Greek spelling alphabet

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The Greek spelling alphabet is a spelling alphabet (or "phonetic alphabet") for Greek, i.e. a set of names given to the alphabet letters for the purpose of spelling out words. It is used by the Greek State, the Greek army, the navy and the police.


To an English reader, a spelling alphabet may be felt to be redundant for this language, as Greek characters are pronounced differently in English for historical reasons: like "Mew Pie Knee". In Greek, however, the pronunciation of those letters can be considerably less diverse: "Me Pea Knee". This necessitates a spelling alphabet. In fact, less than half of the Greek alphabet is uniquely distinguishable in noisy conditions, with the following potential collisions:

beta, zeta, eta, theta (...ita) mu, nu, xi, pi, phi, chi, psi ( epsilon, upsilon (...psilon)

Also Alpha and Delta are avoided to not be confused with the NATO alphabet.

Social aspects of pronunciation[edit]

The Greek alphabet contains seven vowels and seventeen consonants, a total of twenty-four symbols. In addition, there are seven vowel diphthongs, namely: "αι" /ɛ/, "ει"/ɪ/, "οι"/ɪ/, "αυ"/af/ or /av/, "ευ"/ɛf/ or /ɛv/, "ου"/u/ and "υι"/iː/. [1]

The spelling alphabet[edit]

Letter letter name spelling name meaning of word
Α alpha αστήρ astír ('star')
Β beta Βύρων Výron ('Byron')
Γ gamma γαλή galí ('cat')
Δ delta δόξα dóxa ('glory')
Ε epsilon Ερμής Ermís ('Hermes')
Ζ zeta Ζεύς[2] Zeús ('Zeus')
Η eta Ηρώ Iró ('Hero')
Θ theta θεά theá ('goddess')
Ι iota ίσκιος ískios ('shadow')
Κ kappa κενό kenó ('blank')
Λ lambda λάμα láma ('blade')
Μ mu μέλι méli ('honey')
Ν nu ναός naós ('church')
Ξ xi Ξέρξης Xérxis ('Xerxes')
Ο omicron οσμή osmí ('smell')
Π pi Πέτρος Pétros ('Peter')
Ρ rho ρήγας rígas ('king')
Σ sigma σοφός sofós ('wise')
Τ tau τίγρης tígris ('tiger')
Υ ipsilon ύμνος ímnos ('hymn')
Φ phi Φωφώ Fofó (woman's name)
Χ chi χαρά hará ('joy')
Ψ psi ψυχή psihí ('soul')
Ω omega ωμέγα oméga


  1. ^ [1].
  2. ^ Alternative Police variant "Ζωή" (Zoi)

See also[edit]