Worms & Maggots

Today we’re looking at the words for worm, maggot and related things in Celtic languages.

Earth Worm

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Proto-Celtic *kʷrimis = worm
Old Irish (Goídelc) cruim [kruṽʲ] = maggot, worm
crumdoma = maggot heap
Middle Irish (Gaoidhleag) cruim, crúim = worm, maggot
crumach = full of reptiles
crumdoma = dunghill
cromóc = maggot
Irish (Gaeilge) cruimh = maggot, larva, grub, tiny insect, worm
crumhóg = maggot
cruimheach = maggoty
cruimheachán = venemous person
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) cnuimh [krɯ̃ĩv] = maggot, grub, worm
cnuimheach [krɯ̃ĩvəx] = maggoty
cnuimheag [krɯ̃ĩvag] = maggot, grub, worm
cnuimhneag [krɯ̃ĩvn̪ˠʲag] = maggot, worm
Manx (Gaelg) crooag = (flesh) worm, grub, maggot, worm
crooagagh = maggoty, wormy
Proto-Brythonic *prɨβ̃ [ˈprɨβ̃] = worm
Old Welsh prem = insect, fly, larva, maggot, grub, worm
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) pryuet, pryf = insect, fly, larva, maggot, grub, worm
pryuyedic = abounding in / infested with worms or maggots
Welsh (Cymraeg) pryf [prɨːv/priːv] = insect, fly, larva, maggot, grub, worm
pryfedaf, pryfedu, pryfedo = to breed worms of maggots, to become infested with worms or maggots
pryfediad = worm or maggot infestation
pryfedig = wormeaten, maggoty
pryfeteg = entomology
pryfiedig = abounding in / infested with worms or maggots
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) pref, prêv, pryf = any small animal, a vermin, an insect, a worm, a reptile
Cornish (Kernewek) pryv, prev = crawling animal, grub, insect, worm, weevil
pryv del = caterpillar
pryv prenn woodworm
pryvladher = insecticide
Middle Breton (Brezonec) preff, preuet, prenvv = worm
Breton (Brezhoneg) preñv = worm
preñvedik = vermiculated
preñvek = vermicular, wormlike, wormy
eneppreñveg, eneppreñvek = wormable

Etymology: from PIE *kʷŕ̥mis (worm) [source]. Words from the same root include cirmenis (maggot, grub) in Latvian, kirmis (worm) in Lithuanian, käärme (snake) in Finnish, کرم (kerm – worm) in Persian, and červ (worm, maggot) in Czech and Slovak [source].

Old Irish (Goídelc) dorb = worm, larva
Middle Irish (Gaoidhleag) dorb = small insect or worm
Irish (Gaeilge) doirb [kɑbʲ/kabʲ] = water beelte
doirbeach = infested with water beetles
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) doirb [dɤrʲɤb] = unspecific term for a small/tiny/insignificant creature (e.g. minnow, worm, leech, small person)
Manx (Gaelg) durrag = cabbage worm, larva of cabbage moth

Etymology: unknown

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, Lexicon Cornu-britannicum: A Dictionary of the Ancient Celtic Language of Cornwall, Dictionaire Favereau, TermOfis, Le dictionnaire diachronique du breton, Etymological Dictionary Of Proto Celtic

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