Hens & Chickens

Words for hen, chicken and related things in Celtic languages:


Proto-Celtic *kerkā = hen
Old Irish (Goídelc) cerc [kʲerk] = hen, female bird
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) cerc [kʲerk] = hen, female bird
Irish (Gaeilge) cearc [kaɾˠk] = hen, female bird
cearcach = gallinaceous (relating to, or resembling the domestic fowl)
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) cearc [kʲɛrxg] = hen, chicken; poultry; female crab or lobster
cearc-uisge = moorhen
cearc-Fhrangach = turkey
cearc-fhraoich = female red grouse, moorhen
cearcach = of, or belonging to a hen or hens
Manx (Gaelg) kiark = fowl, hen, hen bird, female bird

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *ḱer- (to grow, nourish) [source]. These words are possibly related to words for heron and crane in Celtic languages.

English words from the same root include cereal, create, increase, creature, crew and crescent [source].

Proto-Celtic *yarā = chicken
Gaulish Iaros = personal name
Old Irish (Goídelc) eirín = pullet, young hen
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) eréne, éirín(e) = chicken, chick, pullet
Irish (Gaeilge) eireog = pullet, chicken; young girl, tiny woman
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) eireag [erʲag] = pullet, young chick(en) (between 8 months and 1 year old)
Manx (Gaelg) earrag = pullet, poult
Old Welsh iar = hen
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) yar = hen
yeyr, yeir = domestic fowls, chickens
yares = flock of chichens
ieirdy = hen-house, hen-coop
Welsh (Cymraeg) iâr [jaːr] = hen, hen-bird
ieir = domestic fowls, chickens
iarbren = perch for hens, hen-roost
iardy, ieirdy = hen-house, hen-coop
iares = flock of chichens
iargyw = chichen, young fowl
ieirwr = poulterer
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) iar, yar = hen, female bird
Cornish (Kernewek) yar = chicken, hen
yar frankres = free-range hen
yar gowellys = battery hen
yar Gyni = turkey
bregh/brygh yar = chicken pox
yarji = chichen coop, hen house
Middle Breton (Brezonec) yar, iar = chicken, hen
Breton (Brezhoneg) yar = chicken, hen

Etymology: unknown

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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