I came across the Scottish Gaelic word spòg (foot) in a song I learnt today and it caught my attention because I heard it a couple of weeks ago when I was in Ireland being used to mean foot in English. I thought it might be a Irish word, but didn’t get round to checking.

In Scottish Gaelic spòg /sbɔːg/ means claw, talon, hand, radius, spoke, paw or leg. It is also used for the hands of a clock: spòg an uaireadair.

I can’t find spog in any of the Irish dictionaries I’ve checked, so maybe it’s a word used in Hiberno-English, but which is no longer used in Irish. The usual word for foot in Irish is cos, which also means leg.

Have any of you come across the word spog before?

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

4 Responses to Spòg

  1. Rauli says:

    I’m no expert on the Celtic languages, but this page:
    says thus:
    spòg, spàg: a claw, paw, Manx spaag, Irish spâg, Welsh ysbach.

  2. Juan Shimmin says:

    Yes, I’d tend to use “spaag” for animals and “cass” for people in general conversation, although I still seem to default to “cass” when writing scientifically.

  3. Dennis King says:

    “Spág” i nGaeilge na hÉireann. You’ll find a selection of derived words (spágachán, spágaire, spágaí, spágálaí, spágán) if you search with “foot” at Is Iomaí Duine ag Dia:

  4. TJ says:

    Interesting… I didn’t know Scottish Gaelic follows the Caol le caol, leathan le leathan rule.

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