Meaning of katharevousa in English:


Pronunciation /ˌkaθəˈrɛvuːsə/


mass noun
  • A heavily archaized form of modern Greek used in traditional literary writing, as opposed to the form which is spoken and used in everyday writing (called demotic).

    ‘He excelled as a pupil and, like the minority of his generation who received schooling, he was taught through the medium of katharevousa - the archaic pure form of the Greek language.’
    • ‘The chief problem with katharevousa was that it was an arbitrary mixture of ancient and modern features.’
    • ‘But I have been told by a Greek friend about an uncle of hers, a priest, for whom katharevousa was the natural medium of expression.’
    • ‘Although dimotiki has been the official language of Greece since 1974, many types of katharevousa are actively used, mainly in the written language.’
    • ‘All these words were formed in the 19th century by writers who were using katharevousa.’


Early 20th century modern Greek, literally ‘purified’, feminine of kathareuōn, present participle of Greek kathareuein ‘be pure’, from katharos ‘pure’.