Word of the day – mac tíre

mac tíre, noun = wolf (literally ‘son of the country(side)’). The tíre sounds roughly like cheer-uh.

I came across this Irish word while searching for the Scottish Gaelic for word for wolf, which someone asked me today. Another Irish word for wolf is faolchú, while the equivalent in Scottish Gaelic is faol or madadh allaidh (wild dog). In Manx a wolf is a filliu or moddey oaldey (wild dog).

Here are some wolf-related proverbs:

O wilku mowa, a wilk tuż (Polish)
Talk of a wolf and the wolf is here = Speak of the Devil (and he will appear).

La fame caccia il lupo dal bosco (Italian)
Hunger drives the wolf out of the woods

There are many more here, though few of them are in their original languages, unfortunately.

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

5 Responses to Word of the day – mac tíre

  1. Polly says:

    Interesting link!
    “Even the well-trained wolf won’t become a lamb” – Armenian.

    I’d like to see that one in the original. I’ve never heard it in common speech.

  2. Giovanni says:

    To be honest I’d never heard of that Italian proverb before, but maybe they just don’t use it in my region (Latium).

    Here are some more wolf-related expressions.

    In bocca al lupo!
    Literally “In the wolf’s mouth!”, it means “Good luck!”, said to a friend before an interview, an exam, etc. You should never reply grazie to this, supposedly it would carry bad luck. The correct answer is crepi!, meaning “May it (the wolf) die!”.

    Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio.
    “The wolf loses his fur, but not his habit”.
    Said when someone repeats a bad action over time, such as stealing or gossiping, or even restarting to smoke.

  3. Josh says:

    Wow, looking at that site one would think that Estonia is just completely overrun with wolves.

    The only one I know in French describes hunger:

    Avoir un faim de loup

    (To have a wolf’s hunger [to be as hungry as a wolf])

  4. Simon says:

    Josh – I also wondered why there are so many sayings about wolves in Estonian. I discovered that Estonia is in fact home to a quite a large number of wolves, according to this site. The Estonian word for wolf is hunt, by the way.

    Here are some Estonian wolf-related sayings:

    hunt lambanahas – a wolf in sheep’s clothing

    asjatult lärmi lööma – cry wolf

    nälga majast eemal hoidma – keep the wolf from the door

  5. A.D. Romero Zapiola says:

    In spanish we have this saying:

    “Es como entrar a la boca del lobo”
    “It’s like entering the wolf’s mouth”

    Se usa cuando queremos expresar que hacer algo es arriesgado. Además que la persona que va a ahcer eso estaría haciendo una cosa tonta.

    It is used when we wan’t to say that doing something is risky. And that the one who wants to do this would be commiting a silly thing.


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