Words for small and related words in Celtic languages.


Proto-Celtic *bikkos = small, little
Old Irish (Goídelc) bec(c) [ˈbʲeɡ] = small, little
MIidle Irish (Gaoidhealg) bec, beg = small, little, a small amount
becaid = to make small, deplete
becaigid, begaigh = to lessen, diminish, reduce
becán, begán, beccan = a little, small quantity, a few, a small number, little one, child, humble, lowly one
becda = lowly, humble
Irish (Gaeilge) beag [bʲɔɡ / bʲɞɡ / bʲɛɡ] = little, small, small amount; few
beagadán = diminutive person, little one
beagaigh = to lesson, diminish
beagán = little, a few, a little, somewhat
beagchainteach = silent, taciturn
beagchéillí = senseless, foolish
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) beag [beg] = small, little, wee; minor; petty, puny, trifling; slight
beagadh [begəg] = to diminish, lessen, reduce
beagachadh [begəxəɣ] = diminishing, lessening, reducing
beagag [begag] = small thing, trifle
beagan [began] = a little, a few
beaganas [beganəs] = slight, snub
beagnachd [begnəxg] = parvity, smallness
Manx (Gaelg) beg = small, short, slight, few, poky, model, narrow, quiet, dwarf
beggan = somewhat, slightly, partly, faintly, a few, little, small piece
begganid = littleness, smallness, slightness
beggid = diminutive, diminutiveness, littleness, paltriness
Proto-Brythonic *bɨx = small
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) hach, bych, bâch, = small, little
baches, baçes = darling, little, little woman
bachken, bachcen = boy, lad, youngster, servant, son, child
bachcennes = young girl, maiden, damsel, lass, wench
Welsh (Cymraeg) bach [baːχ] = small, little, short; not fully grown or developed, young; insignificant, unimportant, humble; small (business); lower-case (letter); dear, beloved; poor
baches = darling, little, little woman
bachgen = boy, lad, youngster, servant, son, child
bachgennes = young girl, maiden, damsel, lass, wench
bachigol = diminutive, small, little
bychan [ˈbəχan] = little, small, minute, diminutive; inconspicuous, obscure, unimportant, petty; young inexperienced; little one, young child
bychanaf, bychanu = to abase, disparage, disregard, slight, minimize
bychander, bychandod = littleness, smallness, scarcity, contempt, pettiness
bychanig = very little/small, minute, diminutive, bit, piece
bychan bach very little
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) bechan, bian, bichan, bihan, bochan, byan, byhan = little, small
Cornish (Kernewek) byghan [‘bɪhan] = little, small
byghanhe = to reduce, make smaller
byghanna = smaller
Middle Breton (Brezonec) bihan, byhan = small
bihanaat, bihanhat, bihanat = to shrink, diminish
bihanaet, bihannaet = decrease
bihanded, bihandet, bihandætt = smallness
Breton (Brezhoneg) bihan = small, insufficient, modest, little
bihanaat = diminutive, pet name
bihanadur = miniature
bihanniver = minority

Etmology: possibly from the Proto-Indo-European *bʰég-ko-s, from *bʰeg- (to break) +‎ the suffix *-kos [source].

Words for small and little in Romance languages, such as petit in French, pequeno in Portuguese and pequeño in Spanish, possibly come from the same Proto-Celtic root, via the Latin word *pittus (small, little) [source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Sources: Wiktionary, Etymological Dictionary Of Proto Celtic, In Dúil Bélrai English – Old Irish glossary, eDIL – Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language,, Am Faclair Beag, Fockleyreen: Manx – English Dictionary, Online Manx Dictionary, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Lexicon cornu-britannicum : a dictionary of the ancient Celtic language of Cornwall, Gerlyver Kernewek, Devri : Le dictionnaire diachronique du breton, Dictionaire Favereau, TermOfis

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