How Do You Say Cold in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Greece, the concept of cold was not viewed in the same way as we perceive it today. The ancient Greeks did not have a specific word for “cold” that we can directly translate into English. However, they did have words to describe various aspects related to coldness and low temperatures.

Words Related to Coldness


The word “psychros” in Ancient Greek was used to describe something that was cool or chilly. It could be used to refer to the temperature of the air, water, or even objects.


“Kryos” was another term used by the ancient Greeks to describe something that was icy or frosty. It denoted extreme coldness and was often associated with freezing temperatures.

Expressions and Metaphors

Ancient Greek literature and poetry often used expressions and metaphors to depict coldness. These literary devices helped convey the sensation of cold through vivid imagery.

“The touch of winter’s breath”

  • The phrase “the touch of winter’s breath” could be used metaphorically to describe a chilling breeze or wind. It evokes the idea of feeling a shiver down your spine when exposed to cold air.


  • The expression “frost-kissed” referred to something that had been touched by frost, emphasizing its icy nature.

Ancient Greek Mythology and Cold

Cold weather played a significant role in Ancient Greek mythology, particularly in stories involving gods and goddesses who controlled various natural elements.

Boreas – The God of the North Wind

Boreas was the god of the north wind, which was often associated with cold and winter. He was depicted as a bearded man wearing a cloak and blowing icy gusts of wind. Boreas was believed to bring cold weather from the northern regions.

Persephone and the Changing Seasons

The myth of Persephone explained the changing seasons in Ancient Greece. According to the myth, Persephone, the daughter of Demeter (the goddess of agriculture), spent part of the year in the underworld with Hades, resulting in her mother’s grief and the barrenness of nature during winter.

The Impact of Cold Weather on Ancient Greeks

Cold weather and low temperatures had practical implications for daily life in Ancient Greece.

Winter Clothing

Ancient Greeks adapted their clothing according to the seasons. During colder months, they would wear heavier fabrics like wool to keep warm. They also used cloaks and shawls to protect themselves from harsh winds.

Heating Methods

Ancient Greeks used various methods to keep warm indoors during winter. They would commonly have fireplaces or braziers where they burned wood or charcoal for heat. Wealthier households could afford more elaborate heating systems that circulated warm air through pipes.

In Conclusion

While there isn’t a direct translation for “cold” in Ancient Greek, words like “psychros” and “kryos” were used to describe coolness and extreme coldness respectively. Through expressions, metaphors, and mythology, ancient Greeks conveyed the sensation of coldness in their literature.

The impact of cold weather on daily life led them to adapt their clothing and employ various heating methods to stay warm during the colder months. Understanding how the ancient Greeks approached coldness provides insights into their culture and lifestyle.