The Greeks Have a Saying For it

By Jonathan Carr and Paul Anastasi
Athens News

Eating moustaches

(Τρωμε τα μονσταχια μας) (Trome ta moustakia mas)

Meaning: getting into an argument

This phrase harks back to the era when any self­respecting Greek male sported a moustache. Any man engaged in a particularly acrimonious quarrel with another could be said to be opening his mouth so much and so often his moustache would be in danger of being devoured.

The expression is used among men now in a conciliatory way, such as "let's not eat our moustaches", or let's not fight over this.

Eating one's face

(Τρωω ταμοντρα μον) (Troo ta moutra mou)

Meaning: coming to grief

Falling on one's face, literally or figuratively, can be likened to having "eaten", or disfigured, the features. Worthy of note is the colloquial slang word for face, moutra, which connotes a loss of face for the person in such a predicament.

Going bald

(Καραφλιαξω) (Karafliazo)

Meaning: astonishment, disbelief

Apparently arising out of the Athenian youth culture c 1980, this usage reflects the widespread view - buttressed by some medical evidence - that sudden shock can trigger drastic hair loss. The word karafliazo is an illiterate corruption of the correct Greek word for baldness, falakra.

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(Posting Date 23 July 2007)

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