Rotten Fragrance

Today we’re looking at the words for rotten and related things in Celtic languages.

Rotten wood

Proto-Celtic *bragnos = rotten
Gaulish brennos = rotten
Old Irish (Gaoidhealg) brén [bʲrʲeːn] = foul, putrid, rotten, stinking
Irish (Gaeilge) bréan [bʲɾʲiːa̯nˠ / bʲɾʲeːnˠ] = foul, putrid, rotten; to pollute, putrefy
bréanlach = filthy place, cesspool
bréanóg = refuse heap
bréantachán = stinker
bréantas = rottenness, stench, filth
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) breun [brʲeːn] = foetid, putrid, disgusting, filthy, nasty, stinking
breunlach = sinking bog
breunachd = corruption, rottenness
breunan = dunghill, dirty person, dirty/smelly object, crabbit/grumpy person, grouch
breunad = degree of foetidness/putridness, degree of disgustingness/filthiness/nastiness, degree of stink
breuntas = stench, stink, putrefaction, putridness
Manx (Gaelg) breinn = foetid, loathsome, malodorous, nasty, offensive, pestilential, putrid, rancid, rotten, smelly, stinking
breinnaghey = to become smelly, putrefy, taint, stink
Proto-Brythonic *braɨn = foul, stinking putrid
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) brean = rotten
Welsh (Cymraeg) braen [braːɨ̯n / brai̯n] = rotten, putrid, corrupt, mouldy, withered, fragile; rot, putrefaction, corruption, decay
braen(i)ad = rotting, decomposition, rottenness, putridness
braenu = to rot, putrefy, make/become corrupt, become mouldy
braenedig = rotten, putrefied, corrupt, festering, gangrenous, mouldy, wounded
Cornish (Kernewek) breyn = putrid, rotten
breyna = to decay, rot
breynans = decay
breynder = rot
Middle Breton brein = rotten
Breton (Brezhoneg) brein = rotten
breinadur = corruption
breinañ = to rot, decay
breinidigezh = putrefaction

Etymology: from the Proto-Indo-European *bʰreHg- (to smell, have a strong odour) [source]. Words from the same PIE root include flair, fragrant, and bray in English, and брезгать (to be fastidious/squeamish, to disdain) in Russian [source].

The Gaulish word brennos was borrowed into Vulgar Latin and ended up as brener (to trick, fool, hoodwink) in French, via the Old French bren (bran, filth, excrement). The English word bran comes from the same Gaulish root, via the Middle English bran(ne) / bren and the Old French bren [source].

The Galician word braña (mire, bog, marsh, moorland) is thought to come from the Proto-Celtic *bragnos, possibly via Celtiberian [source].

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, Online Manx Dictionary, Teanglann.ie, 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

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Heather

Today we’re looking at the words for heather and related things in Celtic languages.

Heather

Proto-Celtic *wroikos = heather
Gaulish *wroika = heather
Celtiberian *broikios = heather
Old Irish (Goídelc) froích, fróech = heather
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) fráech = heather
Irish (Gaeilge) fraoch [fˠɾˠeːx / fˠɾˠiːx / fˠɾˠiːx] = heather, heath, moor
fraochán = bilberry, whortleberry, ring-ouzel
fraochlach = heath
fraochmhá = heath
fraochmhar = heathery
fraoch bán = white heather
fraoch coitianta = Scotch heather, ling
píobaire fraoch = grasshopper
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) fraoch [frɯːx] = heather, ling
fraoch-geal = white common heather (Calluna vulgaris alba
fraoch-bheinn = heather-covered mountain
fraochan = whortleberry, blaeberry, lingonberry, cranberry
fraochach = heathy, heathery
Manx (Gaelg) freoagh = heather, ling, heath
freoagh bane = brier, white heather
freoagh marrey = sea fern
freoagh mooar = Scotch heather
Proto-Brythonic *gwrʉg [ˈɡwrʉːɡ] = heather
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) gruc, gerug, gwrug = heather
Welsh (Cymraeg) grug [ɡrɨːɡ / ɡriːɡ] = heather, ling heath
grug cyffredin = heather, ling, common heath, Calluna vulgaris
grugiar = (red) grouse, willow grouse, heath-hen
gruglus = heath-berries
gruglwyn = bush of heather, sweet broom
grugnythu = to nest or nestle in the heather
grugog = heath-covered, heathery, abounding in heather
Cornish (Kernwek) grug [ɡryːɡ / ɡriːɡ] = heath, heather, ling
grugyar = partridge
Middle Breton groegan = heather
Breton (Brezhoneg) brug = heather

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Etymology unknown, possibly from a non-Proto-Indo-European root [source]. It’s uncertain where the Breton word brug comes from, but it’s likey that it was borrowed from the Latin *brūcus (heather).

The Spanish word brezo (heath) comes from the Vulgar Latin *broccius, from the Proto-Celtic *wroikos, as does the Galician breixo (heather) [source].

Words from the Gaulish root *wroikos (heather), via the Latin *brūcus (heather), include brugo (heather) and brughiera (heath, moor) in Italian, bruc (heather) and bruguera (heath) in Catalan, and bruyère (heather, heath, brier) in French [source].

Eilean Fraoch (Heather Isle) is a nickname for the Isle of Lewis / Eilean Leòdhais in the Western Isles / Na h-Eileanan Siar. Here’s a song about it:

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, Online Manx Dictionary, Teanglann.ie, 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

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Nieces

Today we’re looking at the words for niece and related people in Celtic languages.

Sasha and Nick
My brother and my niece

Proto-Celtic *nextī = niece
Old Irish (Goídelc) necht = niece
Irish (Gaeilge) neacht [n̠ʲæxt̪ˠ] = niece
garneacht = great-niece
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) nigh [n̪iːj] = daughter, niece
Proto-Brythonic *nėθ = niece
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) nith = niece
Welsh (Cymraeg) nith [niːθ] = niece
gor-nith = great-niece
Old Cornish noit = niece
Cornish (Kernwek) nith = niece
Old Breton nith = niece
Middle Breton nyz = niece
Breton (Brezhoneg) nizh, nizez = niece
gou(r)nizez = great-niece

Etymology from the Proto-Indo-European *néptih₂ (niece, granddaughter) [source].

Words in Germanic language the come from the same PIE root, via the Proto-Germanic *niftiz (female descendent, granddaughter, niece), including: Nichte (niece) in German, nicht (female cousin, niece) in Dutch, and the obsolete English word nift (niece) [source].

The English word niece comes from the same PIE root, via the Middle English nece (niece, granddaughter), from the Old French nece (niece, granddaughter), from the Vulgar Latin *neptia (niece), from the Latin neptis (granddaughter) [source].

Other words for niece:

  • Irish: iníon deirféar (sister’s daughter), iníon dearthár (brother’s daughter)
  • Scottish Gaelic: nighean-pheathar (sister’s daughter), nighean-bhràthar (brother’s daughter), ban-ogha = granddaughter, niece
  • Manx: inneen shayrey (sister’s daughter), inneen vraarey (brother’s daughter)

See also the post about daughters.

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, Online Manx Dictionary, Teanglann.ie, 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

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Strawberries

Words for strawberries and related words, in Celtic languages.

Strawberries

Proto-Celtic *subhī = strawberries
Old Irish (Goídelc) sub = strawberry
sub craéb = raspberry
Irish (Gaeilge) [sˠuː] = (red) berry
sú craobh = raspberry
sú talún = strawberry
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) sùbh [suː] = berry, soft fruit
sùbh-craobh = raspberry
sùbh-craobh ruiteach = salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)
sùbh-làir fiadhain = wild / Alpine strawberry (Fragaria vesca)
sùbh nam ban-sìthe = stone bramble (Rubus saxatilis)
sùbh-thalmhainn = strawberry
Manx (Gaelg) soo [suː] = berry
soo crouw = raspberry
soo thallooin = strawberry
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) yssyui / syui / syvi = strawberries
Welsh (Cymraeg) syfi(en) [ˈsəvi] = (wild) strawberries
syfi coch/gwyllt/bach = wild strawberries
syfi gardd = cultivated strawberries)
syfïa = to gather (wild) strawberries
Old Cornish syvyen = strawberry
Cornish (Kernewek) sevi(en) = strawberries
Old Breton s(u)iuy = strawberries
Middle Breton siuy = strawberries
Breton (Brezhoneg) sivi(enn) = strawberries
sivia = to pick strawberries
sivi-garzh = wild strawberries

Etmology: possibly from a non-Indo-European substrate [source]

Middle Welsh (Kymraec) ymevvs / mefys / mefvs / mevys = strawberries
Welsh (Cymraeg) mefus(en) [ˈmɛvɨ̞s / ˈmeːvɪs] = strawberries
mefus y goedwig / mefus y coed = wild strawberries

Etmology: from the Vulgar Latin majusa (“mayberry”), or from the Basque mart (blackberry, bramble), or from the Gaulish *majoþa [source]

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, Online Manx Dictionary, Teanglann.ie, 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)

Milk

Words for milk, and related words, in Celtic languages.

North versus South

Proto-Celtic *laxto- = milk
Old Irish (Goídelc) lacht [l͈axt] = milk
Irish (Gaeilge) lacht [l̪ˠɑxt̪ˠ / l̪ˠaxt̪ˠ] = milk, yield of milk; tears
lachtadh = lacation; flooding (of eyes)
lachaí = nursling
lachtach = lactic, milky; tearful
lachtbhán = milkwhite
lachtmhar = lactiferous, milky, abounding in milk
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) lac, lachd = sweet milk
Manx (Gaelg) laghtveih = milk gauge, milk tester
Proto-Brythonic *llaɨθ = milk
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) llaeth = milk
Welsh (Cymraeg) llaeth [ɬaːɨ̯θ / ɬai̯θ] = milk; milk-like substance, latex; milt, soft roe
llaetha(f), llaethu = to yield milk, lactate, feed with milk, turn to milk
llaetheiddrwydd = milkiness, lactescence
llaethiad = lactation
llaethlyd = milk-like, milky
llaethog = milky, abounding in milk
llaethogrwydd, llaethedd = milkiness
llaethwraig = milkmaid, dairymaid, good milker
llaethyddol = dairy, dairying
y Llwybr Llaethog the Milky Way
Old Cornish lait = milk
Middle Cornish leth, leyth = milk
Cornish (Kernewek) leth = milk
Breton (Brezhoneg) laezh [ˈlɛːs] = milk

Etmology: from the Vulgar Latin *lacte (milk), from the Latin *lac (milk), from the Proto-Indo-European *ǵlákt [source].

Proto-Celtic *mlixtus = milk
Old Irish (Goídelc) mlicht [mʲlʲixt] = milch, in milk (of cattle)
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) blicht = milk
Irish (Gaeilge) bleacht [bʲlʲaxt̪ˠ] = milk, milk yield
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) bliochd [blixg] = milkiness, milk
bliochdmhor [blixg(v)ər] = milky, full of milk
bliochdach = milky, like milk, lacteous
Manx (Gaelg) bluight = lactiferous, lacteal, galactic
bluightagh, ollagh vluight = milking cows
Proto-Brythonic *bliθ = milk
Middle Welsh (Kymraec) blyth = milk
lleurith = milk
Welsh (Cymraeg) blith [bliːθ] = milch, lactating (of cow, etc), full of milk, in calf, in lamb, pregant, fruitful, productive, nourising; milk, dairy produce, lactation, dairying; profit, gain, advantage
blithog, blithiog = milch, giving milk, full of milk, fruitful, productive, bearing offspring
llefrith [ˈɬɛvrɪθ] = milk, new milk, sweet milk, fresh milk
Old Cornish leuerid = milk
Breton (Brezhoneg) livrizh = milk

Etmology: from the Proto-Indo-European *h₂ml̥ǵtus, from *h₂melǵ- (milk, to milk) [source].

The Welsh word llefrith, which is used in North Wales, comes from llef (weak) and blith (milk) [source].

Proto-Celtic *bandyo- = drop
Old Irish (Goídelc) bannae = drop
Middle Irish (Gaoidhealg) bainne = milk
Irish (Gaeilge) bainne [ˈbˠɑɲə / ˈbˠɑnʲə / ˈbˠan̠ʲə] = milk
bainniúil = milky, milk-yielding
bainniúlacht = milkiness
Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) bainne [ban̪ʲə] = milk, milky fluid, sap
bainneach [ban̪ʲəx] = milk, like milk, lacteous
Manx (Gaelg) bainney = milk
bainnagh = lactic, milk producing, milky, galactic
bainnaght = milkiness
yn Raad Mooar Bainnagh the Milky Way
Middle Cornish banne = drop
Cornish (Kernewek) banna = drop
Breton (Brezhoneg) banne = drop, droplet, glass

Etmology: possibly from the Proto-Slavic *baňa (bath), from the Ancient Greek *βαλανεῖον (balaneîon, bath) [source], which is the root of words for bath(room) in many European languages, including bain in French, baño in Spanish and bagno in Italian [source].

Other words for milk in Proto-Celtic include: *glaxtā-, *melgos-, *mlig-e/o-, *seigi- and *sutu-.

Words marked with a * are reconstructions.

Sources: Wiktionary, Am Faclair Beag, Online Manx Dictionary, Teanglann.ie, eDIL – Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language, Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, Gerlyver Kernewek, Dictionaire Favereau, TermOfis, English – ProtoCeltic WordList (PDF)