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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Mar 15 02:22:34 UTC 2016

> On Mar 14, 2016, at 10:06 PM, Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at MST.EDU> wrote:
> Today I received a request from Wolfgang Mieder for any information 
> on the expression "to be (all) Greek to someone,"

You mean before Shakespeare in _Julius Caesar_?  (Casca, re Cicero, if memory serves)


> 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,
> Wolfgang
> --
> 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
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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