Families and Households

Words for family, tribe, household and related things in Celtic languages.


Proto-Celtic *wenyā = family, kindred
Leptonic 𐌅𐌄𐌍𐌉𐌀 (venia)
Old Irish (Goídelc) fine [ˈfʲinʲe] = family, kin, group of people of common descent, clan, tribe, race
Irish (Gaeilge) fine [ˈfʲɪnʲə] = family group, race, territory of a family group
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) fine [finə] = tribe, clan, kindred, phylum
ceann-fine = chieftain, clan chief
finneach = clannish, tribal, heathen
fineachas = clanship, kindred
Middle Breton gouen(n) = race
Breton (Brezhoneg) gouenn = race

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *wenh₁ (to wish, seek, desire, love, win). The name of Vannes, a town in Brittany, comes from the same Proto-Celtic root, via the Latin Veneti [source]

Words from the same PIE root include venom, Venus, wonder, wean and winsome in English, vän (friend) in Swedish, and gwenwyn (poison, venom) in Welsh [source].

Proto-Celtic *tego-slougo- / *tegeso-slougo- = family, household
Old Irish (Goídelc) teglach [ˈtʲeɣlax] = family, household
Irish (Gaeilge) teaghlach [ˈtʲalˠəx] = household, family, domestic establishment, household troops, retinue
teaghlachas = domestic economy, housekeeping, establishment
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) teaghlach [ˈtʲɤːɫ̪ˠəx] = family, household
teaghlachail = domestic
teaghlachas = domesticity
teaghlach ba gréine = the solar system (poetic)
Manx (Gaelg) thielagh = family, household
mooinjer thielagh = household
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) teulu, tuyly = family, tribe, nation, household
Welsh (Cymraeg) teulu = family, tribe, nation, household; retinue, retainers, entourage, host, crowd, people
teuluaeth = household management, housekeeping, husbandry
teuluaf, teuluo, teulua = to raise a family, run a household
teuluaidd = family, familial, household, domestic
teuluedd = familiarity, concord, harmony, peace
teulueiddrwydd = hospitality; familiarity
teulues = housewife
teuluol = family, familial
Old Cornish teilu = family
Cornish (Kernewek) teylu [‘tɛɪly / ‘təɪlɪʊ] = family
hanow teylu = surname
Breton (Brezhoneg) tiegezh = household, farm, family

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *tegos (cover, roof) [source] and *slowgʰos / *slowgos (entourage) [source].

Old Irish (Goídelc) muinter = community, family or household (including servants), folks, followers, attendants
Irish (Gaeilge) munitir [ˈmˠiːn̠ʲtʲəɾ / ˈmˠɪn̠ʲtʲəɾʲ] = household, community, family; associates, adherents, followers; party, retinue; kinsfolk; folk, people
muniteartha = belonging to a household or community, associated, familiar, friendly, related
munitearthacht = friendliness
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) muinntir [mɯin̪ʲd̪ʲɪr̪ʲ] = folk, kindred, people; inhabitants
muinntireas = service, servitude, residency (of a writer, etc)
muinntireach = household servant
neach-muinntir = (household) servant
bean-mhuinntir = maidservant
muinntir taighe = the household, members of the household
Manx (Gaelg) mooinjer = family, people, tribe, relations, inhabitants, kin, servants, folk, entourage, farmhand
mooinjerey = domestic
dooinney mooinjerey = cousin, kinsman, kinsfolk, relation
mooinjereys = blood relationship, connection, domestic servce, kinship

Etymology: from the Proto-Celtic *moniterā, from *monis (protection, patronage), or possibly from the Latin monastērium (monastry,cell) [source], from the Ancient Greek μοναστήριον (monastḗrion – solitary dwelling, hermit’s cell, monastery) [source].

Proto-Celtic *luxtus = people, crowd
Old Irish (Goídelc) lucht [l͈uxt] = occupants, inhabitants, possessors, household
comlucht = accomplices, companions
Irish (Gaeilge) lucht [l̪ˠʊxt̪ˠ / l̪ˠʌxt̪ˠ] = people
lucht na mbothán = frequenters of neighbour’s houses
lucht an bhurdúin = tale-bearers
lucht míghrinn = mischief-makers
lucht tréachtais = hangers-on
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) luchd [l̪ˠuxg] = person
neach [n̪ʲɛx] = person, people (plural of luchd)
neach-dàimheachd = kin, relative
neach-eòlais = acquaintance
co-neach-dùthcha = fellow compatriot / countryman
Manx (Gaelg) lught = people, folk
lught eaishtagh = listener, audience, house
lught thie = family, household, household members
colught = body of people, company, firm
Old Welsh luidt, luith = tribe, lineage, family
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) luith, llwyth = family, tribe, nation, household
Welsh (Cymraeg) llwyth [ˈɬuːɨ̯θ / ˈɬʊi̯θ] = tribe, people
tylwyth = immediate family, household (“house tribe”)
Tylwyth Teg = fair folk (elves, fairies)
Old Cornish leid, luyte = tribe, family
Cornish (Kernewek) looth = tribe
Old Breton loit = household, farm, family
Breton (Brezhoneg) leizh = tribe

Etymology: unknown – possibly from a non-Proto-Indo-European substrate language [source].

Proto-Celtic *toutā [ˈtow.taː] = people, tribe, tribal land
*toutyos [ˈtow.tjos] = tribesman, tribal citizen
Gaulish touta, teuta = people, tribe, tribal land
Old Irish (Goídelc) túath [tuːa̯θ] = tribe, laity, people, tribal territory
Irish (Gaeilge) tuath [t̪ˠuə] = people tribe, country, territory
tuathánach = countryman, rustic, peasant
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) tuath [ˈtʲɤːɫ̪ˠəx] = family, household
tuathanach = domestic
teaghlachas = domesticity
teaghlach na gréine = the solar system (poetic)
Manx (Gaelg) theay = citizens, common people, general public. laity, peasantry, public, populace
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) tut, tud = people, tribe, nation, family
Welsh (Cymraeg) tud = people, tribe, nation, family, country, territory, district, region, kingdom, land, earth
tudlen = map (of the world)
tudliw = ochre
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) tus = a nation, people, men
Cornish (Kernewek) tus = men, people, persons
tus henavek = elderly
Breton (Brezhoneg) tud = people, parents, relatives, characters
tud-kozh = grand-parents

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂ (people, tribe) [source].

Words from the same PIE root include Dutch in English, Deutsch (German) in German, todo (all, every, each, everything) in Spanish, þjóð (a people, a nation) in Icelandic, [source].

The name Tudor was borrowed from the Welsh name Tudur, from the Old Welsh name Tutir, from the Proto-Brythonic name *Tʉdür, from the Proto-Celtic name *Toutorīxs, from *toutā (people, tribe) and *rīxs (king) [source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

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, Gerlyvyr Cernewec, Dictionaire Favereau, TermOfis, Le dictionnaire diachronique du breton, Geriafurch, English – ProtoCeltic WordList (PDF), Etymological Dictionary Of Proto Celtic

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One thought on “Families and Households

  1. The usual word in Gaelg for ‘family’ is lught-thie, although there is a phrase mooinjer thielagh, meaning ‘household’. The noun mooinjer means ‘people’, folk’, ‘tribe’.

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