Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Greek (The).

 Greegrees.Greek Calends. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Greek (The).
Manuel Alva’rez (el Griego), the Spanish sculptor (1727–1797).   1
   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 Cœsar, i. 2.) “C’est du Grec pour moi.   2
   Last of the Greeks. Philopœ’men, of Megalop’olis, whose great object was to infuse into the Achæans a military spirit, and establish their independence (B.C. 252–183).   3
   To play the Greek (Latin, grœcari). 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: “Discum’bitur; fit sermo inter eos et invita’tio, ut Grœco more bibere’tur: hospes horta’tur, poscunt majo’ribus poc’ulis; celebra’tur omnium sermo’ne lœtitiaque conviv’ium.” 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 Pan’darus, bantering Helen for her love to Tro’ilus, 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.)   4
   Un Grec (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.   5
   Un potage à la Grecque. Insipid soup; Spartan broth.   6
   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 kings.   7
“When Greeks joined Greeks, then was the tug of war.”
Nathaniel Lee.
   In French the word “Grec” sometimes means wisdom, as—   8
   Il est Grec en cela. He has great talent that way.   9
   Il n’est pas grand Grec. He is no great conjurer.   10

 Greegrees.Greek Calends. 


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