It's all Greek to me

This phrase is used to indicate that something is totally incomprehensible to you. According to World Wide Words, it comes the Medieval Latin phrase Graecum est; non potest legi (It is Greek; it cannot be read). Medieval scribes, who weren't familiar with Greek, apparently wrote this phrase next to any text they came across in that language.

The equivalent of this phrase in quite a few languages compares incomprehensible things to an unknown language, particularly Chinese or Greek, while many of the Slavic languages associate Spanish villages with incomprehsion. The Chinese themselves compare such things to a 'heavenly script'. The Japanese use a string of nonsense syllables which imitate the sounds of unknown languages, especially Chinese.

Language Idiom
Arabic (Egyptian) (hal ana batkallem hindi?) هل أنا بتكلم هندي؟
Am I speaking Hindi?
Belarusian Гэта для мяне кітайская грамата (Geta dĺa m′ańe kіtajskaja gramata)
- It's Chinese writing to me.
Bulgarian Говориш ми на патагонски (Govoriš mi na patagonski)
- You're speaking to me in Patagonian!
Това ми е тъмна Индия! (Tova mi e tãmna indija!)
- It's dark India to me
Catalan Això em sona a xinès (It sounds like Chinese)
Chinese (Cantonese) 鬼劃符 (gwáiwahkfùh) it's like ghost script
雞腸 (gāchèuhng) it's like chicken intestines
Chinese (Mandarin) 跟天書一樣 [跟天书一样] (gēn tiānshū yíyàng) It's like heavenly script
Croatian Španska sela (Spanish village), kineski gradovi (Chinese cities)
To mi je špansko selo (It's a Spanish village to me)
Czech Je to pro mne španĕlská vesnice (It's a Spanish village to me)
Mám ti to říct čínsky/mongolsky/japonsky?
(Should I translate this for you into Chinese/Mongolian/Japanese?) inf
Mám vám to říct čínsky/mongolsky/japonsky?
(Should I translate this for you into Chinese/Mongolian/Japanese?) frm
Mluvím s Číňanem/Mongolcem/Japoncem?
(Am I speaking with a Chinese/Mongolian/Japanese person?)
Danish Det er (det rene) volapyk
That is (pure) Volapük
Dutch Dat is Chinees voor mij (That's Chinese for me)
Dat is Latijn voor mij (That's Latin for me)
Daar kan ik geen chocola van maken (I can't make any chocolate from that)
English It's (all) Greek to me. It's (all) Chinese to me.
It sounds like double Dutch to me.
Esperanto Ĝi estas laŭ mi Volapukaĵo! (It's all Volapük to me)
Estonian See on nagu hiina keel (It's like Chinese)
Finnish Täyttä hepreaa (Complete Hebrew)
Täyttä siansaksaa (Complete gibberish)
French C'est du chinois pour moi (It's Chinese to me)
C'est de l'hébreu pour moi (It's Hebrew to me)
Pour moi, c'est du javanais (To me, it's Javanese)
German Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof (I understand only railway station)
Spreche ich etwa chinesisch? (Am I speaking Chinese?)
Böhmische Dörfer (Bohemian villages)
Das ist Chinesisch für mich (That's all Chinese to me)
Greek Εἶναι γιὰ μένα κινέζικα (Íne gia ména kinézika) - it's Chinese to me
Εἶναι ἀλαμπουρνέζικα (Íne alabournézika) - it's Arabic
Hebrew It's Chinese to me - (Ze sinit bishvili) זה סינית בשבילי
Hungarian Ez nekem kínai (This is Chinese to me)
Icelandic Þetta er hebreska fyrir mér (This is Hebrew to me)
Italian Per me è arabo (it's Arabic to me)
Japanese ちんぷんかんぷんだ (chinpunkanpun da)
ちんぷんかんぷんでちっともわからない (chinpunkanpun de chittomo wakaranai)
Latvian Tā ir ķīniešu ābece/alfabēts (It's the Chinese alphabet)
Lithuanian Tai man kaip kinų kalba (It's all Chinese to me)
Macedonian За мене тоа е шпанско село (Za mene toa e shpansko selo)
That's a Spanish village to me
Norwegian Det er (helt) gresk for meg (It's (totally) Greek for me)
Persian I don't understand Greek - (Yunaani nemifahmam) یونانی نمی فهمم
Polish Równie dobrze mogłoby to być po chińsku
(It could be in Chinese with the same effect -
I would understand the same if it was in Chinese
... a u mnie wszyscy zdrowi (casual)
(... yeah, everybody's healthy in my home)
- suggests that the thing said before is completely out of place and nonsense
Portuguese É grego para mim (It's Greek to me)
É chinês para mim (It's Chinese to me)
Punjabi ਕੀ ਮੈਂ ਫਾਰਸੀ ਬੋਲ ਰਿਹੈਂ? (Ki main farsi bol rihain?) - Am I speaking Farsi?
Russian китайская грамота (kitayskaya gramota) - Chinese document/paper/letter
Serbian шпанска села (španska sela) - Spanish villages
Sinhala meka mata andara demala (this is Andhra Tamil, i.e. Telugu, to me)
Slovak Je to pre mňa španielska dedina (It's a Spanish village to me)
Slovenian Zame je to španska vas (this is a Spanish village to me)
Govorim kitajsko? (Am I speaking Chinese?)
Spanish Esto me suena a chino, no me hables en chino
(It sounds Chinese to me, I don't speak in Chinese)
Me suena como griego (It sounds Greek to me),
Para mí que es griego (It's Greek to me)
Eso es griego para mí (That's Greek to me)
Es chino básico (It's basic chinese)
Háblame en cristiano (Speak to me in Christian)
Swedish Det är rena grekiskan (It is pure Greek)
Turkish olaya fransız kaldım (I am French to the conversation/chat)
Yiddish (s'iz targum-loshn tsu mir) ס'איז תּרגום־לשון צו מיר
it's Aramaic (the language of the targum) to me =

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Information about the Japanese version of this phrase (in Japanese)

Some of these translation come from:'s_all_Greek_to_me

Greek To Me: Mapping Mutual Incomprehension

More idioms

It's all Greek to me | It's raining cats and dogs | As easy as falling off a log | A sandwich short of a picnic | It's small world | When pigs fly | Out of sight, out of mind | Crystal-clear | Practice makes perfect

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