- relating to Greece, its people, or their language. Compare with Hellenic.
- 2 [mass noun] the ancient or modern language of Greece, the only representative of the Hellenic branch of the Indo-European family.
The ancient form of Greek was spoken in the southern Balkan peninsula from the 2nd millennium bc. The Greek alphabet, used from the 1st millennium bc onwards, was adapted from the Phoenician alphabet. The dialect of classical Athens formed the basis of the standard dialect (koinē) from the 3rd century bc onwards, and this remained as a literary language during the periods of the Byzantine Empire and Turkish rule (see katharevousa). The colloquial language, however, continued to evolve independently (see demotic)
Old English Grēcas 'the Greeks', from Latin Graeci, the name given by the Romans to the people who called themselves the Hellenes, from Greek Graikoi, which according to Aristotle was the prehistoric name of the Hellenes