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Definition: If you haven’t seen this word, Grexit, for a long time, you are not alone. It’s a relatively new term created by Citigroup’s Ebrahim Rahbari and first published in a whitepaper written by him and Citi’s chief economist, Willem Buiter. Combine “Greek” or “Greece” with the word “exit” and refer to the possibility of Greece leaving the Eurozone. The news has been picked up by the media around the world and may well reach the official lexicon. And it certainly has Greek roots beyond the obvious ‘Gr’: the word ‘exit’ itself comes from the Greek ‘exodos’, which means ‘to go out’.

You will see “exodus” that marks the exit of the Greek buildings. But the meaning here is very different.

Rahbari and Buiter believe that Greece leaving the euro is very possible, and that the probability has been tilted more than 50% for it to occur in the next 18 months as of this writing, originally in early February 2012. As Greece held on to the euro well into 2016, new financial pressures and frozen negotiations have increased the specter of ‘Grexit’, even the National Bank of Greece has suggested that it could still be possible in the next two or three years.

The ‘Grexit’ concept is important to investors and others trying to predict the impact on the global economy, on Greece itself and the Greek financial crisis, and on financial interactions around the world.

From The Guardian: Greek Impasse Raises ‘Grexit’ Fears

However, Rahbari and Buiter might have wanted to Google “Grexit” before declaring this word; It turns out that GrexIt is an email service that can be accessed by going to the eponymous website of They are billed as a “smart shared folder for your Google Apps email.” I am not sure if they will enjoy being synonymous with a possible impending financial disaster in Greece and the rest of Europe.

From a linguistic point of view, it is rare to be able to document the “birth” of a new word as clearly as this one. Etymologists, those who do a word study, should be raving with joy at this new one, but they will probably be the only ones happy about this development.

Do you want to learn another word you should know about the Greek financial crisis? Take a look at What is the troika?

More Glossary Words on Greece and Greek Culture Defined

Pronunciation: GREKS-it

Also known as: Greek exit, Greek exit from the Eurozone, Greece exiting the Eurozone, Greece exiting the Euro Union, Greece exiting the European Union (or EU)

Alternative Spelling: Greksit

Common misspellings: Greksit

Examples: Investors around the world fear the ramifications of Grexit, or the possible Greek exodus from the Eurozone or the European Union itself. Travelers are concerned about what might happen to their ability to use credit cards or get money from local ATMs if the Grexit happened while on vacation in Greece.

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