1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Greek
  4. >
  5. "Ιδιωτικός γραμματέας"

"Ιδιωτικός γραμματέας"

Translation:Private secretary

August 31, 2016



Another false friend.

ιδιωτικός - private

idiotic - βλακώδης


Idiot derived from the Ancient Greek ἰδιώτης (a private citizen). In Athenian Democracy a free man had to participate to public affairs. Therefore, ιδιώτης was the person who opposed to public affairs and this was very deprecatory for a free Athenian citizen. That's why the term has negative meaning in English. On the other hand, in Modern Greek ιδιώτης is someone who operates privately and it is not an insult or something else.


I've seen ιδιώτης when trying to buy something online. It was asking me whether I was purchasing for a company or for a private person.


Λεξικό του Γ. Μπαπμινιώτη: ιδιώτης 3. ΙΑΤΡ. αυτός που πάσχει από ιδιοτεία /med. a person who suffers of idiocy


That's interesting. The Λεξικό της Κοινής Νεοελληνικής also lists this psychiatric term, but this is never used in regular conversation (i.e. referring to someone of low IQ), and definitely not as an insult.


Private person and idiot became synonyms in the only real democracy. This is the story: In ancient Greek if such an incredible thing happened that a person selected by lottery to take care of public affairs said "no my private affairs prevent me from taking care of more", then the others started to point finger on him wherever he went, saying "look there goes the ιδιώτης (private man=idiot) who only can look after his own business.


Apart from being used as the wellknown insult, idiot was a medical term used in the past in both English and German, but has been completely replaced by other more scientific/neutral terms. It is interesting to see it crop up again in Greek psychiatric terminology. It would be interesting to know if it is acutally still being used by Greek psychiatrists today, or if it has been replaced as well.


But it's not acceptable nowadays, except perhaps in the term 'village idiot', though is that acceptable? to use idiot to mean low IQ. How do you say 'challenged' in Greek? My next door neighbour is totally deaf, and everything that results from that (ie speech), but he certainly isn't an idiot. I rely on him for all my streetwise, or rather fieldwise, expertise.


Reminds me of "global village" :D Seems most everyone is considered the "village idiot" in such a huge "village."


I think I see a number "3" in there somewhere (in that definition)...so it's not the main definition. "Theo_Matrakas" is much closer to the main meaning and origin of the word (along with "kirakrakra").


For fun, I can add to these comments by bringing up the medical term "idiopathic" which is "not" related to psychiatry.

Idiopathic: relating to or denoting any disease or condition that arises spontaneously or for which the cause is unknown.

So the pathology is not yet known in the public domain? It is private?


Perhaps folks prefer not to talk about it. :-)


Or perhaps it is "its own" pathology. In the Greek New Testament, the word is often used to denote something which belongs to someone. "He came to His own (people) and His own did not receive Him," for example. Also: "Everyone went to his own house."


Do ιδιωτικός and προσωπικός mean the same?


No. Προσωπικός, from πρόσωπο = person or face, means personal and that is not identical with private


So could you have in a Greek office or boardroom a personal private secretary? προσωπικός ιδιωτικός γραμματέας There can't be too many of them around. :-)


Although not "identical," they seem to be synonyms. Right?

Learn Greek in just 5 minutes a day. For free.