This morning I heard an interesting Welsh word on Radio Cymru that I hadn’t come across before – dadsothachu [dadsɔ’θaxɨ̬]. It means “to declutter” and combines a verbed form of the word sothach (bilge, garbage, junk, trash, trumpery) with the prefix dad-, which is the equivalent of the English prefixes de- and un-, and also serves as an intensifier. Another word they used for the same action was dadclytero (I think that’s how to spell it). Neither of these words appear in dictionaries I’ve checked.

I’ve been trying to declutter since I moved, and indeed before that. So far I’ve taken quite a lot books to local charity shops, but there’s plenty more filling my bookcases. At the same time I’ve acquired quite a lot more stuff. I also have more space in my new house, so the temptation is to fill it with even more stuff.

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

6 Responses to Dadsothachu

  1. Yenlit says:

    The word ‘sothach’ is unusual in that it doesn’t look particularly Welsh? If you split it from its suffix ‘-ach’ which forms a noun you’re left with the curious element ‘soth’ which looks similar to the Finnish words ‘sotku’, ‘sotkea’ when I was looking at the wiktionary translations for ‘clutter’?
    I think the English word ‘clutter’ is connected to the Welsh ‘cludair’ a heap, pile but I’m not certain.
    The pseudo-word ‘dadclytero’ would probably be ‘dadglytero’ with soft mutation – wouldn’t it?

  2. Simon says:

    I’m not sure what the origins of soth, but The concise dictionary English etymology does give the origin of clutter as the Welsh cludair.

  3. Yenlit says:

    I imagine ‘sothach’ is related to or even a variation on ‘swtrach’ – dross, dregs?

  4. Rauli says:

    The Oxford Concise Dictionary of English Etymology claims the word clutter came (via clotter and clodder) from the word clot/clod. This word is a Germanic one, with cognates in Middle High German (kloz) and German (Klotz). The book also compares it with the words cleat and clout, which have similar origins. Even the word “cloud” might be related to clod.

  5. Macsen says:

    the suffix -ach in Welsh denotes a multitude of stuff or undistinguishable things e.g.

    papurach (paper + ach = paper-stuff, you’d probably chuck it away some time but it’s all over the floor in a mess),

    poblach (people + ach = peoples e.g. ‘there were loads of poblach at the football match’, people you’re not particularly interested in.

    bwydach – bwyd (food) – jyst lots of food, not particularly special etc.

  6. Yenlit says:

    Yes, it’s a diminutive suffix added to singular or collective nouns sometimes suggesting contempt as you said in your example (y boblach – riff-raff, the common people) and generally hinting at unimportance, insignificance and smallness eg.
    gwydrach (glass+ach) bits of broken glass
    blewiach (hair+iach) fine downy hair.

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