Words for lament and related words in Celtic languages.

Words of lament in Celtic languages

Proto-Celtic *kiyeti = to fall, cry
Old Irish (Goídelc) caí = weeping, lamentation
ciïd [ˈkʲi.ɨðʲ] = to cry, weep
coínid = to lament, mourn, keen, regret, deplore
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) caí = weeping, wailing, lamentation
ciïd = to cry, weep, lament, mourn
caínid = lament
Irish (Gaeilge) caí [ˈd̪ˠɪnʲə] = lament, lamentation
caoin [kiːnʲ] = to keen, lament, cry, weep
caígh = to weep, lament
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) caoidh [kɤj] = lamenting, bewailing, lamentation, mourning, grieving
caoin [kɯːn̪ʲ] = to weep for, mourn, cry, lament, wail
Manx (Gaelg) coe = weep, mourn, weeping, woe
keayney = to cry, wail, weep, mourn, lament; mourning
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) cwyn, cŵyn, kwyn = complaint
Welsh (Cymraeg) cwyn [kuːɨ̯n / kʊi̯n] = complaint, plaint, grievance, lament, grief
cwyno [ˈkʊɨ̯nɔ / ˈkʊi̯nɔ] = to complain, lament, bemoan, mourn, pity
cwynawdr = complainant
cwynddig = lamenting angrily
cwynfa = lamentation
cwynfanwr = whiner
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) cyny, kyny = to mourn, lament, weep
Cornish (Kernewek) kynvan = lament, lamentation, moan, mourning
kyni = to mourn, lament, wail, moan
Breton (Brezhoneg) keuziañ = to regret, miss, be sorry, deplore. lament

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *ḱey- (to fall) [source], or *gʷey- (to lament, complain) [source].

The English word keen (to mourn, utter with a loud wailing voice or wordless cry) was borrowed from the Irish caoin [source].

The Icelandic word kveina (to wail, cry, lament) comes from the same PIE root (*gʷey-), via the Old Norse kvein(k)a (to whine, wail), and the Proto-Germanic *kwainōną (to lament) [source], as does the Scots word quink (a type of goose) [source]

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, Gerlyvyr Cernewec, Dictionaire Favereau, TermOfis, Le dictionnaire diachronique du breton, Geriafurch, English – ProtoCeltic WordList (PDF), Etymological Dictionary Of Proto Celtic

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