Boots and Shoes

Today we’re looking at words for boots, shoes and related things in Celtic languages.

John Baker's Brogue Ankle Boot / Schnürstiefelette Kalbsleder braun (brown) (1)

Old Irish (Goídelc) bróc(c) [broːɡ] = shoe, sandal, greave; (in plural) greaces, leggings, hose, breeches
Irish (Gaeilge) bróg [bˠɾˠoːɡ/bˠɾˠɔːɡ] = boot, shoe
bróg ard = boot
bróg iseal = shoe
bróg adhmaid/mhaide = clog
brógchrann = boot-tree
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) bròg [brɔːg] = shoe, boot, hoof
brògair [brɔːgɪrʲ] = shoemaker, cobbler
brògach [brɔxgəx] = abounding in shoes, shod, strong-hoofed, animal with “socks”
bròg-fhiodha = clog, wooden shoe
brògan put = football boots
bròg-eich = horseshoe
bròg-spéilidh = ice skate
bròg na cuthaige = bluebell, wild hyacinth (“shoe of the cuckoo”)
cho sona ri bròg = as happy as Larry (“as happy as a shoe”)
Manx (Gaelg) braag = brogue, shoe
braagit = shod
braag lheiltys = gym shoe
braag shliawin = ice skate
braag vaidjagh = clog
Welsh (Cymraeg) brog = brogue
brog Gwyddelig = Irish brogue

Etymology: from the Old Norse brók (trousers, breeches) or the Old English brōc (underpants), both of which come from the Proto-Germanic *brōks (rear end, rump, leggings, pants, trousers), from the PIE *bʰreg- (to break, crack, split) [source].

The English word brogue was borrowed from Irish and refers to a type of shoe, or a strong accent, particularly a strong Irish accent when speaking English, although it originally referred to Irish spoken with a strong English accent, or a heavy shoe of untanned leather.

Brogue in the sense of accent might come from the Irish word barróg (hug, wrestling grip, brogue, impediment of speech) [source], which comes from the Old Irish barróc (fast hold, tight grip, embrace, gripe, stitch) [source],

Proto-Celtic *fesskūtā = (leather) boot, shoe
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) eskyd, eskit, escid = boot, buskin, shoe
Welsh (Cymraeg) esgid [ˈɛskɪd] = boot, buskin, shoe
esgidiaf, esgidio = to put on one’s boots or shoes, to shoe
esgidiedig / esgidiog = shod
esgidiwr = shoemaker, bootmaker
esgidiau blewog = fur-lined boots
esgidau byclau = buckled shoes
esgidiau eira = show boots/shoes
esgidiau nos = slippers
esgid(iau) Gwyddel(od) = brogue(s)
esgid goed, esgidiau coed = wooden-soled shoes, clogs
esgidiau’r gog/gwcw = Bluebell, Wild Hyacinth
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) escid, esgis, eskas = shoe
Cornish (Kernewek) eskis = shoe
eskis sport = trainer, sports shoe
eskisyow kron = slingbacks

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *ped-skuHto-, from *ped- (to walk, step) and *skuH-t- (skin, hide) [source].

Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) cúarán = shoe, sock
Irish (Gaeilge) cuarán = sandal
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) cuaran [kuəran] = sandal, bangage, toecap, sock
Manx (Gaelg) carrane = hide sandal, sandal, slipper
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) cuaran, kuaran, curan = boot, buskin
Welsh (Cymraeg) cu(a)ran, cwaran = boot, buskin
curanog = buskined

Etymology: the Welsh words were borrowed from Irish. The words in the other languages possibly come from the Middle Irish cúar (curved, bent, crooked) from the Proto-Celtic *kukro- (curved), from the Proto-Indo-European *kewk- (to elevate, height) [source].

Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) bòtann [bɔːhdən̪ˠ] = boot (esp. rubber boot, wellington)
bòtais [bɔːhdɪʃ] = boot
bùtais [buːhdɪʃ] = boot
Manx (Gaelg) bootys = boot
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) botys, botes, botas, bottas = greave(s), shackle, boot, wader
Welsh (Cymraeg) bot(i)as, bwtias = greave(s), shackle, boot, wader
botasbren = bootjack, boot-tree
botasog = wearing boots or greaves
botaswr = bootmaker, shoemaker
Cornish (Kernewek) botas = boot
botas palvek = flippers
botas stanch = wellies
Middle Breton (Brezonec) botez, botes, botés = shoe
Breton (Brezhoneg) botez = shoe, clog
botour = shoemaker, cobbler
botaouiñ = to shoe
botez-prenn = clog, wooden shoe
botezioù = hoof, sole

Etymology: (via English) from the Old French bote (boot), from the Frankish *butt, from Proto-Germanic *but(t)az (cut off, short, numb, blunt), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰewt-/*bʰewd- (to strike, push, shock”) [source].

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, Dictionaire Favereau, TermOfis, English – ProtoCeltic WordList (PDF), Etymological Dictionary Of Proto Celtic

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