Words for sail and related things in Celtic languages.

sailing ship

Proto-Celtic *siglom = sail, course, run
Old Irish (Goídelc) séol [sʲeːu̯l] = sail
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) séol = sail
séolaid = to sail
Irish (Gaeilge) seol [ʃoːl̪ˠ/ʃɔːlˠ] = sail; covering, canopy; drift, tend, course, direction, flow, motion
seoladh = to sail, sailing; course, direction, guidance, dispatch
seoladóir = shipper
seoladóireacht = shipping
seolchrann = mast
seoltóir = sailor, sender, remitter, drover, (electrical) conductor
seoltóireacht = sailing
long seol = sailing ship
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) seòl [ʃɔːl̪ˠ] = sail; navigate, direct, guide, govern, regulate
seòlaid = shipping route, passage, sway(ing), nervous movement
seòl-mara = tide
seòladair = sailor
seòladaireach = nautical
Manx (Gaelg) shiauill = sail, navigate,
shiauilley = to sail, navigate, sailing
shiauilteyr = ferryman, sailor, seafarer, seaman
shiaulteyragh = nautical
Proto-Brythonic *hɨɣl = sail, course, run
Old Welsh huil = sail
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) hwyl, hvyl, huyl = sail
Welsh (Cymraeg) hwyl [huːɨ̯l/hʊi̯l] = sail, sheet, covering, pall; journey, progress, revolution, orbit, course, route, career, rush, assault; hilarity, jollity, mirth, amusement, fun, humour
hwylbawl, hwylbolyn = boom, bowspirt
hwylbren = mast, flagstaff
hwyldroaf, hwyldroi = to tack, change course, veer
hwylfa = way, narrow road or street, lane, path, alley, voyage
hwylfwrdd = sailboard, windsurfer
hwylfyrddio = to sailboard, windsurf
hwylio = to sail, embark, set out on a voyage or journey, navigate
hwyliwr = navigator, mariner, sailor, leader, organizer
Old Cornish guio = sail
Middle Cornish (Cernewec / Kernuak) gol, goyl, guil = sail (of a ship)
gwelan gôl = sail yard
Cornish (Kernewek) gool = sail
golya = to sail
skath-wolya = sailing boat
gorhel golyow = sailing ship
Breton (Brezhoneg) gouel = sail
gouelier = to sail
gouelierezh = sailmaker

Etymology: uncertain. Possibly from the Old English seġ(e)l (sail), from the Proto-Germanic *segl (sail), from *seglą (sheet, sail), the origins of which are uncertain. Possibly cognate with the Latin sagum (coarse woolen coat), from the Gaulish *sagos (wool cloak). Related words include sail in English, zeil (sail, tarpaulin) in Dutch, Segel (sail) in German, and sejl (sail) in Danish [source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Here’s Leis an Lurgainn, a song in Scottish Gaelic about sailing:

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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