Similar Likeness

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

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Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Proto-Celtic *samalis = likeness, similarity
Gaulish samalo- = similar, like
Old Irish (Goídelc) samail [ˈsaβ̃ɨlʲ] = likeness, similarity, description
cosmail [ˈkosβ̃ɨl] = like, alike, similar
maccsamla = equal, match
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) samail, samhail = likeness, similarity, description, simile, metaphor; like, as
cosmail = like, similar, likely, probable, fitting, proper, becoming, likeness, similarity
mac(c)samla = an equal, match, the like (of)
Irish (Gaeilge) samhail = likeness, semblance, similitude, image, effigy, represetation, model, phantom, spectre
samhailchomhartha = symbol
samhailchomharthaigh = to symbolize, typify
samhailteach = imaginary
samhalta = visionary, fanciful, unreal, virtual
samhaltach = symbolic
samhaltas = symbolism
cosúil [kəˈsˠuːlʲ / ˈkɔsˠuːlʲ] = resembling like
macasamhail = like, equal, counterpart, reproduction, copy
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) samhail, samhla [sãũ.al / sãũl̪ˠə] = figure, sign, symbol, shape, form, allegory, metaphor, likeness, (re)semblance, like, as similar to
samhailt [sãũ.aldʲ] = figure, sign, symbol, shape, form, example, apparition
samhlach = emblematical, typical, ghostly
samhlachas = analogy, symbolism
samhlachdainn = comparing, likening, symbolising
samhlaidheachd = symbolism
cosail [kɔsal] = similar, (a)like
mac-samhail = likeness, replica, duplicate, facsimile, equal, like
Manx (Gaelg) soyl = model
cosoyley = semblance, simile, symbol, analogy
cosoylagh = alike, allegoric(al), likely, symbolic
macsoyley = instance, metaphor
Proto-Brythonic *haβ̃al [haˈβ̃aːlˑ] = like, similar, as
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) haval, haual, hafal = like, similar
val, fal = as, like, similar
cyhaual, kyhafal, cyhafal = (very) similar, like, resembling, alike, even, equal
dyfaly, dyfalu = to guess, suppose
euylychv, euelychu = to imitate, copy
Welsh (Cymraeg) hafal [ˈhaval] = like, similar, resembling, equal, fellow
hafalu = to equal(ize), equate
hafaledd = equality
hafaliad = equation
fel, fal [vɛl, val] = as, like, similar
cyhafal = (very) similar, like, resembling, alike, even, equal
dyfalu = to guess, suppose, fancy, imagine
efelychu = to imitate, copy
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) haval = like, similar, resembling
havalder = likeness, similitude, resemblance
avel = like, similar
cehafal = equal, like, similar
Cornish (Kernewek) haval = alike, resembling, similar
avel, vel = as, like
kehaval = alike, equal
kehavalen = equation
Old Breton (Brethonoc) amal, hamal, hemel = similar, thus, like, similarly
Middle Breton (Brezonec) haual, haffual, hânvel = similar, likely
haualder = resemblance, likeness
haualier = to compare, seem, resemble
dishaval = dissimilar, different
Breton (Brezhoneg) hañval [ˈhã.val] = similar, likely
heñval [ˈhɛ̃ː.vɛl] = similar, same
hañvalat = apparent, seeming
hañvalder = resemblance, likeness
hañvalidigezh = appearance, aspect, resemblance
hañvalout = to compare, seem, resemble
dishañval = dissimilar, different, extra, great, super

Etymology: from Proto-Indo-European *sem-h₂-lo-, from *sem- (together, one) [source]. Words from the same roots include mile, same, seem, simple, some, similar and system in English [source].

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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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