Courts and Forts

Words for courts, forts and related words in Celtic languages.

Lismore Castle

Old Irish (Goídelc) les [lʲesʲ] = the space about a house enclosed by a bank or rampart, farmyard, courtyard; settlement, city; palisade, stockade, rampart; ringfort, circular earthwork
Irish (Gaeilge) lios [l̠ʲɪsˠ/l̠ʲʊsˠ] = enclosed ground of a (ancient) dwelling-house, enclosed space, garth; ringfort; fairy mound; ring, halo
liosachán = fairy fort, fairy mound
urlios = forecourt, front enclosure
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) lios [l̪ʲis] = garden, yard
cùirt-lios = (court)yard
fion-lios = vineyard
lios-àraich = (plant) nursery
lios-càil = kaleyard, vegetable garden
lios-mheas = orchard
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) llis, llys = court, palace, manor house, hall
Welsh (Cymraeg) llys [ɬɨːs/ɬiːs] = court (of law), palace, manor house, hall, imposing building, habitation of king, prince, nobleman; courtyard, enclosed space
Llys Bach y Dosbarth = Magistrates’ Court
llys sirol = county court
llys trosedd(au) / troseddol = criminal court
Llys y Goron = Crown Court
Cornish (Kernewek) lys = court
breuslys = court of law
lyskanasedh = diplomacy
lyskanasek = diplomatic
lyskannas = diplomat
Middle Breton les = court
Breton (Brezhoneg) lez = court
lez-vrezel = council of war
lez kastizel = criminal court
Lez veur = High Court
lez-varn = tribunal, court

Etymology: unknown

The Irish and Scottish Gaelic words are mainly used in place names, such as Lios Dúin Bhearna (Lisdoonvarna) and Lios Tuathail (Listowel) in Ireland, and Lios Mòr (Lismore) in Scotland.

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

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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