Words for servants, ploughmen and related people in Celtic languages.

Tour Scotland March Horse Ploughing

Proto-Celtic *ambaxtos = servant
Gaulish *ambaxtos = vassal, high-ranking servant
Old Irish (Goídelc) amus = servant
amsach = mercenary
Irish (Gaeilge) amhas = hireling, servant, mercenary, hooligan
amhsach = wild, unruly
amhasóireacht = hooliganism
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) amhas [au.əs] = savage, wild person, madman
amhsach = wild, uncontrollable, stupid, dull
Proto-Brythonic *ammaɨθ [amˈmaɨ̯θ] = servant, worker, labourer
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) amaeth = ploughman, husbandman, farmer, agriculture
Welsh (Cymraeg) amaeth [ˈameɨ̯θ / ˈamei̯θ] = ploughman, husbandman, farmer, agriculture, ploughmanship, tillage
amaethadwy = farmable, cultivable
amaetha(f), amaethu = to farm, husband, plough, cultivate
amaethdir = arable land, land suitable for cultivation, farm land
amaethdy = farmhouse
amaethddyn = agriculturalist, farmer
amaethedig = farmed, cultivated, cultured
amaethyddiaeth = agriculture, farming
Cornish (Kernewek) ammeth = agriculture, farming
Old Breton ambaith = agriculture, farming

Etymology: from the Proto-Celtic *ambi- (around),‎ *ageti (to drive) and‎ *-os, from the Proto-Indo-European word *h₂m̥bʰi-h₂eǵ- (drive around) [source].

The English word amassador comes from the same root, via the Middle English ambassadore from the Anglo-Norman ambassadeur (ambassador), from the Old Italian ambassadore, from the Old Occitan ambaisador (ambassador), from ambaissa (service, mission, errand), from the Medieval Latin ambasiator (ambassador), from the Gothic 𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌱𐌰𐌷𐍄𐌹 (andbahti – service, function), from the Proto-Germanic *ambahtaz (servant), from the Gaulish *ambaxtos [source]. The word embassy comes from the same Gaulish word [source].

Proto-Celtic *wastos = servant
Gaulish *wassos = young man, squire
Old Irish (Goídelc) foss = attendant, man-servant, servant
Proto-Brythonic *gwass = boy, servant
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) guas, gwas = boy, lad, servant
Welsh (Cymraeg) gwas [ɡwaːs] = boy, lad, stripling, youngster, young man; servant, attendant, employee, officer, vassal, slave
gwasanaeth = service, attendance, a ministering, office, duty, employment
gwasanaethu = to serve, be a servant, attend, wait upon, minister
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) guas = servant
gwas = a youth, servant, one of the common people, a mean person, a fellow, rogue, rascal
gwasanaeth = attendance, service, bondage, slavery
Cornish (Kernewek) gwas = chap, fellow, guy, servant
gwas hwel = workman
gwas ti = housemaker
Old Breton guos = vassal, man, husband, farmer
Middle Breton goas = vassal, man, husband, farmer (who rents a farm)
Breton (Brezhoneg) gwaz [ˈɡwaːs] = (young) man, vassal, valet, servant, husband, mermaid

Etymology: possibly comes from the Proto-Indo-European word *upo-sth₂-o-s (standing beneath) [source].

The English word vassal comes from the same Celtic roots, via the Old French vassal, the Medieval Latin vassallus (manservant, domestic, retainer), from the Latin vassus (servant) from the Gaulish *wassos [source].

Old Irish (Goídelc) seirbísech = auxiliary, ancillary, servant, agent
Irish (Gaeilge) seirbhíseach = servant
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) seirbheiseach [ʃerʲevɪʃəx] = servant, servitor
seirbheisiche = servant
Manx (Gaelg) shirveishagh = attendant, clergyman, minister, servant, server, vassal

Etymology: from the Old French servise (service, servitude, vasselage), from the Latin servitium (slavery, servitude, service), from servus (servant, serf, slave) [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

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *