A Pair of Twos

Words for two and related things in Celtic languages:


Proto-Celtic *duwo = two
*dwau = two (masculine)
*dwī = two (feminine)
Old Irish (Goídelc) [daː] = two
dechenc = two people
déide = two things
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) = two, twice
dechenc = a pair of persons
déide = double, consisting of two, two things, a pair
Irish (Gaeilge) dhá [ɣɑː/ɣaː] = two
[d̪ˠɑː/d̪ˠaː] = two (used after an (the), aon (any) and céad (first))
= two (used when counting, e.g. a dó)
dháréag = twelve
daichead = forty
déidhe = two persons or things, two, pair
dís = two, pair, couple
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) [daː] = two
dà reug = twelve
dà fhichead = forty
dà-fhillte = double, twice over, two-way, twofold
dà-chànanach = bilingual
dà-chomhaireach = bidirectional
dà-bheathach = amphibian
dà-bheulach = duplicitous, two-faced
Manx (Gaelg) daa [d̪eː/d̪ɛː] = two, both
daa cheayrt = doubly, twice, twice over, double
daa-hengagh, daa-hengoil = bilingual
daa hroagh = two-way
daa laare = double-decker
daa lout = two-storey
daa yeig = twelve
daeed = forty
Proto-Brythonic *dọw = two (masculine)
*düi = two (feminine)
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) dau, dou, deu, dev = two (masculine)
dwy = two (feminine)
dau dafodioc = double-tongued, two-tongued, bilingual
deu dyblyc, deudeblyg, deudyblyc, deudyblic = twofold, double, duplicate
deu eiryawc = deceitful, double-tongued
doudec, deudec, deudeg = twelve, dozen
deuckeyn, deugeint, deu vgein, deugein = forty
duyweith, dwyweith, dwyweyth = twice, doubly
Welsh (Cymraeg) dau [daɨ̯/dai̯] = two (masculine), both, pair, couple, second, twice
dwy [duːɨ̯/dʊi̯] = two (feminine)
daudafodiog = double-tongued, two-tongued, bilingual
dauddeall = equivocal, ambiguous
dauddyblaf, dauddyblu = to (re)double
dauddyblyg, deuddyblyg = twofold, double, duplicate
daueiriog, deueiriog = deceitful, double-tongued, prevaricating, false, equivocal
deuddeg = twelve, dozen
deugain = forty
dwywaith = twice, doubly
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) dew = two (masculine), pair, couple
dui, dyw = two (feminine)
dewdhec = twelve
dewugens = two score, forty
deweth, dewyth = twice
Cornish (Kernewek) dew = two (masculine)
diw = two (feminine)
dewdhek = dozen, twelve
dew ugens = forty
dewblek = double, twofold
dewbries = married couple
dewdhen = couple, pair
dewek = binary
diwweyth = twice
Old Breton (Brethonoc) dou = two
Middle Breton (Brezonec) daou, dou, deü = two
div = two (feminine)
doudec, douzec, daoudec, daouzek = twelve
dou vguent, daouuguent, daou-ugent = forty
daouad = duo
daudroadecq, daoudriadeg, daou-droadek = biped
daougementiñ = to double
Breton (Brezhoneg) daou [dɔw] = two (masculine), double, couple
div [diw] = two (feminine)
daouzek = twelve
daou-ugent = forty
daouad = binomial, duo
daouhanteriñ = to cut in two
di(v) wezh = twice

Etymology: possibly from Proto-Indo-European *dwóh₁ (two) [source]. English words from the same roots include binary, double, duo, duplex, twig, twin and two [source].

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

3 thoughts on “A Pair of Twos

  1. Simon, I see that in your graphic that displays various forms of Two, you show “twice” TWICE.
    A case of poetic license (or, grammarian license?) I suppose.

    I see a new song deriving from this:

    ♪ Oh twice I strode down the lane a-twice
    ♪ And twice I met upon your eyes a-twice
    ♪ And twice I asked of you a kiss a-twice
    ♪ And one you did, my dear
    ♪ And glee of glees
    ♪ Oh once you did, my dear

    All you need now is some music
    And all you need now is music


  2. Oh what a dilemma of a quandry! Whatever shall we say should we grasp (at straws?) beyond our reach and seek a forth refrain?

    Force? Fourthse? Fourth’s? Four-sooth? Foursome? Force-some?
    Quaternary? Quadrapartide?

    Zounds! How perplexed and confounded I shall be,
    Were I to seek out the sounds beyond the realm of thrice or three!

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