Streams and Currents

Words for stream, current and related things in Celtic languages.

Cwm Idwal

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Proto-Celtic *srutom = stream, river; flow, current
Gaulish srut(u)a = torrent, stream, watercourse
Old Irish (Goídelc) sruth [sruθ] = stream, river, current; strait
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) sruth = stream, river, current, torrent, strait
Irish (Gaeilge) sruth [sˠɾˠʊ(h)] = stream, current, flow
sruthach = streaming, flowing, full of streams
sruthaigh = to stream, flow
sruthaire = stroller, vagabond, unbidden guest
sruthaireacht = (act of) roaming, vagabondage, (act of) scrounging
sruthán = (small) stream, rivulet, brook, gush, flow
sruthánach = abounding in streams, streaming
sruthlán = streamlet, rill
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) sruth [sdruh] = stream, current
sruthlag [sdrul̪ˠag] = runnel, streamlet
sruthan [sdruhdan] = long stream of words, long-winded talk
sruthach [sruhəɣ] = flowing, streaming, flow
sruthan [sdruhan] = brook, streamlet
sruthadair [sdruhədɪrʲ] = streamer
Manx (Gaelg) stroo [struː] = current, stream, race, watercourse, tide-race, tidal flow
strooan = brook, creek, river, rivulet, stream, waterway
strooaney = flowing, streamed
strooanagh = full of streams, streaming
Proto-Brythonic *frud = stream, river; flow, current
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) frut, ffrwt, ffryt = swift stream, torrent, flood, current
Welsh (Cymraeg) ffrwd [fruːd] = swift stream, torrent, flood, current
ffrwdel = leaves and branches piled together in a flooded river
ffrwd fâl, ffrwd y felin = mill-stream
ffryd(i)af, ffrydio, ffrydu = to flow, stream, gush, purl, shed
ffrydiedig = flowing, shed
ffrydiog = streaming, flowing
ffrydiol = flowing, streaming, gushing, fluid
ffrydiolrwydd = fluidity
ffrydlif, ffrwdlif = stream, streaming flood, torrent, current, tide
Old Cornish frot = stream
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) frot = strait, channel
Cornish (Kernewek) fros = current, flow
fros tredan = electric current
frosa = to flow
Old Breton (Brethonoc) frud, frut = torrent, stream
Middle Breton (Brezonec) froud = torrent, stream/td>
Breton (Brezhoneg) froud [fruːt] = torrent, stream

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *srew- (to flow, stream). Words from the same PIE root include rheum, rhythm and stream in English, and Strom (large river, stream, current) in German [source].

Proto-Celtic *nantos / nantus = stream, valley
Proto-Brythonic *nant [ˈnant] = stream, river, valley
Gaulish *nanto = valley
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) nant [ˈnant] = river, stream, brook
Welsh (Cymraeg) nant [ˈnant] = river, stream, brook, rivulet; torrent, ditch, valley, glen, dale; ravine, gorge
nentig, nennig = small stream
Old Cornish nans = stream
Cornish (Kernewek) nans [nans / nænz] = dale, valley
Old Breton (Brethonoc) nant = valley
Middle Breton (Brezonec) nant, ant = valley
Breton (Brezhoneg) (n)ant [(n)ãnt] = valley with watercourses (archaic, used in place names)

Etymology: possibly from Proto-Celtic *nemetom (sacred place, sanctuary), from the Proto-Indo-European *nem- (to give, take, distribute) [source].

The Francoprovençal word nant (stream) comes from the same Proto-Celtic roots [source], as does the French place name Nanterre [source], the Irish word neimheadh (sanctuary, privilege of rank, holy thing), and the Breton word neved / neñved (sanctuary) [source].

Words from the same PIE root include numb, number in English. nemen (to take, grasp, grab) in Dutch, nehmen (to take, hold, grasp) in German, nimh (poison, venom) in Irish and Scottish Gaelic [source].

Irish (Gaeilge) fobhar = well, stream
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) guuer, gouer, gofer = stream
gouerei, goferu, goveru = to derive, emanate, gush, stream, run, cause to flow, pour
Welsh (Cymraeg) gofer = overflow of a well, stream, effluence, duct, stream, brook, rill, rivulet
goferaf, goferu = to derive, emanate, gush, stream, run, cause to flow, pour
goferllyd = oozy, marshy
Old Cornish guuer = brook, stream
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) gover = brook, stream
Cornish (Kernewek) gover = brook, stream
Old Breton (Brethonoc) gouher = stream
Middle Breton (Brezonec) gouuer, gouer, gouvea = stream
Breton (Brezhoneg) gou(v)er [ˈɡuː(v)ɛr] = stream, streamlet
gouverian, gouveriañ = to irrigate

Etymology: unknown [source].

Proto-Celtic *wētā, *wēttā = swamp, stream
Old Irish (Goídelc) féith [fʲeːθʲ] = vein, sinew, kidney
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) féith, feith = kidney, fibre, sinew, vein, artery, vessel
féithech = sinewy, veined
Irish (Gaeilge) féith [fʲeː(h)] = sinew, muscle, vein, soft seam in bogland, vine
féitheach = sinewy, muscular, veined, ribbed, swampy
féitheog = (small) sinew, muscle, vein
féitheogach = sinewy, muscular, brawny
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) fèith [feh] = muscle, sinew, vein, stagnant channel in a bog (often overgrown with moss and dry in summer)
fèith-dhìreach = gullet, oesophagus
fèith-lùthaidh = sinew, tendon
fèitheach [fɛː.əx] = muscled, muscly, sinewy, veiny
fèitheag [fɛː.ag] = small muscle, sinew or vein
Manx (Gaelg) feh = nerve, sinew, tendon
fehagh = sinewy
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) guyth, gwyth, gỽyth = vein, sinew, nerve, stream
gúithén, gwythen = vein, blood-vessel, artery, muscle
gwythiennawc, gwythennoc = veined, full of veins, venous, striated
Welsh (Cymraeg) gŵyth [ɡuːɨ̯θ/ɡʊi̯θ] = vein, sinew, nerve, stream, brook, ditch, gutter, drain, channel, firth, estuary
gwythennus = full of veins, veined, veiny
gwythïen, gwythen = vein, blood-vessel, artery, muscle, siney, (harp) string
gwyth(i)ennog = veined, full of veins, venous, striated
Old Cornish guid = channel, pipeline, vein
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) gwyth, goth = channel, pipeline, vein
Cornish (Kernewek) gooth = channel, pipeline, vein
Old Breton (Brethonoc) goed, guoeth = stream
Middle Breton (Brezonec) goazz, goaz, gouaz = stream
Breton (Brezhoneg) gwazh [ɡwaːs] = stream, canal, channel, washhouse, marshy meadow
gwazheg = watered, marshy
gwazhell = watered land
gwazhenn = vein
gwazhian, gwazhiañ = to dig a stream, to make a bed, to water
gwazhiennek = veined

Etymology: possibly from the Proto-Indo-European *weyh₁- (to whither), which is also the root of výsti (whither) in Lithuanian, and vissna (to wilt, whither) in Swedish [source].

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

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