Quick, Fast & Lively

Words for quick, fast, crazy, lively, ready and related things in Celtic languages.


Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) tap = sudden
tapad = suddenness, haste, quickness, bravery
tapaid = quick, swift, active
Irish (Gaeilge) tapa [ˈt̪ˠapˠə] = quick(ness), ready, active, speed, vigour
tapaigean = sudden start, spring, jump, mishap
tapaigh = to quicken, grasp quickly
tapaíoch = quick, active, alert person
tapaíocht = quickness, activeness, alertness
tapóg = tendency to jump, nerviness, sudden impulse
tapógach = jumpy, nervy, impulsive
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) tapadh [tahbəɣ] = cleverness, smartness, thanks, alertness, feat, achievement
tapadh leat/leibh = thank you
tapaidh [tahbɪ] = clever, smart, brave, heroic, active, vigorous
all-tapadh = mishap, accident, misfortune
Manx (Gaelg) tappee = fast, hasty, quick, rapid, speedy, swift
tappeeid= quickness, rapidity, speed
tappeeys = quickness, rapidity, speed, nimbleness

Etymology: uncertain

Old Irish (Goídelc) opunn = fast, prompt, quick
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) opunn, obunn, opund, topund = quick, swift, prompt, hasty, precipitate
Irish (Gaeilge) tobann [ˈt̪ˠɔbˠən̪ˠ] =sudden, unexpected, hasty, impulsive, quick-tempered
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) obann [obən̪ˠ] = sudden, unexpected
gu h-obann = suddenly

Etymology: uncertain

Old Irish (Goídelc) ellam, ollam, ullam = quick, ready, soon, speedy
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) ellam, ollam, ullam = quick, prompt, speedy, soon, readily, ready, prepared, finished, complete
ellma = speed, rapidity, promptness, speedily, soon, prompty, soon enough, ready, prepared
ellmaigid = to prepare, make ready
Irish (Gaeilge) ullamh [ˈɔl̪ˠəvˠ/ˈʊl̪ˠuː] = ready, willing, prompt, prepared, predisposed inclined, finished
ullmhacht = readiness, preparedness
ullmhaigh = to make ready, prepare
ullmhaitheach = preparative
ullmhaitheoir = preparer
ullmhú = preparation
ullmhúchán = preparative, preparation
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) ullamh [ul̪ˠəv] = done, finished, ready, prepared, mature, handy, prone to
ullamhachadh [ul̪ˠəvəxəɣ] = preparing, getting ready, preparation, arranging, arrangement, providing, provision
ullamhachd [ul̪ˠəvəxg] = readiness, preparedness, proneness, aptitude, aptness
Manx (Gaelg) ullee = conversant, operational, prepared, ready

Etymology: from Old Irish ar (for, on), fo- (under, sub-) and lám (arm, hand)[source].

Old Irish (Goídelc) mer = crazy
meraige = crazy person, fool
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) mer = demented, crazy, wild, rash
meraige = a muddle-headed or scatter-brained person; aberration, derangement
Irish (Gaeilge) mear [mʲaɾˠ] = quick, fast, nimble, lively, spirited; precipitate, hasty, rash; quick-tempered, fiery; mad, crazy; furious, raging, angry
mearadh = madness, insanity, craze, craving
mearaí = crazed person, distracted, bewildered, person, craziness, distraction, bewilderment
mearaigh = to derange, distract, bewilder, confuse, to become distracted
mearaitheoir = distracter, bewilderer, infuriating person.
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) mear [mɛr] = merry, joyful, frisky, lively
mearachas [mɛrəxəs] = mirth, merriment
mearachd [mɛrəxg] = merriness
mearaiche = droll / merry person
Manx (Gaelg) merre [mɛr] = frenzy
Welsh (Cymraeg) miri = merry, gay, fun, merriment, mirth, tumult, fuss, bother, predicament
miriman = fool, clown, wild and unruly person
miriol = merry, gay

Etymology: possibly from English merry, or Middle English mery (happy, joyful, pleased), from Old English myrġe (pleasant, attractive, enjoyable), from Proto-West Germanic *murgī (short, slow, leisurely), from Proto-Germanic *murgijaz/*murguz (short, brief slow, leisurely), from Proto-Indo-European *mréǵʰus (short, brief) [source].

Proto-Celtic *lim-ā- = to sharpen, polish
Old Irish (Goídelc) límaid = to polish, sharpen
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) límaid, límad = sharpens, grinds, polishes
límtha = sharpened, burnished, keen, polished, fluent
límugud = act of sharpening
Irish (Gaeilge) líomh [mʲaɾˠ] = to grind, sharpen, file, smooth, polish, erode, destroy
líomhadh = to grind, polish, erosion, destruction
líomhadóir = grinder, filer, polisher
líomhán = file
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) lìomh [l̪ʲiəv] = polish, gloss, burnish, refinement
Manx (Gaelg) shleeu = to grind, sharpen, whet, grinding, sharpening
shleeuan = file
shleeuee = grinder
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) llim, llym, lem = sharp, pointed, keen, harsh, shill, quick, swift
lllymu = to whet, file, sharpen
llymaidd = sharp, keen, piercing, harsh, severe, eager, ardent
llymder = sharpness, keenness, harshness, severity
cyflym, kyflym = quick, swift, speedy, brisk, quick-witted, intelligent, ready, clever, sharp, keen, acute
kymlymder, cyflymdra = swiftness, quickness, rapidity
Welsh (Cymraeg) llym [ɬɨ̞m/ɬɪm] = sharp, pointed, keen, harsh, shill, quick, swift
llymaf, llymu = to whet, file, sharpen, speak severly
llymaidd = sharp, keen, piercing, harsh, severe, eager, ardent
llymder = sharpness, keenness, harshness, severity
cyflym = quick, swift, speedy, brisk, quick-witted, intelligent, ready, clever, sharp, keen, acut
cyflymaf, cyflymu = to quicken, accelerate, hasten, expedite
cyflymder = swiftness, quickness, rapidity
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) lemma, leamn, lemen, lemmen, lemyn, lemmyn, lymmyn = to sharpen, whet
Cornish (Kernewek) lymm, lebm = sharp, acute, keen, piercing, insightful
llymma = to sharpen
Middle Breton (Brezonec) lem, lemm = sharp, pointed, acute
lemaff, lemmaff = to sharpen, make sharp
lemder = acuity
lemer = sharpener
Breton (Brezhoneg) lemm = pointed, sharp, acute
lemmañ, lemmiñ = to sharpen, make sharp
lemmded = acuity
lemmell = sharp
lemmerez = sharpener
lemmet = sharp(ened), keen, pointed

Etymology: probably from PIE *sley- (smooth, slick, sticky), or from Latin līma (file), from the same PIE root [source]. Words from the same roots include slime in English, and llif (saw) in Welsh [source].

Proto-Celtic *bīwonos = ?
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) buan= fast, swift, rapid
buander = quickness, alacrity, swiftness, speed
buaned, buanez = quickness, swiftness, speed
Welsh (Cymraeg) buan [ˈbɨː.an/ˈbiː.an] = fast, swift, rapid
yn fuan = soon
mor fuan â phosibl = as soon as possible
buanaf, buanu = to accelerate, hasten, move swiftly
buander = quickness, alacrity, swiftness, speed
buanedd = quickness, swiftness, speed
Cornish (Kernewek) buan = lively, quick
Old Breton buenion = quck, fast
Middle Breton (Brezonec) buan = quck, fast
Breton (Brezhoneg) buan = quick, fast
buanaat = to accelerate
buanaer = accelerater
buanded = speed, rapidity

Etymology: probably from Proto-Celtic *biwos ((alive, living, mortal) from PIE *gʷeyh₃- (to live) [source]. Words for life and food come from the same roots, as do English words such as bioology, quick, vital, vivid and zoo [source].

For other words for quick see the Celtiadur posts: Early and Soon

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

One thought on “Quick, Fast & Lively

  1. I’m not sure about the IPA pronunciation shown for the Manx Gaelic word merre. I’m not an IPA expert, but this looks like what was previously shown against the word mie (good). The Manx word should sound more like the Gàidhlig version.

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