Meaty Flesh

Today we’re looking at the words for meat, flesh, breast and related things in Celtic languages.


Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Proto-Celtic *kīkos = breast
Primitive Irish ᚉᚉᚔᚉᚐ (ccica-) = breast
ᚉᚉᚔᚉᚐᚋᚔᚅᚔ (ccicamini) = male given name
Old Irish (Goídelc) cích [kʲiːx] = breast
Cíchmuine [ˈkʲiːxmunʲe] = male given name
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) cích [kʲiːx] = pap, breast, nipple, teat
cíchech, cīgech [ˈkʲiːxʲəx] = big-chested
Cichmuine, Cichmhuine, Cíchmaine = male given name
Irish (Gaeilge) cíoch [ciəx] = breast, pap, papilla, protuberance
cíochach = mammary
cíochbheart = bra(ssiere)
cíoch-chruthach = mammiform
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) cìoch [kʲiəx] = breast, pap
cìochach [kʲiəxəx] = mammary, pertainning to breasts, ample-bosomed
cìoch [kʲiəxag] = valve, small breast
cìocharan [kʲiəxan] = suckling infant
Manx (Gaelg) keeagh [kiːx] = breast, bud, nipple, pap, teat
keeaghagh = mammary
Proto-Brythonic *kig = meat
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) cic, kic = meat
cigva meat market, butcher’s shop, shambles, slaughter-house, carnage
cicbran, cicuran, kigvrain, kicfran = raven
kicawc, kigawc = meaty, fleshy
kiccyd, kygyd, kigydd = butcher
Welsh (Cymraeg) cig [kiːɡ] = meat, flesh
cigaf, cigo = to fatten, become fleshy
cigaidd = meaty, fleshy, bloody, cruel, carnivorous,
cigfa meat market, butcher’s shop, shambles, slaughter-house, carnage
cigfran = raven
cigog = meaty, fleshy
cigydd = butcher
Old Cornish cic, chic = meat, flesh
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) cig, kig = meat, flesh
cigliu = flesh-coloured
cigver, kiguer = flesh-fork
Cornish (Kernewek) kig = meat, flesh
kiger, kigores = butcher
kigereth = butchery, slaughterhouse
kigliw = flesh (colour), pink
kigti, kigva = butcher’s, butchery, slaughterhouse
Old Breton cic = meat, flesh
Middle Breton (Brezonec) quic = meat, flesh
quicguec = fleshy, muscled
Breton (Brezhoneg) kig [kiːk] = meat, flesh
kigder = overweight
kigek = fleshy, muscular, plump
kigenn [ˈkiːɡɛn] = complexion, muscule
kigennan, kigennañ = to build muscule, to heal
kigennek [kiˈɡɛnːek] = muscule
kiger [ˈkiːɡɛr] = butcher
kigerezh [ki.ˈɡɛː.rɛs] = butcher’s shop

Etymology: assumed to be of expressive/imitative origin [source].

Old Irish (Goídelc) brollach = breast, bosom, chest
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) brollach, brothlach = breast, bosom, chest
Irish (Gaeilge) brollach [bˠəɾˠˈl̪ˠax/ˈbˠɾˠɔl̪ˠəx] = breast, bosom, front, beginning, preface, prologue
brollaiocht = close wrestling
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) brollach [brɔl̪ˠəx] = bosom, breast, bust, chest, brisket
Manx (Gaelg) brollagh = bosom, breast

Etymology: related to the Old Irish bruinne (breast) and brú (belly) [source]. See also the post about Hills

Proto-Celtic *weɸolis = flesh, meat (?)
Old Irish (Goídelc) feóil, féuil [fʲeːu̯lʲ] = flesh, meat
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) feóil, feól = flesh, meat
feólaigid = to make or form flesh
feólairecht = butchery, slaughter
feólamail = the flesh, worldly
feólmar = fleshy
Irish (Gaeilge) feoil [fʲoːlʲ/fʲɔːlʲ] = flesh, meat
feoilteach = carnivorous
feoilteoir = carnivore
feoilséantóir = vegetarian
feoilaire = butcher
feoilmhar = fleshy, fat, flabby
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) feòil [fjɔːl̪ˠ] = flesh, meat
feòil-itheach [fjɔːl̪ˠ içəx] = carnivorous
feòil-itheadair [fjɔːl̪ˠ içədɪrʲ] = carnivore
feòil-sheachnair = vegetarian
Manx (Gaelg) feill [feːlʲ] = flesh, meat
feillagh = fleshy, meaty
feill-eeagh = carnivorous
feilleyder = butcher
feill-haghnagh = vegetarian (adj)
feill-haghneyder = vegetartian (person)

Etymology: uncertain [source].

Old Irish (Goídelc) cnes = skin
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) cnes, cnis, cneis, cneas = skin, surface, body, flesh, bosom, breast
Irish (Gaeilge) cneas [cnʲasˠ/cɾʲasˠ] = skin, good appearance
cneasach = covered with skin, cutaneous
cneasaí = close companion, spouse, healer
cneasaigh = to cicatrize, heal
cneasluiteach = skintight
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) cneas [krʲẽs] = skin, bosom
cneasachadh [krʲesəxəɣ] = (act of) squeezing, tightening, pressing, making slender, curing, healing
Proto-Brythonic *knōto- = flesh (?)
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) knaud, cnaut, knaỽt, knawt = flesh
knowdio = to incarnate, gather flesh, be conceived
knaỽtaỽl, knaỽdaỽl, knoawdol = bodily, carnal, physical, sensual, fleshy, plump
Welsh (Cymraeg) cnawd [knau̯d] = flesh
cnawdaidd = pertaining to the flesh, carnal
cnawd(i)edig = fleshy, carnal
cnawdiad = incarnation, putting on of flesh
cnawdiaf, cnawdio = to incarnate, gather flesh, be conceived
cnawdig = fleshy, carnal, fat, plump
cnawdol = bodily, carnal, physical, sensual, fleshy, plump
Cornish (Kernewek) kneus = skin
Breton (Brezhoneg) kneud = carnality, fleshliness (?)

Etymology: possibly from PIE *kneu-t- [source].

More Celtic words for breast and meat can be found on the posts about Hills, Central Hearts, Baskets, Wings, Bones, Fatty Lard and Food

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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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