Words for wave and related things in Celtic languages.


Proto-Celtic *tundā = wave, billow
Old Irish (Goídelc) tonn [ton͈] = wave, outpouring, sea, abundance, bog, swamp
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) tonn = wave, outpouring, sea, abundance, bog, swamp
Irish (Gaeilge) tonn [t̪ˠɑun̪ˠ/t̪ˠuːn̪ˠ/t̪ˠʌn̪ˠ] = wave
tonn tuile = tidal wave
tonn teasa = heat-wave
tonn turrainge = shock wave
tonnach = wavy, billowy
tonnadh = to wave, surge
tonnáil = waving, rippling, undulation
tonná = wavelet, ripple
tonnúil = wavy, undulating
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) tonn [tɔun̪ˠ] = wave, tilde, quantity of liquid, pile, heap
tonn-fuaime = soundwave
tonn-taomaidh, tonn-tuile = tidal wave
tonn-crithe = shockwave
tonnadh = undulating, undulation, vomiting
tonnan, tonnag = small wave
tonnach = waved, wavy
tonnachd = waviness
Manx (Gaelg) tonn = wave, billow
tonn hiass = heat-wave
tonn hidee = tidal wave
tonn inçhyn = brainwave
tonnagh = undulating, billowy, wavy
tonnaghey to undulate, surge, bilow, undulation
tonnaght = undulation, waviness
Proto-Brythonic *tonn = wave
Old Welsh tonnou = wave
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) tonn, ton = wave
Welsh (Cymraeg) ton [tɔn] = wave, the sea; wavelength
ton lanw = tidal wave
ton radio = radio wave
tonfedd = wavelength
tonffurf = waveform
toniad = undulation, oscillation, frequency, modulation, intonation
tonial = surge or swell (of waves)
tonniant = fluctuation
tonni = to undulate, ripple, oscillate, surge
tonnog = wavy, billowy, rough, choppy, roling, undulating
tonyddol = melodious, intoning, tonic, intonational
Middle Cornish (Cernewec / Kernuak) ton = wave
Cornish (Kernewek) tonn = wave
tonnek = wavy
tonnhes, tonnhys = wavelength
Middle Breton) tonn = wave
Breton (Brezhoneg) tonn = wave

Etymology: possibly from the Proto-Indo-European *(s)tewd- (to hit, beat), or from the Proto-Celtic *tondā (surface, skin), or from the PIE *temh₁- (to cut) [source].

The PIE root *(s)tewd- (to hit, beat) is the origin of the Irish tit (to fall, collapse, descend), the Scottish Gaelic tuit (to fall, happen, slip), and the Manx tuitt (to fall, happen, slip) [source]. English words from the same root include study, studio, student and obtuse [source].

The the Proto-Celtic *tondā (surface, skin) is the root of the Gaulish *tondā, from which we get tonn (surface, skin) in Irish, tonn (skin, hide) in Scottish Gaelic, ton (turf, sod, sward, surface) in Welsh, ton (unploughed land, meadow) in Cornish, and tonn (rind, dermis, surface) in Breton.

It was borrowed into Latin as tunna / tonna (tun [a large cask], box), which became tonne (tonne, ton) in French, which was borrowed into English as tonne (a unit of mass equal to 1000kg; a score of 100 in darts) [source].

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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