10 Greek People Features, Characteristics & Stereotypes

Greek people features stereotypically include having olive-brown skin, brown eyes and dark brown hair. They also often have a straight nose but a hump at the nose’s bridge.

The Greeks or Hellenes are an ethnic group and nation indigenous to Greece, Cyprus, southern Albania, Anatolia, parts of Italy and Egypt, and to a lesser extent, other countries surrounding the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Like any other race, group, and culture, Greeks have their own unique physical characteristics and stereotypes born out of their genetics, diet, traditions, and geography. Here’s a quick list of the traits that makes Greek people Greek.

What do Greek People Look Like?

Note: These are averages, trends, and at times unfounded stereotypes, and may not reflect or be representative of any individual person.

1. Olive Skin

Most of the Greek population have olive-colored or light brown skin, but some have a fair complexion with a pink or peachy tone like other Europeans do.

This results from their heritage after being exposed to the Mediterranean climate for centuries and having a diet prepared with olive oil, fish, and other food rich with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are skin-rejuvenating. They share this trait with the Italians.

Even the fairer-skinned greeks don’t get sunburnt easily. Compared to their Northern European cousins like the Irish, their skin has enough melanin that protects, shields, and absorbs the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

2. Brown Eyes

Despite being Caucasians, Greeks are generally known to have very large eyes with thick eyelashes, a bit like Portuguese people.

Around seventy-five percent of the population also have dark brown or medium brown eyes, while a small number have blue, gray, or green eyes with hints of a brown pattern in their irises.

While most Greeks have a dark complexion, it is rare to encounter one with coal-black eyes.

3. Unique Nose

Greeks usually have medium to large size noses. The Greek nose is known to have an almost perfectly straight profile from the bridge to the tip, neither rounding nor curving (which differentiates them, for example, from the Spanish).

However, one distinct trait of theirs is a hump on the bridge of the nose (i.e at the top), which is often referred to as the “nasal hump.”

The shape of their noses is considered very attractive based on classical standards of beauty, which is why you would often see their profiles featured in classical art, such as Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of David.

Today, a famous example of the Greek nose is Jennifer Anniston, whose family has roots in Greece.

4. Dark Hair

Native Greeks usually have very dark brown hair, and it is uncommon to see blondes or brunettes among them.

Sometimes, a person of Greek origin may be born with natural blond hair, but it then darkens as the hair gets thicker and the child grows older.

Red or blond tints would appear occasionally, but a full head of red or blond hair is rare from people with purely Greek heritage. Hair texture ranges from fine to coarse, with wavy or curly types having more volume.

5. Facial Structure

While every person’s profile and face shape are different, it is still possible to see similarities among people from the same heritage. For example, Greeks generally would have developed cheekbones, rectangular eye sockets, and a rectangular face.

Stereotypical Character Traits of Greek People

Note: These are averages, trends, and at times unfounded stereotypes, and may not reflect or be representative of any individual person.

6. Party Goers

It is said that Greeks like to party a lot, which is true because Greeks have a party culture.

There is a popular term for Greek nightlife called Bouzoukia, which is a cross between an indoor concert and a nightclub. This term refers to clubs that play Laika, a local urban folk music genre, and western pop music.

It is not unusual to see locals partying all night long, even on weekdays.

But like most stereotypes, not all Greeks like to party, especially outside big cities or tourist areas.

One factor that gives this image is that most tourists that arrive in Greece tend to party a lot during their visit to the islands of Santorini and Mykonos or the nightclubs in Athens or Thessaloniki.

7. Living with their Parents until they Get Married

It is true that a majority of unmarried Greeks still live with their parents. In different cultures, this may mean laziness to an individual or somebody who doesn’t want to grow up. However, Greeks don’t conform to this mindset.

The Greek culture emphasizes the value of being with the family and prefers everyone to stay together until they build their own.

While the younger generation is starting to deviate from this practice, many still prefer to stay true to their roots. It is also not a reflection of their own laziness or inability to live independently.

Most of them have full-time jobs and can support themselves financially but still choose to stay with their parents. 

8. Loud

The stereotype that Greeks are loud is very true, and even Greeks admit that they can’t keep their voices down.

A big reason for this is their love to socialize because they enjoy engaging in conversation and exchanging opinions.

Be it in a restaurant, a bar, the metro, or even a library, most of them wouldn’t be able to control their volume when expressing themselves. Perhaps Greeks believe that one’s opinion or argument carries more weight when spoken with a stronger voice!

9. Gossipers

Their tendency to gossip originated from ancient Greek society. At that time, gossiping was not only a habit but was also a tool to exact justice for people who do not usually have the power to do so.

Homer, a famous Greek author and poet, even said that rumor was a messenger of Zeus. Aristotle also described gossip as words becoming weapons.

This practice has been carried over to modern times, giving the impression that Greeks love to gossip.

Not only are they loud, they also love to talk about what’s latest in the grapevine on the lives of their neighbors, their neighbor’s neighbors, and their relative’s neighbors as well.

It can even be considered that Greeks consider gossiping as a hobby, finding it better and more entertaining than going to the movies or watching soap operas. 

10. Smokers

While not every Greek smokes, it is true that a majority of them do. Most Greeks as young as 15 years old have already learned how to smoke.

Moreover, it is said that Greeks tend to disregard anti-tobacco laws, and smoking is a prevalent public health problem in the country.

A report released by Eurostat revealed that Greece has the second highest number of smokers in the European Union, second only to Bulgaria.

This habit can also be attributed partly to the Greek propensity to socialize. They strongly associate smoking with hanging out with friends, relaxation, and pleasurable activities.

Conclusion

While every person is unique, the Greeks share some similarities that can identify them as belonging to the same heritage. Physically, many Greeks have the same olive skin, brown eyes, and straight noses.

They also tend to have dark hair and developed cheekbones with rectangular-shaped faces. In terms of behavior, several stereotypes that you may have read about Greeks are actually true.

Some of these are their tendency to party and smoke, as well as talking loudly during conversations, even when gossiping. Unmarried Greeks also prefer to live with their parents as their culture strongly emphasizes the importance of family.

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.

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