Greek Idiomatic Phrases to Say You’re Busy

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When it comes to learning the Greek language, there are many phrases and expressions that you can learn. Idiomatic phrases can really take your language learning to the next level because only those who know the Greek language well seem to use them. Even if you feel like a beginner, it is never too early to use these phrases.

What Are Idiomatic Expressions?

Idiomatic expressions or phrases are a vital part of any language and Greek is no exception. According to Webster’s Dictionary, an idiom is:

an expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar to itself either grammatically (such as no, it wasn’t me) or in having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements (such as ride herd on for “supervise”)

The main thing that sets an idiomatic expression apart is that the meaning may not be completely obvious because the literal meaning of some of the words may be completely different than the actual meaning.

Basic Idiomatic Phrases to Know

In each of these examples, the actual meaning of the word is different than its usage. These are all idiomatic expressions or phrases.

Πήζω – Pizo

Normally, Πήζω means to coagulate. In some usages however, it can mean be used to express that someone is busy or has a lot to do.

For example, you would use it if someone asks you to do something but you are declining them because you are busy. You would typically say something like: Δεν μπορώ. Πήζω. – (then boro. pizo.) – I can’t. I am really busy.

Τρέχω – Treho

The Greek verb, Τρέχω, usually means “to run”. However, it can also be used to express that you’re really busy or that you have a lot to do.

You can use it when people ask how you are doing, and you wish to express that you have been very busy. So if someone asks, “Τι κάνεις; (Ti kaneis) – How are you?” Your response might be, “Έχω πολλή δουλειά. Τρέχω. (Eho poli thoulia. Treho.) I have a lot of work. I am very busy.”

In both of these cases, the verbs mean something completely different than its usage in these idiomatic phrases. Practice using them the next time you talk with someone in the Greek language! It is a good idea to get familiar with at least a few of these types of phrases.


The Learn Greek section on GreekBoston.com was written by Greeks to help people understand the conversational basics of the Greek language. This article is not a substitute for a professional Greek learning program, but a helpful resource for people wanting to learn simple communication in Greek.

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