Words for good and related things in Celtic languages.


Proto-Celtic *matis = good
Old Irish (Goídelc) maith [maθʲ] = good
maithe = goodness
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) maith, maid = good, profiable, excellent, fitness, proficiency, wealth
Irish (Gaeilge) maith [mˠa(h) / mˠaɪ(h)] = good; goodness, kindness; good things; fertility
maithe = goodness, good
maitheamh = forgiveness, pardon, abatement, remission
maitheas = goodness, good, good thing, kindness, gift
maitheasach = good, useful, kind, obliging
maitheasaí = good worker
maithiúnas = forgiveness, pardon
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) math [mah] = good, well
maitheadh = forgiving, pardoning
maitheas = goodness
maitheanas = forgiveness, pardon
maitheamhnas = forgiveness
Manx (Gaelg) mie [maɪ] = good, nice, moral, fair, pious, ready, goodness, favourable, virtuous, virtue, goodly
mienys = favourableness, good, goodness
Proto-Brythonic *mad = good
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) mad, mat [maːd] = fortunate, lucky, good, etc
matweith, madwaith = good work, goodness
Welsh (Cymraeg) mad [maːd] = fortunate, lucky, auspicious, happy, suitable, proper, good, beneficial, holy, fair, pleasant, beautiful, goodness, fairness, benefit, good deed, kindness
madedd = goodness, generosity, bounteousness
madog = good man, good, just, righteous
madol = fair, good, beneficial
madwaith = good work, goodness
madwr = benefactor, patron
Old Cornish mad = good
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) mas, mat, mâs, mâd = good, beneficial
Cornish (Kernewek) mas [ma:z / mæ:z] = good, respectable, moral, virtuous
maseth = morality
Old Breton mat = good
Middle Breton (Brezonec) mat, mad = good
Breton (Brezhoneg) mat, mad [mɑːt/maːd] = good, good product, moral, well (done), sweet
madek = wealthy, gentle, soft
madelezh = kindness, benevolence
madelezhus = beneficent, generous
madig = sweet, bonbon
madoberer = benefactor, patron
mataat = to improve, moralize
demat [deˈmɑːt] = hello, good day
demata = to greet, say hello
peurvat [ˈpør.vat] = perfect

Etymology: from Proto-Indo-European *meh₂tis (ripe, good), from *meh₂- (to ripen, to mature) [source].

Words from the same roots include demure and mature in English, matin (morning) and mûr (mature, ripe) in French, and , mañana (tomorrow, soon, morning) and maduro (mature, ripe) in Spanish [source].

Proto-Celtic *dagos = good
Gaulish dagos = good
Old Irish (Goídelc) dag- = good
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) dag = good, well
Irish (Gaeilge) dea- [dʲa/ dʲeː] = good, well
dea-bhéasach = well-mannered, well-behaved
dea-chruthach = well-shaped, shapely, handsome
dea-dhéanta = well-made, of good figure, physique
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) deagh [dʲoː] = good, fine, nice, pretty, rather well
deagh-rùn = good intention
deagh-aithnichte = well-known
deagh-chliù = good reputation, fame
deagh-spiorad = good spirit
deagh-ghean = goodwill, benevolence
Proto-Brythonic *daɣ = good
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) dá, da = good, beneficial, acceptable, suitable, useful
daeoni, dayoni, daioni = goodness, uprightness, graciousness, kindness, bravery
daionvs, daionus, dayonus = good, beneficial, bountiful, kind, loving, gracious
Welsh (Cymraeg) da [daː] = good, beneficial, acceptable, suitable, useful
daeder = goodness, quality, of goodness
daionedd = goodness, benefit
daioni = goodness, uprightness, graciousness, kindness, bravery
daionus = good, beneficial, bountiful, kind, loving, gracious
daionusrwydd = goodness
daionuster = goodness, beneficence, benefit
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) da = good
dader = goodness, excellence
Cornish (Kernewek) da [da:] = good
da lowr = alright, mediocre, OK, passable
da-ober = good deed
dader = goodness
mellyer/melyores dader = do-gooder
Old Breton da = good
Middle Breton (Brezonec) da = good
Breton (Brezhoneg) da [da] = pleasant, agreeable, satifactory; good (archaic)

Etymology: related to the Proto-Indo-European *déḱos (that which is proper), from *deḱ- (to take, perceive) [source].

Words from the same roots include dech (best) in Old Irish and dainty, decent, decor, dignity, docile doctor and dogma in English [source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

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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

One thought on “Good

  1. One context (admittedly, poetic) in which “mad” is commonly heard in modern Welsh is in the third line of the national anthem:

    gwladgarwyr tra mad : splendid (lit. “very good”) patriots

    I wonder, though, how many people (like me) learned to sing these words long before they were altogether sure what they meant! 🙂
    The word “tra” (extremely, exceedingly = very) is another one seldom found outside such “frozen phrases” as “tra charedig” (most kind).

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