I’m often asked to translate words and phrases into various languages. Without any context this is particular challenging as a word in English might have more than one possible translations in another language.

The other day, for example, I was asked to translate “Scottish Pride” into Scots and Scottish Gaelic. The Scots version is easy, “Scots Pride”, and the Scottish part is easy in Scottish Gaelic, “na h-Alba”, but there are quite a few equivalents of pride, each of which has slightly or very different meanings. Dwelly gives the following translations of pride:

– ain-mèin – pride, haughtiness, arrogance, frowardness.
– ànart – pride, disdain, contempt.
– àrdan – pride, haughtiness; anger, wrath; height, eminence, hillock
– barracaid – pride; loud talk.
– boiteal – pride, haughtiness, arrogance.
– borraileachd – pride.
– bròd – pride, arrogance, haughtiness; chastisement;
– cuidealachd – pride.
– diomas – pride, arrogance; defiance.
– làstan – pride, sauciness, lordliness boasting for nothing.
– mórchuis – pride, pomp, magnificence, splendour; boasting, vainglory, ambition, state, pride, glory; exploit
– pròis – pride, haughtiness; flattery; humouring, cajoling; ceremony; neat, punctilious little female, prude; conceit; niceness
– pròisealachd – pride, haughtiness; punctiliousness, niceness, ceremoniousness; humouring nattering; punctilious prudery or neatness.
– spailp – pride, spirit, courage, boldness; conceit, self-conceit; foppish young man, beau; airs of importance; armour, belt; kiss; lie; attitude of the foot stretched out, as of a self-important fellow
– starn – pride, haughtiness, conceit.
– stàt – pride, haughtiness.
– stràic – pride, self-conceit; swell of anger or passion
– uabhar – pride, insolence, bluster, vainglory; pomp; heat; extreme pride
– baiseal – pride, arrogance, haughtiness.
– barracaideachd – pride, sauciness.
– cuidealas – pride, conceit, forwardness.
– leòime – pride, self-conceit; foppishness, prudery, coquetry.
– leòm – pride, conceit, gaudiness, foppishness, vainglory, prudery; drawling pronunciation; flattery
– rimhiadh – pride.
– uaibhreachas – pride, pomp, vainglory, haughtiness, arrogance; insolence; great haughtiness, extreme degree of pride or vainglory

Without any context, I would guess that “Mórchuis na h-Alba” might be a good translation of “Scottish Pride”.

In English pride can have a number of meanings as well. According to the OED it can mean:

– A high, esp. an excessively high, opinion of one’s own worth or importance which gives rise to a feeling or attitude of superiority over others; inordinate self-esteem.
– Personified, esp. as the first of the seven deadly sins.
– Arrogant, haughty, or overbearing behaviour, demeanour, or treatment of others, esp. as exhibiting an inordinately high opinion of oneself.
– A consciousness of what befits, is due to, or is worthy of oneself or one’s position; self-respect; self-esteem, esp. of a legitimate or healthy kind or degree.
– The feeling of satisfaction, pleasure, or elation derived from some action, ability, possession, etc., which one believes does one credit.
– Magnificence, splendour; pomp, ostentation, display
– A group of lions forming a social unit.
– The best, highest, or most flourishing state or condition; the prime; the flower.

Pride is derived from proud, from the Old French prod/pro/prot/proz (courageous, valiant, good, noble), from the post-classical Latin prode (profitable, advantageous, useful), from the classical Latin prōdesse (to be of value, be good).

4 thoughts on “Pride

  1. Well, ‘national pride’ is ‘pròis(e) nàiseanta’ according to the Scottish Faclair na Pàrlamaid website I was looking at. I don’t know whether ‘Scottish’ in this sense should be an adjective (Albannach) or the genitive (na h-Alba) where in English ‘Pride of Scotland’ has a slightly different meaning?

  2. Without any context, my first instinct was that this was something like a Scottish event relating to Gay Pride. Possibly because there’s posters up around my way for Pride events. As Yenlit said, I’m quite wary with translating those types of English adjectives because of their ambiguity; the exact English intended meaning might make a difference.

  3. funny how according to Trask´s Etymological Dictionary of Basque, the Basque word “harro”,proud, could be derived from “har”, which means.. worm. Maybe because a worm-bitten fruit becomes empty?

    But then again, Trask´s dictionary is just a sketch, he didn´t have the time to elaborate on it…

    sorry if that was a little off-topic.

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