Lakes and Ponds

Words for lakes, ponds and related things in Celtic languages.

Llyn Idwal

Proto-Celtic *lindā = pool, lake
Gaulish lindon = pool, lake; sea, ocean
Old Irish (Goídelc) lind [l̠ʲiːn̠ʲ / l̠ʲɪn̠ʲ] = pool, pond, body of water, lake, sea
Irish (Gaeilge) linn = pool, pond, body of water, lake, sea
linn mhuilinn = mill-pond
linn lachan = duck pond
linneach = full of pools, watery
linneolaíocht = limnology (freshwater science)
linntreog = small pool, puddle, pot-hole
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) linne [l̪ʲin̪ʲə] deep pool; strait, sound, firth
linne-thuathal, faochag-linne = whirlpool
Linne Giùdain = Firth of Forth
Linne Shalmhaigh = Solway Firth
éisg-linn = fishpond
Manx (Gaelg) lhingey = pool, pond, backwater
lhingey chassee = small whirlpool
lhingey eeast = fishpond
Proto-Brythonic *llɨnn = lake, liquid
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) llynn = lake, liquid
Welsh (Cymraeg) llyn [ɬɨ̞n/ɬɪn] = lake, pool, pond, puddle, moat
llyn anoddun = bottomless pit, the deep
llyn melin = mill pond
llyn tro = whirlpool
Old Cornish lin = lake
Cornish (Kernewek) lynn, lydn = lake
Old Breton lin = lake
Breton (Brezhoneg) lenn = lake, basin, washhouse, fishpond, body of water

Etymology: possibly from the Proto-Indo-European *liH-nd-o-/*liH-nd-u [source].

These words appear in places names such as Lincoln in England, Dublin in Ireland, Lintgen in Luxembourg, Limmat – a river in Switzerland (originally Lindimacus), and possibly strong>Lindern in Germany.

Proto-Celtic *loku = lake, pool
Old Irish (Goídelc) loch [l͈ox] = lake, inlet of the sea
Irish (Gaeilge) loch [l̪ˠɔx] = lake, pool, (body of) water, arm of the sea, lough, fiord
lochach = having (many) lakes
lochán = small lake, pond
lochánach = having (many) small lakes
loch-chuach = lake basin
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) loch [l̪ˠɔx] = loch, lake
lochach = pertaining to or abounding in lochs/lakes
lochan = small lake, loch
loch-mara = sea loch
loch-tasgaidh = reservoir
loch-uisge = freshwater loch/lake
feur-lochan = small grassy loch (which tends to dry up)
Manx (Gaelg) logh [laːx] = lake, lough, loch, arm of the sea
loghan = small lake, pond, dam, tank, dock, pool
loghanagh = full of lakes
logh-hailjey = saltwater lake
logh-ushtey = freshwater lake
Old Welsh lichou = lake, pool
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) luch, lluch = lake, pool
Welsh (Cymraeg) llwch [ɬuːχ] = lake, pool, stagnant water, bog, swamp, marsh, mud, mire, grime, filth, dung
Cornish (Kernewek) logh = inlet
Middle Breton laguenn = flooded field
Breton (Brezhoneg) loc’h = pond, lagoon, flooded meadow

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *lókus (pond, pool), which is also the root of the Icelandic lögur (liquid, fluid, lake, sea), and words for lake in Romance languages, including lac in French, Occitan and Romanian, and lago in Galician, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese [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, Dictionaire Favereau, TermOfis, English – ProtoCeltic WordList (PDF), Etymological Dictionary Of Proto Celtic

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