- Ancient Greek Hellas. Modern Greek Ellas. a republic in S Europe at the S end of the Balkan Peninsula. 50,147 sq. mi. (129,880 sq. km). Capital: Athens.
- a city in W New York.
- a republic in SE Europe, occupying the S part of the Balkan Peninsula and many islands in the Ionian and Aegean Seas; site of two of Europe’s earliest civilizations (the Minoan and Mycenaean); in the classical era divided into many small independent city-states, the most important being Athens and Sparta; part of the Roman and Byzantine Empires; passed under Turkish rule in the late Middle Ages; became an independent kingdom in 1827; taken over by a military junta (1967–74); the monarchy was abolished in 1973; became a republic in 1975; a member of the European Union. Official language: Greek. Official religion: Eastern (Greek) Orthodox. Currency: euro. Capital: Athens. Pop: 10 772 967 (2013 est). Area: 131 944 sq km (50 944 sq miles)Modern Greek name: Ellás Related adjective: Hellenic
c.1300, from Latin Graecia; named for its inhabitants; see Greek. Earlier in English was Greklond (c.1200). The Turkish name for the country, via Persian, is Yunanistan, literally “Land of the Ionians.” Ionia also yielded the name for the country in Arabic and Hindi (Yunan).