As far as I can tell, "Grecian" and "Greek" both mean "of or pertaining to Greece." Is there any difference at all between them?
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In Modern English, Greek is the usual adjective meaning of or pertaining to Greece.
Grecian is an earlier construction, with an adjective-forming -an suffix (American, Norwegian, Virginian), which is now pretty much relegated to stylistic and fixed phrase duty. It's common in the following expressions, among others:
But there is no Grecian restaurant, Grecian wine, or Grecian language.
"Grecian" means "in a style used by the inhabitants of Greece," and so anyone could make, say, a Grecian urn. "Greek" means either an inhabitant of Greece, or from Greece, so a Greek urn must come from Greece.
Grecian in my experience seems to used solely to describe the esthetic product of Classical Greek culture. Thus, a Grecian urn but a Greek soldier; Grecian pillars but Greek philosophy. And of course, Grecian Formula but Greek financial collapse.
protected by tchrist Mar 1 '15 at 18:58
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