Word of the day – moli

Today’s word, moli, is the Welsh for ‘to praise’ and appears in a song we’re learning at the Welsh learners’ choir. I don’t think it’s commonly-used in modern Welsh, but does appear in some songs and maybe in poems. The more common word for to praise is canmol, which appears to come from the same root.

Related words include moliannus, praiseworthy; molianrwydd / moliant / molud, praise.

The words for ‘to praise’ and ‘praise’ in Irish and Scottish Gaelic are simliar to the Welsh: moladh, and mol, in Manx they’re moylley and moyll, and in Breton they are meuliñ and meuleudi.

Another meaning of moli is ‘to gather scurf in the eyes’. Scurf, or môl, is a word I haven’t come across before and means the stuff that appears in the corners of your eyes during sleep. There’s probably another name for it – does anybody know?

This entry was posted in Irish, Language, Welsh, Words and phrases.

13 Responses to Word of the day – moli

  1. Dennis King says:

    See also “mawl” in Welsh, and Gaulish “molatus”. Vendryes suggested in LEIA that we look to the IE root *mel(dh)- “déclamer rituellement”.
    Molaim do chuid oibre anseo.

  2. Christopher Miller says:

    “Scurf”. Interesting word. Haven’t gone to the trouble of looking this up, but I wonder if it has anything to do with scurvy… OK, I just took a look at the etymonline.com site, and it seems it does, “scurvy” having taken on a new meaning from convergence with the Dutch scheurbuik.

    Moli brings to mind the name Molly, and as far as I know it’s derived ultimately from Maria and Mary, but the Welsh word is a lovely associative meaning nonetheless.

  3. Aron says:

    I’ve always called it “sleep”, as in “you’ve got sleep in your eye”. I’ve also encountered the term “eye-boogers”.

  4. Petéa Mitchell says:

    I also recall hearing it called “sleep”. In writing I sometimes come across the phrase “rubbing the sleep from his/her/their eyes” which I’ve always assumed meant those particles.

    The person looking over my shoulder says, “Sniglets has an entire section of words for that.”

  5. Petéa Mitchell says:

    I’ve now been handed a Sniglets book which suggests these terms: nocturnuggets, gozzagareena, optigook, and eyehockey.

  6. formiko says:

    Eye Crispies is the term I’ve always used 🙂

  7. Christopher Miller says:

    Now scurf is an interesting word. LIke Aron, I’ve only known the word “sleep” that in this sense only occurs in the collocation “sleep in [possessive pronoun] eyes”. I looked it up at etymonline.com because I thought there must be some connection with “scurvy” and it seems the two are in fact related.

    As for “moli”, the word reminds me of “Molly”, which — although as far as I remember it is a pet form of “Mary” — is a rather nice associative meaning.

  8. TJ says:

    in our dialect we call it “qamass”
    but I don’t know the real standard Arabic name for it.
    There is a name however for a disease that hits the eye and makes you unable to open it, and it is called “Ramad” in Arabic. I wonder what is it called in English?

  9. Adam Jones says:

    Fuaswn i’n dweud bod moli yn cael ei ddefnyddio’n aml iawn
    I’de say moli is used rather often.

    Moliannwn, Moliannwch

    I can think of a few songs that include these words doo,

    Haleliwia Molwch yr Iôr
    Molwch molwch Iesu
    Moliannwn holl yn llond

    etc etc

  10. LandTortoise says:

    As a child (Devon, UK 1950’s) this was described as “sleepy dust”. I later heard “sleep” used when I moved to other parts of UK.

  11. Dennis King says:

    “Sleepy sand” in my childhood in California.

  12. Macsen says:

    As a boy I’d call it in Welsh ‘Huwcyn Cwsg’ – ‘Huwcyn the sleep’ which is the popular name among Welsh kids.

    In fact I still call it ‘Huwcyn cwsg’ … which kind of sounds odd for a person in his 40s to say!

    Huwcyn, is the diminutive of Huw (Hugh). Why Huw / Huwcyn, I don’t know. Same as Morys y Gwynt (Morris the wind) and Ifan y Glaw (Ivan the rain). I’m sure other languages give personalities to the weather or maybe parts of the body.

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