Emptiness

Today we’re looking at the words for empty, soft and related things in Celtic languages.

View from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

Proto-Celtic *wāstos = empty
Old Irish (Goídelc) fás = empty, vacant, deserted
fásaogod to empty, despoil
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) fás = empty, vain, futile, vacant
Irish (Gaeilge) fás [fˠɑːsˠ / fˠaːsˠ] = waste, vacant, empty, void; wild, luxuriant
fásach = waste, desert; uncultivated, uninhabited region; empty, deserted place
fásaigh = to lay waste, leave uncultivated
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) fàs [faːs] = empty; barren, waste, uncultivated, fallow, desolate
fàsach = desert, wilderness, empty place
fàsaich = to depopulate, lay waste to a place, desolate
fàslach = hollow, void, cavity
fàslail = desolate, lonely, solitary
Manx (Gaelg) faase = feeble, weak; desolate, void, barren, infirm
faasagh = desert, desolate, waste place, wilderness
faaselagh = weakest part, poor part of lawn
faasoil = desert

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *h₁weh₂- (to leave, abandon) [source].

Old Irish (Goídelc) folam = empty
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) folam, falam = empty, uninhabited, shallow, barren, destitute, vain, worthless
folma = emptiness
Irish (Gaeilge) folamh [ˈfˠɔl̪ˠəvˠ / ˈfˠaːl̪ˠə / ˈfˠɔlˠuː] = empty
folmhaigh = to empty, discharge, exhaust; purge, evacuate
folmhach empty, vacant, sapce, gap (between teeth)
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) falamh [fal̪ˠəv] = empty, hollow, void
falamhachd = emptiness, voidness, vacancy, vacuum, void
falamhaich = to empty, void, evacuate
falamhaichte = emptied
Manx (Gaelg) follym = void, flat, shallow, barren, vacuous, waste, blank, empty, hollow, blank
folmaghey = to empty, void, hollow, vacate, deflate

Etymology: possibly from the Old Irish lomm (bare, naked, smooth) [source].

Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) cúacca = empty
Proto-Brythonic *gwag = empty, vacant
Old Welsh guac = empty, desolate, vacant
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) gwac, gwag = empty, desolate, vacant
Welsh (Cymraeg) gwag [ɡwaːɡ] = empty, desolate, vacant, void, barren; meaningless, senseless, unsubstantial, frivolous, null and void, invalid
gwagedd = vanity, vainglory, conceit, empitness, unreality
gwagio = to empty, make empty, become empty
gwagle = empty place or space, vacuum, void, gap, chasm, space
Middle Cornish gwag = hungry, vain, void, vacant, at leisure; void, vacuum, hunger
Cornish (Kernewek) gwag = blank, empty, hollow, hungry, unfurnished, unoccupied, vacant
gwaga = to break into a cavity
gwagen = blank
gwagla = vacancy
gwagva = vacuum
gwakhe = to empty, vacate
Middle Breton goac = soft, tender
goacat = to soften
Breton (Brezhoneg) gwak = soft, tender
gwakaat = to soften
gwakadur = softening

Etymology: from the Vulgar Latin *vacus, from the Latin *vacuus (empty), from vacō (I am empty, void), from the Proto-Italic *wakos (empty), from the Proto-Indo-European *h₁weh₂- (to lack, empty) [source].

A Breton word for empty is goullo or gollo, the origins of which are not known.

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

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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