Words for purple and related things in Celtic languages.


Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Old Irish (Goídelc) corcarda = purple, crimson
corcair = purple / crimson dye, murex
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) corcarda, corcra = purple, crimson
purpuir = purple, crimson
Irish (Gaeilge) corcra = purple
corcraigh = purple, crimson, bloody
corcair = a kind of purple dye
corcairdhearg = crimson
corcairghorm = violet
purpair = purple, purple cloth
purpal = purple
purparaigh = purple
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) corcar [kɔr̪ˠxgər] = purple; any lichen yielding a purple dye
corcra [kɔrxgrə] = purple, crimson
corcarach [kɔrxgrəx] = purple, crimson
corcaire [kɔrxgɪrʲ] = make/dye purple
corcradh [kɔrxgrəɣ] = making/dying purple
purpaidh [purbɪ] = purple
purpar [purbər] = purple
Manx (Gaelg) purple = purple
Proto-Brythonic *porfor = purple
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) porfor, porffor, porphor = purple
Welsh (Cymraeg) porffor [ˈpɔrfɔr] = purple, puce, violet, red, crimson, scarlet, clad in purple, royal, imperial
porffori, porffora(f) = to become/turn purple or crimson
porfforaid = purple (coloured), purplish, clad in purple
purpur = purple, scarlet, red, purple cloth
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) purpur = purple, purple robe
Cornish (Kernewek) purpur [‘pʏrpʏr / ‘pərpər] = purple, violet
purpurwyn = light purple
Middle Breton (Brezonec) pourp, pourpr = purple
Breton (Brezhoneg) pourpré = purple

Etymology: from Latin purpura (purple), from Ancient Greek πορφύρα [por.pʰý.raː] (purple-fish (Hexaplex trunculus), purple dye from that fish). The English word purple comes from the same roots, as do words for purple in various other European languages [source].

Middle Welsh (Kymraec ) ehoec = heather-colour(ed), purple, green
Welsh (Cymraeg) ehöeg = heather-colour(ed), purple, green, green colour
hoeg = green
Etymology: possibly from *oec (heather) [source].

Other words for purple in Welsh include:

  • piws [pɪu̯s] (puce, [reddish] purple). It comes from the English puce (brownish-purple, deep red), from French puce (flea), from Latin pūlicem (flea), from Proto-Indo-European *plúsis (flea), which is also the root of the English word flea [source].
  • cochlas [ˈkɔχlas] (purple, reddish blue), from coch (red) and glas (blue/green) [source].
  • glasgoch [ˈɡlasɡɔχ] (purple, bluish red), from glas (blue/green) and coch (red) [source].

Other words for purple in Manx are gorrym jiarg and jiarg gorrym, and purpleness is gorrym jiargid.

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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, Dictionaire Favereau, TermOfis, English – ProtoCeltic WordList (PDF), Etymological Dictionary Of Proto Celtic

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