar of the Modern Language (Routledge Comprehensive Grammars) 2nd Edition

I have the 1st edition, and in section (Active Voice, Present) the author explains:

The present tense is characterized by the stressed vowel α in its endings although, as will be seen in the table above, the 1st persons sg. and pl. and the 4rd person pl have alternative endings with a different stressed vowel. The forms in -άω, -άει, -άμε and -άνε are non-formal and are not available for all verbs (see the list in Section 7.3). Otherwise the choice between alternative forms is largely a matter of personal preference, with some regional variation.

I hope this information helps.

And as additional information/help, I would strongly recommend a verb book, where you are able to find every form of every verb, which is enormously helpful with a language with such a complex verb system as Greek. I have this book (although a slightly different edition, and note that it is completely in Greek, no English translations):


(spdl79) #12

Thanks for the thorough answer and recommendations Neal, they’re extremely helpful.

(spdl79) #13

η πρόγραμμα, Level 67 (1651-1675). Should it be neuter and το πρόγραμμα instead?

o τυφώνας, Level 68 (1676-1692). The article o is a Latin o and not an omicron - could you please correct when you get a chance?

Duplicate issue: For ‘mountain’, we’ve got ‘το βουνό’ in Level 1 (1-25) and ‘ο όρος’ in Level 68 (1676-1692). Would you be able to tweak the English definition of one of them?

Duplicate issue: For ‘nice’ we have ευχάριστος in Level 21 (501-525) and ωραίος in Level 67 (1651-1675). Can you tweak the English definition of one of them? I originally learned ωραίος elsewhere as handsome or beautiful, so perhaps that could work?

Duplicate issue: For ‘twilight’ we have ‘το λυκόφως’ (love the etymology!) in Level 66 (1626-1650) and ‘το λυκαυγές’ in Level 65 (1601-1625). Would it be possible to tweak the English definition of one of them?

(Neal P Carey) #14

OK, πρόγραμμα now neuter, article for τυφώνας fixed.

For βουνό and όρος I’ve added some Alts and made them Alts for each other. I will ask my teacher, but the primary definition of both words is mountain. That said, usually I think you’d hear βουνό, and Όρος I’ve mostly heard associated with the Holy Mountain (Athos).

ευχάριστος is now pleasant, pleasing, nice and ωραίος is beautiful, nice, etc.

λυκαυγές is now sunrise, dawn, predawn - which I think is a more appropriate translation. Not sure why it was twilight.

Thanks again!

(spdl79) #15

Many thanks Neal!

RE Όρος, according to Wiktionary: Όρος is more typically used in the name of a mountain than as a general term, when its synonym βουνό might be used.’

That makes perfect sense, although I guess that’s a bit hard to encode into the definition.

(Neal P Carey) #16

Simple, I just heard back from my teacher. Όρος is only used as Mount in modern Greek, as in Ο Άγιος Όρος (ex: The Holy Mountain - i.e. Mt. Athos). So I will change that simply to ‘mount’ and leave Βουνό as it is. I also plan to remove the synonym Alts as I think it will just add confusion. This way, you’ll be tested on either ‘mount’ or ‘mountain’.

(spdl79) #17

Excellent, thank you.

(spdl79) #18

Just found one more.

Duplicate problem: For ‘to like’, we have αρέσω in Level 21 (501-525) and συμπαθώ in Level 66 (1626-1650).

Could you please tweak the English definition or Greek form of one of them? I think συμπαθώ is more or less a cognate for sympathise, or perhaps we could have μου αρέσει/μ’αρέσει for ‘I like’?

Thanks Neal. Only 20 more words to go until I’ve finished the course :wink:

το θήραμα, Level 71 (1726-1750). Currently requires the article to be placed in front of it, otherwise it gets marked as incorrect. Can you please include an un-articled variant as a correct answer?

η πινελιά, also Level 71, also needs the article placed in front of it. Can you please also amend?

(Neal P Carey) #19

For συμπαθώ - made primary definition ‘to sympathize’, ‘to like’ as Alt.
Fixed article issue for both θήραμα and πινελιά.

Actually, you’re not really done yet. I just added 25 new verbs, which you will really need! :slight_smile:

(Neal P Carey) #20

New words added!

The course is/was missing quite a few basic verbs, so I have completed Level 71 (1726-1750) with the addition of 9 new verbs.

ανεβαίνω - to rise
ανησυχώ - to worry
αντέχω - to endure
αργώ - to be late
βγαίνω - to go out
βρέχω - to wet
βρίσκομαι - am/is
γκρινιάζω - to whine
διψάω - to be thirsty

and I have created Level 72 (1751-1775), adding 16 new verbs to that level.

δουλεύω - to work
κατεβαίνω - to go down
λυπάμαι - to be sorry
νομίζω - to think
παρακαλώ - please
πάω - to go
πεινάω - to be hungry
πειράζω - to tease
περνάω - to pass
πλένομαι - to wash
πονάω - to hurt
σηκώνομαι - to get up
σπουδάζω - to study
στρίβω - to turn
τηλεφωνώ - to phone
φταίω - to be at fault