Is it a common usual expression?

To say "talking greek" to someone/somebody? Meaning talking incomprehensible stuff.



4 Answers 4


It's a reference to a line in the Shakespeare play "Julius Caesar".

it was Greek to me

It concerns a speech by Cicero, reported by Casca. Both Casca and Cicero were romans, but Cicero spoke in Greek. Cicero was a philosopher who brought a lot of Greek ideas (and words) to Rome. Casca might well have been expected to understand some Greek- others who heard Cicero were smiling and nodding- and so might have meant that he did not understand the subject matter of what Cicero was saying.

People often refer to the "Greek to me" part of this quote as a way of saying that they do not understand something.

You can find the full quote, plus other references, here


The common idiomatic response to someone speaking gibberish, also used when someone is speaking on a topic too academic to understand (such as nuclear physics):

That's Greek to me.


Talking X. - where X may be a foreign language or a technical field/word/phrase (legalese, medical, Mathematics) means that it cannot be simply understood so one should use or explain in layman's term. (Funny, when one is talking X or talking in X, the usual reaction is 'nose bleeding', adding comic effect or sarcasm, depending on the context)

Please check JavaLatte's answer as well. (+1)


Between native English speakers, any language other than English is incomprehensible(assuming they don't understand any other language) and this is the reason that people use such phrases. I've also heard people saying

Talking Chinese.

Talking Binary.

to convey the same meaning. So basically,

Talking [any language which is not understood to either the speaker or listener (especially the listener)].

means saying something that is not comprehensible.

  • Taking under consideration that they don't know any other language. Hope the new edit is better.
    – 7_R3X
    Apr 10, 2016 at 5:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .