Have you ever met a Greek mother? It is Mother’s day today and maybe you visited Greece or plan to, or you may have Greek friends around the world, or maybe your roommate is a Greek. Next time you may hear these phrases from their Greek mothers, it is good to know what they mean.
What a Greek Mother will say and what it means
- Keep your eyes fourteen! (Means: to be cautious).
- The feet revolted and want to hit the head (Means: denouncing authority).
- I ate the whole world to find you (Means: I looked everywhere).
- That’s just a small chandelier (Means: It’s not that big a deal).
- If that is true you can pierce my nose (Means: No way that is true).
- She/He will fit your two legs in 1 shoe (Means: She/He will do with you as he/she pleases or/and push you around).
- The lid rolled and found the kettle (Means: These people are the same or/and think the same way, one fits on the other).
- I got fleas in my ears (Means: I am suspicious for something I am thinking or have heard. By the way, it’s origin is from an actual torture in Byzantine times).
- She/He will cook the fish on your lips (Means: She/He will torture you with nagging or other psychological way).
- She/He will change your lights (Means: Same as above. The actual origin of this phrase comes too from an actual torture).
- Though we haven’t seen him yet, we call him Yiannis (Means: We still don’t know what/who is, yet we have labeled him with something. The origin comes from an anecdote with Kolokotronis and Nikitaras at the Greek revolution of 1821).
Common phrases a Greek Mother will use to “work you around”
(Some are used by Greek fathers too)
- If you or your brother want to kill each other, get out. I just finished cleaning the floor.
- Pray the the carpet stain can be removed.
- I am going to get your semester grades. If they are not good you better leave the house and not find you when I come back.
- What do you mean “why?”. Because, I said so!
- If you fall and bleed your knees, you will get spanked because you would have ripped your trouser too!
- Change your underpants! Suppose you have an accident and end up to the hospital. What would doctors say.
- Stop crying without a reason, or I will give you a reason to cry.
- Sure, that is a nice shower you had. Can’t you see that the back of your neck is still black/dirty?
- Close your mouth and eat your lunch.
- Your room is like being hit by a hurricane.
- Where did you learn these things? Why don’t you take an example from your sister/brother/or even some neighbor? Is this how they act?
- When I was in your age I had no shoes to wear. Thousands of people walk around without shoes. Do not be without gratitude.
- Wait until we get to the house…
- Stop crossing your eyes or you will end up cross-eyed.
- Wear your sweater. It is cold and you cannot feel it.
- If you don’t eat all your food, you won’t grow up.
- You are like your father (not always a good thing).
- When you grow up you will understand. Now do as I told you.
- Why eating out? Don’t we have food in our house? What the neighbors will say (while you live in a city of millions)
- When I was in your age I had 2 children already.
- Don’t step in the house. I mop the floor.
- Shall I make you something to eat? Are you hungry? No? OK, I will make you something.
- I told you so, didn’t I? Now, say that I told you.
- You don’t even carry your glass to the kitchen. Who will pick this up? The house slave?
- Be careful not to allow “someone” put “something” in your drink.
- Do not leave the last bite on your plate. This is your whole strength. Eat! Eat!
- There is heat wave outside. Are you leaving? Take a jacket. It will be cold later.
- Let me see what you will do when i die!
- While at the beach: If you get drown, I will kill you!
- “Do as you wish…” (direct psychological manipulation).
- You are thin, why don’t you eat more / Stop eating you will get fat and not find a groom/bride.
- “Mom, where are my shoes?”. Some dogs were dragging them!
- No woman is good for my boy (to be fair Greek fathers say: no man is good enough for my princess).
Header photo by Danny Merz.
Do you recognize hearing any of these? Or better, if you are not a Greek and thus you don’t have a Greek mother, what kind of phrases do your mothers use? Send them over.
If you liked this article, then please share it. It helps others read it too!