Difficult Irish

Following on from my last post, I decided to look at words for difficult, and related words, in Irish today.

There are a number of different words for difficult in Irish:

deacair = hard, difficult; difficulty; hardship, distress; (used in Connacht)
doiligh = hard, difficult; hard to bear, distressing; hard to deal with; difficult, intractable (used in Ulster and Munster)
crua = hard; Firm, solid; difficult; strenuous; tight; forceful; severe; harsh, unfeeling; stingy; hardy
dian = intense, vehement; hard, severe
duaisiúil = laborious, difficult, troublesome, distressing
dúshlánach = challenging
casta = twisted, wound; complicated, intricate, involved; gnarled, bent; wizened
ciotach = left-handed; Awkward, unhandy; difficult, troublesome; inconvenient

Here are some examples of usage:

– Is deacair ceann críonna a chur ar cholainn óg = You can’t put an old head on young shoulders
– Is deacair a bheith suas leis = He is a very tricky person to deal with
– Is doiligh ciall a bhaint as = It is hard to make sense of it
– Is doiligh corrán maith a fháil do dhrochbhuanaí = A bad workman quarrels with his tools (It is hard to get a good sickle from a bad reaper)
– Ceist chrua = A difficult question
– Fadhb chrua le réiteach = A difficult problem to solve
– Bhí saol crua aici = She had a hard life
– Tá mé ag staidéar go dian = I am studying hard
– Tá tú mós dian air, = You are a bit too hard on him
– Obair dhuaisiúil = Tedious, wearing, work
– Aistear duaisiúil = Weary/wearying journey
– Scéal casta = Complicated story
= Ceist chasta = Knotty question

In Scottish Gaelic words for difficult include:

doirbh [dɤrʲɤv] = difficult, hard; tricky
bruaill [bruəl̪ʲ] = difficult; intractable
duilich [dulɪç] = sorry; difficult, hard; regrettable; sad
doilidh [dɔlɪ] = sorry; difficult, hard; regrettable; sad
deacrach [dʲaxgrəx] = difficult, hard; mournful, sad
cruaidh [kruəj = hard, firm; difficult; painful, distressing; scarce

In Manx words for difficult include:

doillee = difficult, hard, stiff, ticklish, uphill
doccaragh = arduous, grievous, hard, inconvenient, laborious, painful, uphill
condragh = difficult, mischievous, wicked
creoi = adamant, difficult, distressing, hardy, heartless, obdurate, severe, stubborn
neuaashagh = awkward, difficult; discontented, restless, uneasy

Sources: foclóir.ie, teanglann.ie, Am Faclair Beag, Fockleyreen

This entry was posted in English, Irish, Language, Manx, Scottish Gaelic, Words and phrases.

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