I came across the term gearrán iarainn the other day while looking for something else in my Irish dictionary. The literal meaning is ‘iron horse’ and the actual meaning is bicycle. It sounds similar to one of the early words for car – horseless carriage – and just appealed to me. I’m fairly sure it isn’t used very often though – the more common Irish word for bicycle is rothar, which comes from the root roth, wheel. A cyclist is rothaí, to cycle is rothaigh, and cycling is rothaíocht.
Do you know of any other languages which have a similarly interesting name for the bicycle?