Frosty Ice

Words for frost, ice, cold and related words in Celtic languages.

A cold and frosty morning / Bore oer a rhewllyd

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Proto-Celtic *ɸreswos = frost
Old Irish (Goídelc) réúd [r͈ʲeːu̯ð] = frost
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) reód = frost
Irish (Gaeilge) reo [ɾˠoː / ɾˠɔː] = frost
reodóg = icicle
reoigh = to freeze, congeal, solidify
reoiteach = frosty, chilling
reoiteacht = frostiness
reoiteog, uachtar reoite = ice cream
reomhar = frigid
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) reòth [r̪ˠɔː] = frost, freeze, become frozen, congeal
reòite [r̪ˠɔːdʲə] = frozen, frosty, icy
reòthtach [r̪ˠɔːhdəx] = freezing, frosty
reòthadh = freeze
reòthadair [r̪ˠɔ.ədɪrʲ] = deep-freeze, freezer
stob reòta, caisean-reòta, boidean-reòthaidh = icicle
Manx (Gaelg) rio = frost, freezing, ice
riojey = to freeze, ice up
rioeeagh = freezing, frosty
rioeeaght = frostiness
rioghar, bwoid rioee, kibbin rioee = icicle
riojag, key riojey, key riojit = ice-cream
rio-stroo, awin rioee = glacier
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) rew, reo, rev = frost
rewlyt, rewlyd, rewllid = icy, freezing, frozen
Welsh (Cymraeg) rhew [r̥eːu̯ / r̥ɛu̯] = (hoar-) frost, ice
rhewaidd = freezing, frosty, icy
rhewedig = frozen, icy, extremely cold
rhewi = to freeze, preserve; anaesthetize, make numb
rhewiadur = refrigerator
rhewin = frosty weather
rhewllyd, rhewlyd = icy, freezing, frozen, very cold, frigid
rhew bargod = icicle
rhew du = black ice
gwŷn rhew = frost-bite
rhedlif rhew = glacier
Old Cornish reu = ice, frost
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) rew, reu = frost, ice
Cornish (Kernewek) rew = ice, frost
rewer = freezer
rewi = to freeze
rewys = frozen
downrewi = deep-freeze, freezer
dehen rew = ice cream
furvell rew = ice tray
kub rew = ice cube
skes rew = ice skate
Middle Breton (Brezonec) reau, reo, réau, rëu = frost, frozen
Breton (Brezhoneg) rev = frost, freezing, freeze
rev du = black ice
rev noz = night frost

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *prews- (to freeze, frost), which is also the root of the word frost in English [source].

Ice cave on Franz Josef Glacier

Proto-Celtic *yegis = ice
Old Irish (Goídelc) aigred = ice
aigretta = icy, frozen
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) aig = ice
aigide = icy
Irish (Gaeilge) oighear [əiɾʲ] = ice
oighear dubh = black ice
oighreach = glacial
leac oighir = (sheet of) ice
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) eigh [ej] = ice
eigh-bheinn = iceberg
eigh-shruth = glacier
leac-eighe = ice-floe
linn-eighe = ice age
pac-eigh = pack ice
taigh-eighe = ice house
Proto-Brythonic *jaɣ = ice
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) ia, ya = ice, frost
Welsh (Cymraeg) [jaː] = ice, (hoar-) frost
iaaidd = glacical, icy
iaënnol = glacical, icy
iaeth, iaaeth = iciness, frost, cold, severe winter weather
ialyd = icy, freezing, very cold
iaog = icy, freezing, frozen
iain = very cold, freezing, icy
Old Cornish iein = ice
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) iein, iên, yein, yeyn, yên = cold (as ice), frigid
ieinder, iender, yender, yeinder = frigidity, coolness
Cornish (Kernewek) yey = ice
yeyn = cold
yeynder = cold
yeynell, yeyner = fridge
yeynhe = to chill, become cold
Middle Breton (Brezoneg) yen = cold
Breton (Brezhoneg) yen = cold
yenaat = to cool down, relax
yenadur = coolness, cooling, chill
yenañ = to cool, refrigerate, detach
yender = cold, coolness

Etymology from the Proto-Indo-European *h₁yeg- (ice, frost), which is also the root of the English word icicle [source].

Proto-Celtic *ougros = cold
Gaulish Ogronnios = personal name
Old Irish (Goídelc) úar [uːa̯rʲ] = cold
úacht = cold, coldness
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) úar = cold, cool. refreshing, unfriendly
ind(ḟ)úar = very cold, chilly, cool, refreshing, pleasing, entertaining
úacht, ócht, ocht = cold, coldness, numbness
Irish (Gaeilge) fuar [fˠuəɾˠ] = cold, apathetic, raw, uncooked
fuaraigh = to cool, make cold, chill, relieve, pass (away)
fuaráil = coolness, indifference, reserve
fuaraíocht = coldness, chilliness
fuarálach = cold, indifferent, reserved
fuacht = cold, chill, apathy
fuachtán = chilblain
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) fuar [fuər] = cold
fuarachd [fuərəxg] = coldness, chilliness, chilblain, mildew, dampness
fuarachdainn [fuərəxgɪn̪ʲ] = cooling, easing, relieving
fuaradair [fuərədɪrʲ] = fridge, refrigerator
fuaraichte [fuərɪçdʲə] = cooled, refrigerated, eased, relieved
fuarail [fuəral] = chilly, chilling
fuaralachd [fuərəl̪ˠəxg] = coldness, frigidity
Manx (Gaelg) feayr = chill, cold, cool, frigid, frosty, ice, distant (of person)
feayght = chill, cold, exposure
feayraghey = chill, cool, refrigerate, alienation
feayraght = chill, cold, coldness
feayrit = chilled, cooled, refrigerated
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) oir, oer = cold, cool
oerai, oeri = to make/become/grow cold or cool
oyrder = cold(ness), cool(ness), chill, indifference, apathy
oered = coldness, chill
oervel, oeruel = cold(ness), chill
Welsh (Cymraeg) oer [jaː] = cold, cool, sad, dejected, miserable, coldness, child, cold vegetables, fruit and salad
oeraf, oeri = to make/become/grow cold or cool, lose zeal, become depressed
oeraidd = rater cold, coolish, coldish, chilly, unenthusiastic, apathetic, indifferent
oerder = cold(ness), cool(ness), chill, indifference, apathy
oeredd = coldness, chill
oerfa = cool place, shade
oerfel = cold(ness), chill
oergell = refrigerator, freezer, cold cell
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) oir = cold, frigid
Cornish (Kernewek) oor = bitterly cold, glacial, icy

Etymology from the Proto-Indo-European *h₃ewǵ- (cold), which is also the root of the Lithuanian word aušti (cold) [source].

Another word for ice in Breton is skorn – etymology unknown.

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, Gerlyvyr Cernewec, Lexicon Cornu-britannicum: A Dictionary of the Ancient Celtic Language of Cornwall, Dictionaire Favereau, TermOfis, Le dictionnaire diachronique du breton, Geriafurch, English – ProtoCeltic WordList (PDF), Etymological Dictionary Of Proto Celtic

One thought on “Frosty Ice

  1. Welsh would usually use rhewlif for glacier, has rhewlifiant for glaciation as well as other constructions such as rhewlifiad (gelifluction), rhewlifeg (glaciology) etc. In everyday language there tends to be a North-South split between rhew (North) and iâ (South).

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