Useful Ancient Greek Words

Every now and then I find a foreign word which doesn’t have an English equivalent. It shows very clearly how our understanding about things is based largely on language. Without an existing word we have to rely on intuition, keen observation or even genius to mention a truth (in two or more words).

Sometimes the word is so useful I just have to write but down. Here are two useful Greek words I’ve come across, without English equivalents.

Eustress: the good kind of stress, the kind that has an energising, motivating and focusing effect. Such as the stress of meeting a deadline or needing to perform well in a big game.stresscurve002_opt

Eupatheia: good emotions. Used especially by stoics to refer to the positive state which occurs from living well. I think English ought to have a single word for the kind of state one would wish to have and why. Happiness seems too narrow. Based on its construction this word appears to be pretty much perfect, however I don’t much like the ascetic or stoic connotations which ironically appear devoid of any good emotion.

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