Big, Large & Great

Words for big, large & great in Celtic languages.

Tasmania: The Big Tree

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Proto-Celtic *māros = big, great
*māyūs = bigger, greater
*mārāti = to enlarge, magnify
Gaulish maros
Lepontic 𐌌𐌀𐌓𐌖𐌉 (marui)
Old Irish (Goídelc) mór = big, great
mó, moü, moä = bigger
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) mór, már = big, great
= bigger, greater
mórán, moran = a large quantity or number
anmor = huge, enormous
Irish (Gaeilge) mór [mˠoːɾˠ / mˠɔːɾˠ] = big, great, large
[mˠoː/mˠuː] = bigger, greater, larger
mórán = much, many
anmhór = huge, enormous, very friendly
anmhórán = huge amount, hugh number
athair mór = grandfather
baile mór = large town, city
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) mòr [moːr] = big, great, large, grand, strapping; ample, bulky; high, lofty, tall; spacious; large amount
= bigger, greater, larger
mòran = a lot, many, much, multitude
ana-mhòr = huge, innense, enormous, prominent
baile-mòr = town, city
mòr-chuid = majority, most
Manx (Gaelg) mooar [muːr / muːɹ̝ / muːə̯ / muː] = big, great, grand, heavy, tall, chief, major, familiar, powerful, marked, commodious, intimate, capacious, extravagant, intense, extensive, grievous, bold (promintary), loose-fitting, difficult
moo = bigger, larger
mooaran = many, much
mooarane = great deal, lot, many, much, multitude
mooar-earroo, mooar-eash = majority
Proto-Brythonic *mọr [mɔːr] = great, large
Old Welsh maur = great
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) máúr, maur, mawr = large, big
moi, muy, mui, mwy = larger, bigger, greater
muyhaw, mvihaw, mvyhaf, mwyhaf = biggest, largest, greatest
mawraidd, mawredd = great, fine, grand, majestic
mawr eir, mawrair, mawreir = boast, bragging, eloquence, elevated language
mawrdec, mawrdeg = great and fair, very fine, magnificent, splendid
mawrder, mowrder = largeness, bigness, immensity, greatness
Welsh (Cymraeg) mawr [mau̯r / mou̯r] = large, big; fully grown; capital (letter); heavy (rain); long (hair/time); deep (water), great, greater, stormy, rough
mwy [muːɨ̯/mʊi̯] = larger, bigger, greater, louder, more, longer, further
mwyaf = biggest, largest, greatest, most, loudest, longest
mawraidd = great, fine, grand, majestic
mawrair = boast, bragging, eloquence, elevated language
mawrdeg = great and fair, very fine, magnificent, splendid
mawrder = largeness, bigness, immensity, greatness
Old Cornish maur = big
Middle Cornish (CerneweC) maur, meur, mûr = great, large, big, much
moy = more, greater, bigger
moya, moycha, mocha, mochya = greatest, most
Cornish (Kernewek) meur [mø:r / me:r ] = great, grand, large, substantial, much
moy = another, extra, more
moyha = maximum, most
meur lowr = considerably
meur ras = thank you
meuredh = majesty
meurgara = to admire
meurgarer = admirer
meurgeryans = admiration
meurgeryek = admirable
meurgerys = beloved
Old Breton mor = big
Middle Breton (Brezonec) meur = big, very, many
muy, mui = more
meurbet = very, a lot, big
meurded, meurdet = size, magnitude, greatness
meurdez = majesty
meurniver = multitude
meurvor = ocean
Breton (Brezhoneg) meur [møʁ] = big, many
mui = more
moyha = maximum, most
meurded = magnificance
meurdez = majesty
meurvor = ocean

Etymology: from Proto-Indo-European *moh₁ros (great) [source].

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root, via Byzantine Greek μάραον (máraon – sweet chestnut), include marrone (brown, chestnut) in Italian, marron (chestnut, brown) in French, Morone (sweet chestnut) in German [source].

Proto-Celtic *brassos = great, violent
Old Irish (Goídelc) bras = boastful, strident, violent
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) bras, brass, brassa = boastful, defiant, forceful, violent
Irish (Gaeilge) bras = great, strong, swift (literary)
brasach = lively, quick-spoken
brasaire = lively, quick-spoken, talkative person
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) bras [bras] = swift, precipitous, rapid, hasty, impetuous, impulsive, rash, quick-tempered, exuberant, heady
bras-astarach =fleet-footed
bras-mhacnas = exuberant mirth, extreme debauchery
bras-uisgeach = swift/white-watered
bras-shruth = rapids, torrent
Welsh (Cymraeg) bras [braːs] = thick, fat, plump, stout, bulky, fatted, large, strong; coarse (sand); heavy (rain)
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) bras, brâs = great, gross, big, large, coarse
brasder = greatness, largeness, bigness, pride
braslavar = grandiloquent
brasoberys = magnificent
brassa = greater
Cornish (Kernewek) bras [bra:z] = big, bulky, large
braslavar = boast, threat
brasoberys = magnificent
brassa = bigger, major
braster = bulk, size
brastereth = majesty
brastir = continent
Middle Breton (Brezonec) bras, braz = big, large, deep, important, strong
brassaat, braçzaat, braçzeët, brasat = to grow, increase, put on weight, swell, extend, enlarge
brasadur = extension, enlargement
brasentez, brazentez = size, pride
Breton (Brezhoneg) bras [bʁaz] = big, huge, important
brazentez = size, magnitude, greatness

Etymology: from Proto-Indo-European *gʷrod-to- from *gʷred- from *gʰer- (to rub, stroke, grind, remove) [source].

Words from the same PIE root include gros (big, thick, fat, coarse, rough) in French, gross in English, and grosso (big, large, fat, thick, heavy, rough) in Italian [source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Blubrry podcast hosting

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, Online Manx Dictionary,, eDIL – Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language, In Dúil Bélrai English – Old Irish glossary, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Gerlyvyr Cernewec, Lexicon Cornu-britannicum: A Dictionary of the Ancient Celtic Language of Cornwall, Dictionaire Favereau, TermOfis, Le dictionnaire diachronique du breton, Geriafurch, English – ProtoCeltic WordList (PDF), Etymological Dictionary Of Proto Celtic

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *