(The). Manuel Alvarez (el Griego), the Spanish
All Greek to me.
Quite unintelligible; an unknown tongue or language. Casca says,
“For mine own part, it was all Greek to me.” (Shakespeare: Julius
Caesar, i. 2.) “C'est du Grec pour moi.”
Last of the Greeks.
Philopmen, of Megalopolis, whose great object was to infuse into
the Achæans a military spirit, and establish their independence (B.C.
To play the Greek
(Latin, græcari). To indulge in one's cups. The Greeks have
always been considered a luxurious race, fond of creature-comforts.
Thus Cicero, in his oration against “Verres,” says: “Discumbitur; fit sermo inter eos et invitatio, ut Græco more biberetur: hospes
hortatur, poscunt majoribus poculis; celebratur omnium sermone
lætiliaque convivium. ” The law in Greek banquets was E pithi e
apithi (Quaff, or be off!) (Cut in, or cut off!). In Troilus and
Cressida Shakespeare makes Pandarus, bantering Helen for her love
to Troilus, say, “I think Helen loves him better than Paris;” to which
Cressida, whose wit is to parry and pervert, replies, “Then she's a
merry Greek indeed,” insinuating that she was a “woman of pleasure.” (Troilus and Cressida, i. 2.)
(French). A cheat. Towards the close of the reign of Louis XIV., a
knight of Greek origin, named Apoulos, was caught in the very act of
cheating at play, even in the palace of the grand monarque. He
was sent to the galleys, and the nation which gave him birth became
from that time a byword for swindler and blackleg.
Un potage à la Grecque.
Insipid soup; Spartan broth.
When Greek joins Greek, then is the tug of war.
When two men or armies of undoubted courage fight, the contest will
be very severe. The line is from a verse in the drama of Alexander
the Great, slightly altered, and the reference is to the obstinate
resistance of the Greek cities to Philip and Alexander, the Macedonian
“When Greeks joined Greeks, then was the tug of war.” Nathaniel
In French the word “Grec” ' sometimes means wisdom, as
Il est Grec en cela.
He has great talent that way. Il n'est pas grand Grec. He is
no great conjurer.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894