Words for bridges and related words in Celtic languages.

Menai Bridge / Pont y Borth

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Old Irish (Goídelc) drochet [ˈdroxʲed] = bridge
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) drochet, drochat, droichet = bridge, causeway
drochetech, drochetóir = bridge-maker
Irish (Gaeilge) droichead [ˈd̪ˠɾˠɛçəd̪ˠ] = bridge
droichead crochta = suspension bridge
droichead tógála = drawbridge
droichead meáite = weigh bridge
droichead veidhlín = bridge of a violin
droichead sróine = bridge of the nose
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) drochaid [drɔxɪdʲ] = bridge
drochaid air fleodradh = pontoon
drochaid-thogalach, drochaid-thogail = drawbridge
drochaid-choise = footbridge
drochaid-rathaid = road bridge, viaduct
drochaid-thionndain = swing bridge
Manx (Gaelg) droghad = bridge, bridge of ship, arch, gantry
droghad aae = viaduct
droghad cassee = swing bridge
droghad coshey = gangway, footbridge
droghad croghit = suspension bridge
droghad keesh = toll bridge
droichead meihaghey = weigh bridge

Etymology: from Old Irish droch (wheel, circlet) and sét (path) [source].

Gaulish ponto = bridge
Proto-Brythonic *pont = bridge
Cumbric *pont = bridge
Old Welsh (Kembraec) pont = bridge
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) pont, pynt = bridge, drawbridge
Welsh (Cymraeg) pont [pɔnt] = bridge, drawbridge, viaduct, aqueduct
pontio = to bridge (a gap), to transition
pont godi = drawbridge
pont grog = suspension bridge
pont trwyn = bridge of the nose
pont y glaw, pont law = rainbow
pont ysgwydd = collar-bone, clavicle
pontio = to bridge, span, arch
pont(i)og = like a bridge, arched of the nature of a bridge
pont(i)wr, pontydd = a bridge-builder
pontyddiaeth = bridge-building
Old Cornish (Cernewec) pons = bridge
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) pons = bridge
Cornish (Kernewek) pons = bridge
ponsfordh = viaduct
pons travalya = travelling bridge
Middle Breton (Brezonec) pont = bridge
Breton (Brezhoneg) pont [pɔ̃nt] = bridge, top of the furrow, culvert, trigger guard
pontan, pontañ = to bridge, lay flat stones (on a ditch or stream)
pont-tro = swing bridge
pont hent-houarn = railway bridge
pont dilestrañ = bridge, deck (of ship)
pont kargañ = loading deck
pont-tro = swing bridge

Etymology: from Latin pōns (bridge, deck), from Proto-Indo-European *pónteh₁s (path, road), from *pent- (path). Words from the same roots include pont (bridge) in French, puente (bridge) in Spanish, път [pɤt] (road, way, path, journey, way) in Bulgarian source].

Proto-Celtic *brīwā = bridge
Gaulish briua = bridge
Leptonic 𐌐𐌓𐌖𐌉𐌀𐌌 (pruiam) = funerary construction (perhaps a grave)

Etymology: from Proto-Indo-European *bʰerw/*bʰrēw (wooden flooring, decking, bridge), which is also the root of the English words bridge and brig, and Brücke (bridge) in German [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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One thought on “Bridges

  1. Simon, apparently the Menai is quite a famous, historical bridge. I am envious that you have so much history literally “right in your back yard” there in Wales.

    I couldn’t let your article about bridges go unanswered, so here is some information about OUR famous bridge in Michigan, the Mackinac Bridge. It connects the Lower and Upper peninsulas of Michigan. It’s about 5 miles (8 km) long, and was at one time the longest suspension bridge in the world. When you drive across it, it feels like you are flying above an ocean, as Lake Michigan is on the west side of it, and Lake Huron is on the east side, and both lakes are enormous. The vistas are very dramatic and a little scary at the same time.

    P.S. The name looks like MACK-IN-ACK but it’s pronounced like MACK-IN-AU (sort of). Don’t ask me why. I believe it’s a native American name for something.

    Here are a couple of sites with information about our famous bridge:

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