Word of the day – bean ghlúine

bean ghlúine, noun = midwife (lit. “kneeling woman”)

This word suggests that kneeling was once a major part of being a midwife in Ireland. Other Irish words for midwife are bean chabhartha (“helping woman”) and cnáimhseach, and midwifery is cnáimhseachas.

The word midwife comes from the Old English mid (with) and wif (woman). One of the Welsh words for midwife, gwidwith, perhaps comes from the same root; the other is bydwraig (“world wife”).

Faoi láthair tá mo dheirfiúr a dhéanamh staidéar ar an chnaimhseachas, agus sin é an fáth a phioc mé an focal seo.

My sister is currently studying midwifery, which is why I choose this word.

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

3 Responses to Word of the day – bean ghlúine

  1. TJ says:

    I’ve noticed something here. Usually the verbal adjective in Irish is achieved by adding “te” or “ta” (as far as I remember) to the stem of the verb.
    Here, I see “Glúine” as a completely independant adjective like Bán or Mór for example. So, what’s the secret behind this? I mean, Glúine seems not taken from the verb “to kneel” (is it téigh?).

  2. Simon says:

    ‘Kneeling woman’ is not an exact translation of bean ghlúine. A more literal translation would, I think, be ‘woman of knee(s)’ – glúin = knee, glúine = knees (plural/genitive singular), glún = of knees (genitive plural).

    To kneel is dul ar do ghlúine (to go on your knees) or sléacht.

  3. TJ says:

    go hiontach!

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