Hre are a few words for caves, hollows and related things in Celtic languages.

Deeper in the cave

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Proto-Celtic *oumā = cave
Old Irish (Goídelc) úam = cave
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) úam, úaim, úama = cave, den, lair, cellar, crypt, vault, grave, tomb, pit
úamach = a cave-dweller
Irish (Gaeilge) uaimh [uəvʲ] = cave, souterrain, underground chamber, cellar, crypt, vault, den of thieves, pit
uaimheadóireacht = exploration of caves, potholing
uaimheolaí = speleologist
uaimheolaíocht = speleology
uaimheolaí = speleologist
uaimh ifrinn = pit of hell
uaimh ladrann = den of thieves
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) uamh [ũə̃v] / uaimh = cave, den, hollow, grave, grotto
uamh-thalmhainn = souterrain, underground passage
Manx (Gaelg) oghe = cave, oven
ooig = den, cavern, grotto, antar, pit, stope, hotbed, cave
ooig-oaylleeaght = speleology
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) guocof, guocob, gogof = cave
guocobauc, ogouawc, gogofawg = full of caves, cave-like, cavernous
Welsh (Cymraeg) (g)ogof [ˈɔɡɔv / ˈoːɡɔv] = cave, cavern, grotto, cleft, cavity, den, lair
ogofa = to explore caves, caving, pot-holing, speleology
ogofaidd = cave-like, cavernous
ogofaog = cave-like, cavernous, fulls of caves
ogofäwr = caver, pot-holer
(g)ogofog = full of caves, cave-like, cavernous
ogofwr = cave-dweller, troglodyte
ogof l(l)adron = den of thieves
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) ogo, ogos = cave, cavern
Cornish (Kernewek) gogow = cave, cavity

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *h₁ewn- (empty) [source].

Old Irish (Goídelc) fochla = burrow, burrowing, den, digging
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) fochla = digging, rooting, burrowing, cavity, hole, burrow, den
fochlach = hiding-place
fochlaid = burrowing, undermining, uprooting, cavity, hole, pit
Irish (Gaeilge) uachais = burrow, cavity, lair, den
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) fuathais = den (obsolete)
Proto-Brythonic *fowyā = den, lair, cave
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) ffeu, ffau = den, lair, cave
Welsh (Cymraeg) ffau = den, lair, burrow, set, covert, cave
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) fow = den, cave, a lurking place of wild beasts
Cornish (Kernewek) fow = cave

Etymology: from the Latin fovea (pit, hole in the ground, snare) the Proto-Indo-European *bʰow- (pit, hole) [source].

Proto-Celtic *tullos/*tullom = pierced, perforated, hole
Old Irish (Goídelc) toll = perforated, pierced, hole
tollaid = to pierce, perforate
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) toll = pierced, perforated; hollow, empty, tonsured, vain, ineffective; hole, fault; buttocks
tollad = act of piercing, attacking, penetrating, impugning
tollaid = piereces, penetrates
tollus = perforation
tretholl = piereced, hollow
tuille = hollowness
Irish (Gaeilge) toll [t̪ˠoːl̪ˠ/t̪ˠəul̪ˠ/t̪ˠʌl̪ˠ] = hole, hollow, posterior, buttocks, piereced, perforated, empty, deep (voice), to bore, pierce, perforate
tolladh = borning, perforation
tolladóir = borer, piercer, perforator
tolladóireacht = (act of) boring
tollán = tunnel
tollmhór = big-bottomed, bumptious
tolltach = piercing, penetrating
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) toll [tɔul̪ˠ] = hole, penetration, hole, hold (of a ship); to bore, perforate, gore
toll-guail = coalpit
toll-iuchrach = keyhole
toll-putain = buttonhole
toll-sìolaidh = plughole
tolltach [tɔul̪ˠdəx] = full of holes, holed
tolta [tɔul̪ˠdə] = bored, perforated, gored
tollan [tɔl̪ˠan] = orifice
Manx (Gaelg) towl = aperture, bore, cavity, crater, hole, hollow, leak, penetration, pothole, shaft, vent
towl buird = pigeonhole
towl conning = rabbit hole
towl dhull = plughole
towl doo = black hole
yn towlagh = penetrable
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) tull, twll, twlh = hole, hollow, pit
Welsh (Cymraeg) twll [tʊɬ] = hole, aperture, dimple, hollow, pit, cave, burrow, den, orifice
twll agoriad, twll (y) clo = keyhole
twll botwm = buttonhole
twll cath = cat-flap, cat-door
twll cesail. twll y gesail = armpit
twll cwinngen = rabbit burrrow
twll du = black hole
twll (y) grisiau = stairwell
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) toll = hole, perforation
tolcorn = flute, fife (“horn with holes”)
tollec = full of holes, perforated, hollow
tolly = to make a hole, to perforate
Cornish (Kernewek) toll = burrow, hollow, hole, opening, orifice
toll alhwedh = keyhole
toll boton = button hole
toll konin = rabbit burrow
toll lavrek = fly (in trousers)
toll y’n fos = cash dispenser (“hole in the wall”)
tollek = holed, leaky, perforated
Old Breton tull = foramen (aperture or opening produced by boring)
Middle Breton (Brezonec) toull = pierced, leaky, deep, hollow, empty; hole
toulladur = digging, excavation, piercing
Breton (Brezhoneg) toull [ˈtulː] = holed, pierced, hole, embrasure, entrance
toull du = black hole
toulled = thole (pin)
toullet = perforated

Etymology: from Proto-Indo-European *tewk- (to push, press, beat, pierce, perforate), from *(s)tew- (to push, hit) [source].

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root include tollo (hole in the ground where hunters hide, rainwater puddle) in Spanish, toll (pool, puddle) in Catalan, tol (ditch, dam) in Galician [source].

Words from the same PIE root possibly include tkát (to weave) in Czech, tkać (to weave, stick, tuck) in Polish, and тъка [tɐˈkɤ] (to spin, plait, entwine, weave) in Bulgarian [source].

Proto-Celtic *kuwo-/*kawyos = hollow
Old Irish (Goídelc) cúas = hollow, cavity, cave
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) cúa, cuae, cua, cúe = hollow, empty’ bell-shaped cup, nut
cuäch, cúach = cup, goblet, bowl, cauldron
cúachda, cuachda = cupped, hollow
cúas, cús = hollow, cavity, cave, cavern, lair, den, shelter
cuithe = put, pitfall, prison, dungeon, well, pool, whirlpool
Irish (Gaeilge) cuas = cavity, hollow, recess, cove, creek
cuasach = cavernous, hollow, concave
cuasacht = concavity
cuasán = (small) cavity
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) cuas [kuəs] = hollow, cave, cavity
cuasach [kuəsəx] = cavernous
cuasan [kuəsan] = small hollow/cavity, small cave
Proto-Brythonic *kow = hollow
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) cev, keu, kau = hollow, empty, sunken
Welsh (Cymraeg) cau = hollow, empty, sunken, false, deceitful, enclosing, shut, closed, vacuum, cavity, inwards, bowels
yghau = closed, shut
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) *cew = hollow
Cornish (Kernewek) kew = hollow, enclosed field, paddock, small enclosure
Old Breton (Brethonoc) cau = covered
Middle Breton (Brezonec) queu, keu, kev = hollow, concave, deep
que = cavity, cave
Breton (Brezhoneg) kev = cave, concave, hollow, cavity
kevded = concavity
keviadur = excavation
kevian, keviañ = to excavate

Etymology: from Proto-Indo-European *kewh- (vault, hole) [source]. , or from *ḱowh₁ós (hollow), from *ḱewh₁- (to swell) [source]. The English words cave and cavity come from the same roots.

The Breton word kavarn (cave, cavern, den, lair) comes from the same PIE root, probably via the Latin caverna (hollow, cavity, cave, cavern), from cavus (hollow, concave), from the Proto-Italic *kawos [source].

Other words in Breton for cave are groc’h, mougev and roc’h toull. There don’t appear to be any cave-related words that are cognate with the other Celtic languages.

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with

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

Unlimited Web Hosting - Kualo

Rivers & Stars

Words for rivers & stars in Celtic languages.

Cwm Idwal

Proto-Celtic *abonā / *abū = river
*abonko- = beaver
Gaulish ambe = river
Old Irish (Goídelc) ab [au̯v] = river
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) ab = river
Irish (Gaeilge) abhainn [əunʲ / əun̠ʲ / oːn̠ʲ] = river
craobh-abhainn = affluent, tributary
tréig-abhainn = distributary
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) abhainn [a.ɪn̪ʲ] = river, stream
abhainneach = fluvial, pertaining to or abounding in rivers
abhainn-deighe = river of ice, glacier
capall-aibhne = hippopotamus
con-abhainn = confluence
leas-abhainn = tributary
tur-abhainn = seasonally dry river
Manx (Gaelg) awin [aunʲ / ˈawənʲ] = river
awiney = freshwater, riverside; of a river
broogh awin = river bank, riverside
beeal/cass awin = estuary, river mouth
crouw-awin = confluence
Proto-Brythonic *aβon [aˈβoːn] = river
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) afon, avon, auon = river
Welsh (Cymraeg) afon [ˈaːvɔn / ˈavɔn] = river, stream, brook
afonfarch = hippopotamus
afonig = rivulet, stream, book
afonog = having (many) rivers or streams; fluvial
Old Cornish auon = river
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) avon = river
Cornish (Kernewek) avon, awon [ˈavɔn] = river
Middle Breton aven, avon = river
Breton (Brezhoneg) aven [ˈɑː.ven] = river

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *h₂ep-h₃ōn-, from *h₂ep- (water, body of water) [source]. The names of the river Avon in England and the river A’an (Avon) in Scotland were borrowed from Proto-Brythonic [source].

Words from the same PIE roots include aven (sinkhole, pot hole) in French, avenc (chasm, gulf sinkhole) in Catalan, abeneiro (black alder tree) in Galician, amieiro (alder) in Portuguese, अप् (ap – water, Virgo) in Sanskrit, and possibly words for ape in English and other Germanic languages [source].

Proto-Celtic *rēnos = river, waterway
Gaulish Rēnos = River Rhein (?)
Old Irish (Goídelc) rían [r͈ʲiːa̯n] = sea, ocean, path, course, way, manner
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) rían = sea, ocean (poetic/archaic); course, route, path, way, manner, state
Irish (Gaeilge) rian = course, path, mark, trace, track, vigour
rianach = having tracks, paths
rianaí = wayfarer, wanderer, tracker, tracer, genealogist
rianaigh = to mark out, trace, indent, chart, track
rianaíocht = wayfaring, wandering
comhrian = corresponding course, contour
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) rian [r̪ʲian] = method, mode, system, arrangement, control, management, order, sense
rianachd = administration
rianadair = arranger, controller, governor
rianail = orderly, methodical
rianaire = administrator
co-rian = system
mì-rian = confusion, disorder
Manx (Gaelg) rane = stanza, track, verse

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *h₃reyH-nós, from *h₃reyH- (to flow, stream) [source]. Names for the river Rhine in many languages come from the same roots, via the Latin Rhēnus and Gaulish [source]

Proto-Celtic *sterā = star
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) ser = star
Proto-Brythonic *ster = stars
Welsh (Cymraeg) sêr [seːr] = stars
Cornish (Kernewek) ster = stars
Breton (Brezhoneg) ster [ˈsteːr] = stars, river

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *h₂stḗr (star), from **h₂eh₁s- (to burn) [source]. It’s possible that the Breton word for ster comes from two different roots, and the river one is not cognate with words for star in other Celtic languages.

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

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, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise, English – ProtoCeltic WordList (PDF), Etymological Dictionary Of Proto Celtic

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with


Words for bones and related things in Celtic languages.


Proto-Celtic *knāmis = bone
Old Irish (Goídelc) cnáim [knaːṽʲ] = bone
Irish (Gaeilge) cnámh [knɑːvʲ / knaːvʲ] = bone; strip (in ploughing); submerged reef
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) cnàimh [krɛ̃ːv] = bone; unploughed area
Manx (Gaelg) craue [kreːw] = bone, whine, wild garlic, crow
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) knaw [knau̯] = bone, skull
Welsh (Cymraeg) cnaw [knau̯] = bone, skull

Etymology: from Proto-Indo-European *kónh₂m (leg) [source]. Words from the same root include ham in English and κνήμη [ˈknimi] (shin, tibia) in Greek [source].

Proto-Celtic *astū = bone
*astn(iy)o- = rib
*astkornu = bone
Old Irish (Goídelc) asna, esna = rib
Irish (Gaeilge) easna [ˈɑsˠn̪ˠə] = rib, strake, timber
easnach = costal, ribbed
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) asna [asn̪ˠə] = rib
aisean [aʃən] = rib
Manx (Gaelg) asney [kreːw] = fin, nerve, rib, timber
Proto-Brythonic *assī = rib
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) eis / asseu / assen = rib
Welsh (Cymraeg) asen = rib, breast, bosom; bar, spar, lath
ais [ai̯s] = ribs, laths
asennog = ribbed
asgwrn = bone; mortal remains, corpse, skeleton; stone (of fruit)
Middle Cornish (Cernewec) asow, asen = rib
ascorn = bone
asgornec = bony
Cornish (Kernewek) asowen = rib
askorn [‘askɔrn / ‘æskɐrn] = bone
askornek = skinny
Breton (Brezhoneg) askorn [ˈla.ɡat] = bone
askornek = bony

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *h₃ésth₁ (bone) [source]. Words from the same root include ossify (to transform into bone) and ossuary (a container/building for holding bones) in English, asht (bone) in Albanian, os (bone) in Latin and its descendents in Romance languages, such as os (bone) in Catalan, French and Romanian, and hueso (bone) in Spanish [source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

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, Gerlyvyr Cernewec, Dictionaire Favereau, TermOfis, Le dictionnaire diachronique du breton, Geriafurch, English – ProtoCeltic WordList (PDF), Etymological Dictionary Of Proto Celtic

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with