[Ads-l] Query: "It's (all) Greek to me"

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Tue Mar 15 02:06:03 UTC 2016

Today I received a request from Wolfgang Mieder for any information 
on the expression "to be (all) Greek to someone," and once more I 
I'm forwarding the query to ads-l.  Would anyone be able to help him?
His message appears below my signoff.

Gerald Cohen  

[From W. Mieder]:

...I have a quick question:
     I am working on the expression "to be (all) Greek to someone", 
and I am just wondering whether by chance you might have 
something on it. I have already assembled numerous references from 
1566 to the present, and I am also quite convinced that it had its start 
with the medieval Latin "Graecum est, non potest legi" and its variants.
      There is also the useful article by Clarence L. Kalisheck, "It's
Greek to me," Notes and Queries, 197 (1952), 274-275.
I included it in a large bibliography that I published some thirty years
ago (Tempus fugit, my friend):

Mieder, Wolfgang. Investigations of Proverbs, Proverbial Expressions,
Quotations and Cliches. A Bibliography of Explanatory Essays which
Appeared in "Notes and Queries" (1849-193). Bern: Peter Lang, 1984. 420 pp.

     If you don't know this book, you might find it useful for your work.
In any case, I thought I might ask you about the "Greek"-phrase. If you
know anybody else who might have some material for me, please let me know.
     All the very best, and many thanks,


Prof. Wolfgang Mieder
Department of German & Russian
University of Vermont
422 Waterman Building
85 South Prospect St.
Burlington, Vermont  05405

E-mail: Wolfgang.Mieder at uvm.edu
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list