During the campaign, Mr. Bush made a reference to the current inhabitants of Greece as “the Grecians,” and was duly made fun of for doing so, since everyone else calls them “Greeks.” Eugene Volokh points out that “Grecian” is a completely legitimate, though archaic, English word. (In fact, it still has some currency as an adjective.) As I understand it, though, its reference has always been to classical, rather than contemporary, Greece, as for example Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn” or Dryden’s translation of Plutarch’s “Lives of the Eminent Grecians and Romans.”
If so, Eugene’s defense of Bush as using a term merely archaic rather than incorrect cannot, I think, stand. Bush used a term for the ancient Hellenes in referring to the contemporary Hellenes, which was a mistake.
But that left a puzzle: Where did Bush find the word? It didn’t seem likely that he’d been reading Keats or old translations of Plutarch. But now (see post immediately below) we know where he saw it:
The label of his bottle of Grecian Formula.