Opa (Greek expression)

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"Opa" exclaimed by a waiter in a Greek restaurant in Chicago while lighting saganaki on fire

Opa (Greek: ώπα) is a common Mediterranean emotional expression. It is frequently used during celebrations such as weddings or traditional dancing.[1] In Greek culture, the expression sometimes accompanies the act of plate smashing.[2] It can also be used to express enthusiasm, shock or surprise, or just after having made a mistake.

Opa is also used in Italy and Albania, and by some of the South Slavic nations, such as Serbia, Croatia and North Macedonia as an expression of shock and surprise, or in their traditional folk dances. In Jewish culture, it is used for mazel tov. Arabs and Israelis in the Eastern Mediterranean sometimes pronounce it as "obah" (in Arabic, due to the absence of the letter 'p'), and especially use the expression when picking up or playing with children.

Opa also appears in both Brazil and Portugal. A less common variation is "epa". Opa (or epa) can also be used as a way of getting someone's attention (similar to "Hey!" in English). In Romanian (hopa) and Russian culture (опа) it is used during the short phase of concentration on an action, the expectation of successful process during the action and the subsequent completion of it, for example, when throwing a basketball into the basket, getting off the bike or picking up a child.


  1. ^ Pattakos, Alex (17 May 2015). "Everybody Say 'OPA!'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  2. ^ Regula, deTraci. "Opa!". about.com. Retrieved 19 April 2015.

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