Ditches and Trenches

Words for ditches, trenches and related words in Celtic languages.


Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Proto-Celtic *klādos = trench
Gaulish Vindo-cladia = place name
Old Irish (Gaoidhealg) clad = ditch, dyke
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) clad, clod = hole dug in the ground, trench
Irish (Gaeilge) cladh = ditch, trench
cladhach = ridged, furrowed
cladhaire = ditcher
claidh = to dig, build (as dike)
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) cladh [kl̪ˠɤɣ] = burial ground, cemetery, graveyard; ditch
cladh-uisge = (water) ditch
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) claud, clawd, clodyeu = mound, ditch, pit, bulwark
Welsh (Cymraeg) clawdd [ˈklaːu̯ð/ˈklau̯ð] = mound, dyke, earthwork, bulwark, boundary, hedge, fence; ditch, gutter, trench, pit, quarry, mine, moat, fosse
clawdd aur = gold mine
clawdd cerrig = stone wall
clawdd llanw = sea-wall, embankment
Clawdd Offa = Offa’s Dyke
cloddio = to dig, delve, trench, ditch, excavate
clodd(i)wr, clawddwr = ditcher, navvy, digger, miner, quarryman, hedger, excavator
mwynglawdd = mine, pit, shaft
mwyn i’r clawdd to be unsuccessful, fail (“to go to the ditch/wall”)
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) cledh = dyke, ditch, trench, fence
Cornish (Kernewek) kleudh = ditch
kleudhik = groove
kleudhya to dig a trench, ditch, excavate
Middle Breton (Brezonec) creux, cleus, cleuz = hollow, cave
Breton (Brezhoneg) cledh = dyke, ditch, trench, fence

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *kleh₂dos [source].

Old Irish (Goídelc) clais, class = trench, pit, hollow, groove; streak, stripe, impression
Irish (Gaeilge) clais = water channel, gully, ditch, trench, furrow, rut, groove, gash, fosse, trough
clais anála = gullet, throat
clais an mhuiníl = hollow at nape of neck
clais ghainimh = sand pit
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) clais [kl̪ˠaʃ] = furrow, groove, ditch, drain, gutter, rut, trench
clais-mhara = sea channel
clais-bhlàir = trench
clais-mhór = gorge
clais-uisge = drain, drainage channel
Manx (Gaelg) clash = cleft, hollow, gorge, race, trench, vale, groove, channel, open furrow, rubbish tip
clash hrustyr = rubbish tip
clash ushtey = watercourse, moat
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) cleis, klais = bruise; groove, rut, ditch, trench
Welsh (Cymraeg) clais = bruise, wound; groove, rut, fissure, ditch, trench, rivulet
clais clawdd = ditch alongside a hedge, road-side ditch
clais dŵr = ditch, trench, watercourse, water edge
clais (y) dydd = break of day, dawn, early morning

Etymology: unknown. Possibly from the Proto-Celtic *klādos (trench).

Irish (Gaeilge) díog = ditch, trench, drain
díogach = trenched, having trenches
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) dìg [dʲiːg] = ditch, dyke, drain
Manx (Gaelg) jeeg = ditch, moat, gutter, trench

Etymology: unknown.

Irish (Gaeilge) fos = prop, buttress, wall
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) fos [fɔs] = ditch, wall, buttress (archaic)
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) fos, foss = ditch, dike
Welsh (Cymraeg) ffos [fɔs] = ditch, dike, gutter, moat, trench, furrow, groove, pit
ffos(i)af, ffosi(o) = to ditch, trench, furrow, chamfer
ffosedig = trenched, moated, furrowed, lined
ffos gaeedig = drain
ffos y clawdd, ffos glawdd = roadside ditch
ffos ddyfrio conduit
ffos melin, ffos y felin = mill-race
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) fos = ditch, moat, trench, intrenchment, wall
Cornish (Kernewek) fos = wall
paper fos = wallpaper
toll y’n fos = cash dispenser, ATM (“hole in the wall”)
Middle Breton (Brezonec) fos, foss, fôs = ditch, gap, pit, (river) bed
Breton (Brezhoneg) foz = ditch, gap, sand trap
foz disac’hañ = rift (valley), collapsed ditch
foz-kronniañ = holding tank, retention pit

Etymology: from the Latin fossa (ditch, trench, moat, gutter, furrow), from fossa terra (dug-up earth) [source].

Proto-Celtic *kʷantyos = flat hill, valley
Old Irish (Goídelc) céite = hill, mound, race-course, assembly
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) céide, céite = hill, mound, eminence, open space
Irish (Gaeilge) céide [ˈlʲɛtʲəɾʲ/ˈl̠ʲɛtʲəɾʲ] = flat-topped hill, place of assembly
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) cèide = market, fair, green, hillock
Pictish ᚘᚐᚅᚈ = hollow
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) pant = hollow, depression, valley, dent
Welsh (Cymraeg) pant [pant] = hollow, depression, valley, dent
pant (y) llaw = palm of the hand
pant a thalar = hilla and dale, everywhere
pantiad = hollow, depression
pant(i)af, pantio, pantu = to be(come) hollow, make an impression, sink (in the middle)
pant(i)og = hollow, sunken, uneven, holed, sinking, sagging, concave
pantir = dale-land, valley-bottom, lowland
pantlawr = uneven/concave floor
pantlle = hollow, dell, small valley, place full of hollows
Cornish (Kernewek) pans = dell, dingle, hollow
Old Breton pantet = curved, curve
Middle Breton (Brezonec) pant = curved, curve, bend
Breton (Brezhoneg) pant = slope, hillside

Etymology: possibly from the PIE *kwem-t (hill)

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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, Lexicon Cornu-britannicum: A Dictionary of the Ancient Celtic Language of Cornwall, Dictionaire Favereau, TermOfis, Le dictionnaire diachronique du breton, Etymological Dictionary Of Proto Celtic

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