Word of the day – twmpath

Today’s word, twmpath (/tʊmpaθ/), is the Welsh word for a tump, hump, hummock, tussock or mound. It is also refers to a type of barn dance, which is sort of the Welsh equivalent of an Irish ceili.

The English word tump (a mound or hillock) might come from twmpath, though the dictionaries I’ve checked give it’s origin as unknown.

According to this site, there was a tradition in Wales for people gather on the twmpath chwarae (lit. “tump for playing”) or village green in the evenings to dance and play various sports, usually starting on May Day. A fiddler or harpist would sit and play on a mound in the middle of the green and people would dance around them.

Other uses of this word include twmpath gwadd, mole hill, and twmpath cyflymder or speed bump, a traffic calming measure sometimes called a ‘sleeping policeman’ in English. What are such things called in your language?

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

9 Responses to Word of the day – twmpath

  1. Jangari says:

    Do you mean those small round bumps in the middle of an intersection? We call them ‘silent cops’ in Sydney.

  2. Clearly a borrowing of the North Sea Germanic phrase “tomb path,” referencing the hills or burrows nobility and royalty were built in.

  3. David says:

    {Kinda off topic} but can someone help me with Lenition in the Welsh language?

    Anyway, In Melbourne we call them traffic isles.

  4. Simon says:

    In the UK, speed bumps or sleeping policemen are usually artificial ridges that go part way or all the way across the road. They might be made of metal, plastic or tarmac.

    David – in Welsh lenition is usually called soft mutation. It’s one of three types of mutation – the others are nasal mutation and aspirate mutation. You find out more here and here.

  5. Here in the U.S., I have not generally heard any other expression for those than “speed bump.” I did once see a road sign that said “speed hump,” but needless to say I and everyone else in the car agreed there were reasons that was NOT standard usage at all!!!

  6. David Thin says:

    In Hungarian we call them ‘fekvőrendőr’, which means ‘lying policeman’.

  7. David says:

    Ohh! Are we talking about speed-humps? I though we were talking about the pieces of concrete in the middle of the road that can have signs, such as ‘left turn only’ and ‘give way’.. Anyway, we call them speed-humps in Melbourne too.

  8. BG says:

    A live in the U.S. and have only seen or heard of speed bumps, but my English teacher said that in the Bahamas they are called sleeping policemen. I didn’t know that this was the case in so many places.

  9. P Terry Hunt says:

    Minstrel Ayreon

    As Posters above have said, in the UK these are usually ‘speed bumps’ or ‘sleeping policemen’ (which I think is the older name, now falling into disuse, probably because of its cumberousness).

    However, when a lengthy stretch of UK road is badly due some levelling maintenance, one not infrequently sees signs saying ‘Humps for 2 miles’ or similar.