Sheep

Words for sheep and related words in Celtic languages.

Sheep in Gleann Cholm Cille

Proto-Celtic *kaɸrāxs = sheep
Old Irish (Goídelc) cáera, caíra [ˈkaːi̯ra] = ox, cow
Irish (Gaeilge) caora [ˈkeːɾˠə / ˈkiːɾˠə] = sheep, ewe
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) caora [kɯːrə] = sheep, sheepish person
Manx (Gaelg) keyrrey = sheep
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) kaeriwrch = roebuck
Welsh (Cymraeg) caer = sheep (archaic)
caeriwrch / cariwrch = roebuck

Etymology: possibly from the Proto-Indo-European *kápros (goat) [source].

Proto-Celtic *damos = ox, bull, domesticated animal
*dametos = sheep
Old Irish (Goídelc) dam [daṽ] = ox, stag, hero, champion
Irish (Gaeilge) damh [d̪ˠaw] = ox, stag; strong man, champion, corpulent person
damh alla = stag
damh comhair = one of a pair of oxen, yokefellow; equal, peer
damháire = bellowing, lowing (of oxen), belling (of stag)
damhán = small ox
damhra = oxen, yoke of oxen; stags, herd of deer
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) damh [dav] = stag (antlered, up to 4 yrs old), ox, oaf, crab missing a claw
damh-féidh = hart, stag
cho dall ri damh ann an ceò = as blind as a bat in daylight (“as blind as an ox in the fog”)
Manx (Gaelg) dow = ox, hart, stag
Proto-Brythonic *daβ̃ad = sheep
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) dauat, davad = sheep
Welsh (Cymraeg) dafad [ˈdavad/ˈdaːvad] = sheep, ewe; one who is under the charge of a spiritual pastor
defaid cymorth = sheep given to a needy person to form the nucleus of a flock
dafad ddu = black sheep, prodigal son, ne’er do-well of a family
defaid Dafydd Jos = waves, billows (“David Jones’ sheep”)
mynd yn draed defaid = to go to ruin (“to become sheep’s feet”)
Old Cornish dauat = sheep
Cornish (Kernewek) davas = ewe, sheep
kig davas = mutton
Breton (Brezhoneg) dañvad [ˈdãː.vat] = sheep; overly kind, gentle person; cuckold, flock; small, fluffy clouds, foamy waves
dañvadez = ewe

Etymology: the Brythonic words come from *dametos, which comes from *damos. Both these words come from the Proto-Indo-European *demh₂- (to domesticate, tame) [source]. The English words tame, (in)domitable and danger come from the same PIE root [source].

Proto-Celtic *retio- = ram
Old Irish (Goídelc) reithe [r͈ʲeθʲe] = ram; boats used as fireships
Irish (Gaeilge) reithe = ram
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) reithe [r͈ʲe.ə] = ram, tup; Aries
Manx (Gaelg) rea = ram, tup

Etymology: unknown [source].

Middle Welsh (Kymraec) hwrd, hwrt = ram
Welsh (Cymraeg) hwrdd = ram; a stupid person; battering ram; rammer, beater; Aries
Old Cornish horþ = ram
Middle Cornish hordh = ram
Cornish (Kernewek) hordh = ram
Breton (Brezhoneg) (h)ourz = ram

Etymology: unknown.

Proto-Celtic *moltos = ram, wether (castrated ram)
Gaulish *multon = sheep
Old Irish (Goídelc) molt [mol͈t] = ram, wether
Irish (Gaeilge) molt = wether, sulky, morose person
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) molt [mul̪ˠt̪ˠ] = wether
Manx (Gaelg) mohlt = castrated sheep, wether, mutton
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) mollt = castrated ram, wether, mutton
Welsh (Cymraeg) mollt [moːɬd / mɔɬt] = castrated ram, wether, mutton
Cornish (Kernewek) mols = wether, sheep
Middle Breton mout, maout = ram
Breton (Brezhoneg) maout [ˈmɔwt] = ram, mutton; champion, trophy

Etymology: uncertain, possibly from the Proto-Indo-European *(h₂)moldus (soft, weak) [source].

The Gaulish *multon is the root of the French word mouton (sheep, mutton), via the Vulgar Latin moltō (wether), and also of the Galician word motóa (sheep), and the English word mutton [source].

Proto-Celtic *ognos = lamb
Old Irish (Goídelc) úan [uːa̯n] = lamb
Irish (Gaeilge) uan = lamb
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) uan [uən] = lamb
Manx (Gaelg) eayn = lamb
Brythonic *oɨn = lamb
Welsh (Cymraeg) oen [oːɨ̯n / ɔi̯n] = lamb
Old Cornish oin = lamb
Cornish (Kernewek) oen = lamb
Breton (Brezhoneg) oan = lamb

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *h₂egʷnós (lamb) [source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, MacBain’s Dictionary, teanglann.ie, On-Line Manx Dictionary, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Dictionnaire Favereau

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