Words for acorns and related things in Celtic languages.


Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Proto-Celtic *messus = acorn, tree fruit
Old Irish (Goídelc) mess [mʲes] = nuts and berries, mast (fruit of forest trees, esp. if fallen and used as fodder for pigs, etc)
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) mes(s) = tree fruit, mast
mes(s)ach = fruitful
Irish (Gaeilge) meas [mʲasˠ] = fruit of forest tree, mast, offspring (literary)
measach = fruitful
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) meas [mes] = fruit, mast
measraich [mɛsrɪç] = jam
measach [mesəx] = fruitful, fruity
measag [mesag] = small fruit
Manx (Gaelg) mess = fruit, issue
mess yn darragh = acorn
messoil = fruitful, fructiferous, plentiful, prolific, productive
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) mes = acorns, mast, glands, measles (in animals)
messyryt, mesyryd = (abundance of) mast, autumn
Welsh (Cymraeg) mes = acorns, mast, glands, measles (in animals
mes derw = oakmast, acorns
mes Iau = chestnuts
mesa = to gather acorns, feed pigs on acorns
mesaig = meal of acorns
mesog = abounding in acorns, acorn-bearing, glandular, glandulous
meswr = acorn gatherer
Old Cornish mesin, mesen = acorn
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) mesen = acorn
Cornish (Kernewek) mesen = acorn
mes = acorns
Old Breton (Brethonoc) mes = acorns, glands
Middle Breton (Brezonec) mez, mès, mes = acorns, glands
Breton (Brezhoneg) mezenn, mesenn = acron, gland
mez, mes [meːs] = acrons, glands
mesa = to look for acorns

Etmology: unknown, possibly from an non-Indo-European source [source].

Proto-Celtic *derkos = berry (?)
Old Irish (Goídelc) derc [dʲerk] = berry
dercu = acorn
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) derc = berry
dercu, derucc, dearca, dercain = acorn
dercnach = abounding in acorns
Irish (Gaeilge) dearc = berry (literary)
dearca = acorn
dearcán = acorn, (head of) thistle
dearcnach = abounding in acorns
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) dearc [dʲɛr̪ˠxg] = berry
dearc-dharaich = acorn
dearcach [dʲɛr̪ˠxgəx] = pertaining to or abounding in berries
dearcag [dʲɛr̪ˠxgag] = small berry, shinty ball
dearcnag [dʲɛr̪ˠxgnag] = blackberry, brambles

Etmology: from PIE *dʰreh₂ǵ-, or from *derḱ- (to see) [source].

Another word for acorn in Welsh is gwerbl, the origins of which are uncertain.

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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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