Kings and Queens

Words for king and related things in Celtic languages.

Brian Boru, High King of Ireland (1002-1014)
Brian Boru, High King of Ireland (1002-1014) / Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig, Ard-Rí ar Éirinn

Proto-Celtic *rīxs/*rig- = king
Celtiberian reikis = king
Gaulish rīx = king – appears in names like Katurīx, Suādurīx, *Werkingetorīx (Vercingetorix) and Asterix
Primitive Irish ᚏᚔᚌᚐᚄ (rigas) = (of the) king
Old Irish (Goídelc) [r͈ʲiː] = king
rígdae = regal, kingly
rígdún = palace
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) rí, ríg, rig = king, head, chief
rígán = a sub-king, chief
rígamail, rioghamhail = royal
rígdacht = kingliness, kingly qualities, a kingdom
rígda(e) = a royal dwelling place, palace
rígrach = = royal, kingly
Irish (Gaeilge) [ɾˠiː] = king, sovereign, monarch
ríoga = regal, royal
ríora = kings, royal persons, royalty, dynasty
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) rìgh [r̪ʲiː] = king
banrìgh = queen
àrd-rìgh = high king
mòr-rìgh = emperor
rìoghachadh = reigning, reign
rìoghachd = kingdom, realm
Manx (Gaelg) ree = king
reejerey = cavalier, chevalier, king, knight, lord, paladin, prince
reeoil = kinglike, monarchy, regal, royal
reeaght, reeriaght, riaght, ream = kingdom
Proto-Brythonic *riɣ [ˈriːɣ] = king
Old Welsh rig = king
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) ri, rhi = king
rhiaidd, rhïaidd = regal, royal, noble, generous
rieu, riav = king, lord, ruler, chieftain
rriawdr, riawdr = lord, ruler, chieftain, God
Welsh (Cymraeg) rhi [r̥iː] = king, prince, lord, ruler, chieftain
rhiaidd = regal, noble, aristocratic, dignified
rhiau = king, lord, ruler, chieftain
rhiawdr = lord, ruler, chieftain, God
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) ruy, ruif = king, sovereign, ruler
ryal, real = royal, kingly
Cornish (Kernewek) riel = regal, royal
Old Breton ri = king
Middle Breton (Brezonec) ri, rí = king

Etymology: from Proto-Indo-European *h₃rḗǵs (king, ruler) [source], which is also the root of the German word Reich (empire, realm), and the English suffix -ric, as in bishopric (a diocese or region of a church which a bishop governs) [source].

Proto-Celtic *rīganī= queen
Gaulish rigani = queen
Old Irish (Goídelc) rígan = queen
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) rígain, rígan, rígnae = queen, noble lady
Irish (Gaeilge) ríon = queen, queenly, noble, lady, fair maiden
banríon = queen
(ban)ríonacht = queenship
ríonaí = queenly
ríonaigh = to queen (chess)
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) rìghinn [r̪ʲi.ɪn̪ʲ] = princess (archaic)
rìbhinn [r̪ʲiːvɪn̪ʲ] = maid, maiden, girl, Venus, adder, queen (archaic)
banrìgh = queen
Manx (Gaelg) reeven = queen
rein = queen
ben-rein = queen
Proto-Brythonic *rriɣėn [r͈iˈɣe̝ːn] = queen
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) riein, riain = (young) woman, girl, damsel, lass, maiden, virgin, queen, noble girl, lady
Welsh (Cymraeg) rhiain = (young) woman, girl, damsel, lass, maiden, virgin, queen, noble girl, lady

Etymology: from Proto-Indo-European *h₃rḗǵnih₂ (queen), from *h₃rḗǵs (king, ruler) [source]. Words from the same roots include reine (queen) in French, reina (queen) in Spanish, erregina (queen) in Basque, and regină (queen) in Romanian [source].

Middle Welsh (Kymraec) rhỼyf, rwyf, rỼy = king, lord, ruler, chieftain, leader
rwyfaỼ, rwyfaỼ = to have dominion over, govern, rule
rwyuannus, rhwyvanus = royal, kinglike, governing
ruyvenit = prince, king, ruler
rhwyfiadur, ruyfadur, rwyfyadur, rỼyfyadur = chief(tain), lord, leader, ruler, protector
Welsh (Cymraeg) rhwy(f) = king, lord, ruler, chieftain, leader
rhwyfo = to have dominion over, govern, rule, lead, be ostentatious, live in splendour
rhwyfanes = queen, lady
rhwyfaniad = reign, government, rule, kingdom
rhwyfanus = royal, kinglike, governing
rhwyfenydd = prince, king, ruler
rhwyf(i)adur = chief(tain), lord, leader, ruler, protector
Old Cornish ruifanes = queen
ruifadur = chief(tain), lord, leader
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) ruy, ruif = king, sovereign, ruler
ruifanes, ruivanes = a female ruler, queen
Cornish (Kernewek) ruvanes = queen
ruvaneth = kingdom
Old Breton roe = king
Middle Breton (Brezonec) roe, roé, roue, rouè = king
rouanes, roanez, rouanés = queen
rouantelez, roeantelez = kingdom
roueel = royal
roueeler = royalist
roueelezh = royalty
roueelouriezh = royalism
roueoni = reign
Breton (Brezhoneg) roue = king
rouanez = queen
rouantelezh = kingdom, monarchy
roueel = royal
roueelezh = royalty
roueelouriezh = royalism

Etymology: from Old French roi (king), from Latin rēgem (king, ruler, despot, tyrant), from Proto-Italic *rēks (king), from Proto-Indo-European *h₃rḗǵs (king, ruler) [source].

Words from the same Latin root include re (king) in Italian, roi (king) in French, viceroy in English and rey (king) in Spanish [source].

Proto-Celtic *brigantīnos = (someone) pre-eminent, outstanding
Proto-Brythonic *brɨɣėntin [brɨɣe̝nˈtiːn] = lord, king
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) breenhin, breennin, breyenhin, brenhin = king
brenhynes, brenhines = queen, goddess, queen bee
brenineiziaw = to become kingly
brenhynyaeth, brenhinyaeth = royalty, kingship, reign
Welsh (Cymraeg) brenin [ˈbrɛnɪn / ˈbreːnɪn] = king, sovereign, monarch, head of region
brenineiddio = to make/become regal/kingly, make (sb) a king
breninesaidd = queen-like, queenly
breninesol = queen-like, queenly, pertaining to a queen
breningarol = royalist
breniniaethu = to reign, govern
breninoldeb = kingship, royalty
brenhines = queen, goddess, queen bee
brenhiniaeth = royalty, kingship, reign, government
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) brentyn, bryntyn = privileged, sovereign, noble, excellent
Cornish (KerneweK) bryntin, brentin = grand, great, noble, splendid, superb
Old Breton brientin, brientinion = king
Middle Breton (Brezonec) brientin = aristocrat
brientinelezh = aristocracy
Breton (Brezhoneg) brientin = aristocrat
brientinel = aristocratic
brientinelezh = aristocracy
brienteg, brientek = privileged
brientekaat = to favour
briental = royalties

Etymology: from Proto-Indo-European *bʰérǵʰonts (high), from *bʰerǵʰ- (to rise up, ascend) [source].

From the same Proto-Celtic root, , we get the tribal name *Brigantī (Brigantes – a Celtic tribe that occupied much of what is now northern England), Brigantia (a Celtic goddess of victory, and the territory of the Brigantes), the name Bridget, the Irish name Bríd, the Scottish Gaelic name Brìghde, the Manx name Breeshey, and the placenames such as Bragança (a city in northeastern Portugal), Bregenz (a city in western Austria) and Brianza (a city in northern Italy), [source].

English words from the same PIE root include bourgeois, burrow, fort and maybe burgler [source].

Middle Welsh (Kymraec) mechdeyrn, mychdeyrn, machdeyrn = king, lord, monarch, emperor
mechteyrnged, mychteyrnged = tribute due to an overlord from an inferior lord
Welsh (Cymraeg) mechdeyrn, mychdeyrn, machdeyrn = king, lord, monarch, emperor, God, tributary prince, viceroy
mechdeyrnged, mychdeyrnged = tribute due to an overlord from an inferior lord
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) mychtern = sovereign, king
mychternes = queen
mychterneth = sovereignity, dominion, royalty, kingdom
Cornish (Kernewek) myghtern, metern [mɪx’tɛrn] = king, monarch
myghternes, meternes = monarch, queen
myghterneth, meterneth = kingdom
myghternses, meternses = kingship, monarchy
Old Breton machtiern = king

Etymology: from Welsh mach (surety, guarantor, sponsor, hostage) and teyrn (sovereign, monarch, king) [source].

Source: Gerlyver Kernewek, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

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

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