Whistling Winds

Words for wind and whistle in Celtic languages.


Proto-Celtic *gaytā = wind
Old Irish (Goídelc) gaíth = wind
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) gáeth [ɡaːi̯θ] = wind
Irish (Gaeilge) gaoth [ɡeːh / ɡiːh] = wind, breeze, flatulence
gaothach = windy
gaothaire = vent, ventilator
gaothraigh = to fan, flutter (in breeze)
gaothráil = fanning, waving, fluttering
gaothscáth = windscreen
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) gaoth [gɯː] = wind, breeze, flatulence
gaoth-chuairtlein = whirlwind
gaoth-mhór = gale, strong wind
gaoth-sgàth = windscreen
gaothach = windy, flatulent, pneumatic
gaothmhor = gusty, windy, blustering, blustery, flatulent
Manx (Gaelg) geay [ɡiː] = wind, flatulence
geayeeagh = windy, blowy, breezy

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *ghai / *ghei / *ghi (drive, storm) [source].

Proto-Celtic *wintos = wind
Old Irish (Goídelc) fet [fʲed] = whistling, hissing, the sound of a sword cleaving the air; pipe (musical intrument)
Irish (Gaeilge) fead [fʲad̪ˠ] = whistle
feadáíl = whistling
feadaire = whistler
feadánacht = whistling, piping, wheezing
feadóg = (tin) whistle, plover, tall thin woman
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) fead [fed] = whistle, hiss
feadag = whistle
feadaire = whistler
feadalaich = whistling
Manx (Gaelg) fed [ɡiː] = toot, blast on whistle, zip, swish
feddagh = whistler
feddanagh = whistle
feddanys = whistling
Proto-Brythonic *gwɨnt [ˈɡwɨnt] = wind
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) gwynt = wind
Welsh (Cymraeg) gwynt [ɡwɨ̞nt / ɡwɪnt] = wind, blast, gale, stiff breeze, current of air, air, bellows, bombast, pride; empty talk, mere words
gwyntio = to blow, blast, breathe, sniff, snort, fart
gwynt(i)og = windy, breezy, stormy, wind-swept, wind-tossed, wind-blown, flatulent
Old Cornish guins = wind
Cornish (Kernewek) gwyns = wind
gwyns skav = breezy
gwynsek = windy
gwynsell = fan
gwynsella = to fan
melin wyns = windmill
Middle Breton guent = wind
Breton (Brezhoneg) gwent = wind (literary / archaic), gas, flatulence
gwentadur ventilation

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *h₂wéh₁n̥ts (blowing) [source], which is also the root of words for wind in Germanic, Romance and Indo-Iranian languages.

Proto-Celtic *awelā = breeze, wind, breath
Proto-Brythonic *awel = breeze, wind
Gaulish aurarum = wind
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) avel / awel = wind, air, weather
Welsh (Cymraeg) awel = (light) wind, breeze, air, weather
awelu = to blow, flow, breathe
awelaidd = breezy, fresh (wind)
awelan = (gentle) wind
awelig (light) breeze
awelog = breezy, windy, squally, airy, flatulent
Old Cornish auhel = wind
Cornish (Kernewek) awel = gale, weather wind
awel glor = breeze
hager awel = bad weather, squall, storm, tempest
Old Breton auelou / auel = wind
Breton (Brezhoneg) avel [ˈɑːvɛl / ˈɑːwɛl] = wind

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *h₂ewh₁eleh₂ from *h₂weh₁- (to blow) [source], which is also the root of English words such as fan, vent, weather and wind.

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Here’s a tune I wrote a few years ago that seems approiate for this post: The Whistling Windows / Y Ffenstri Sïo

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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One thought on “Whistling Winds

  1. The pronunciation of the Manx Gaelic word fed should, I think, be the same as that for the Scottish Gaelic word.

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