Celtic Pathways – Flowers

In this episode we’re look into words for flowers and related things.

View from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

In Proto-Celtic, the word *blātus meant flower of blossom. It comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *bʰleh₃- (bloom, flower) [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • bláth [bˠl̪ˠɑː/bˠl̪ˠaː] = blossom, flower; bloom, beauty, prime; prosperity or abundance in Irish
  • blàth [bl̪ˠaː] = bloom, blossom, flower, consequence, effect or heyday in Scottish Gaelic
  • blaa [bleː] = bloom, blossom, flower, heyday or pride in Manx
  • blodyn [ˈblɔdɨ̞n / ˈbloːdɪn] = flower, bloom, blossoms, florets, flowering plant or petal in Welsh
  • bleujen [ˈblɛdʒən] = blossom or flower in Cornish
  • bleuñv [blœ̃w] = flowers, flowering, apogee or menstruation in Breton

The Proto-Celtic word *blātus became *blātōnā (flower) in Gaulish, which was borrowed into Medieval Latin as blādōna (mullein – plants of the genus Verbascum), which became belladonna (a.k.a. deadly nightshade / Atropa belladonna) in Italian [source].

English words from the same PIE root include bloom, blossom, blade, flower, flour, flourish, foliage and folio [source].

Incidentally, words meaning flour in some Celtic languages come from the same PIE root, via Anglo-Norman, Old French, Latin and Proto-Italic. They include fflŵr/fflowr in Welsh, flooyr in Manx, flùr in Scottish Gaelic, and plúr in Irish, which also means flower [more details].

More details of flower-related words in Celtic languages can be found on the Celtiadur, a blog where I explore connections between Celtic languages in more depth. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Celtic Pathways – Crooked and Twisted

In this episode we’re looking at some crooked and twisted words.

Spiral staircase in Conwy / Grisiau troellog yng Nghonwy

In Proto-Celtic, the word *kambos meant twisted, crooked or bent. It comes from the Proto-Indo-European word *kh₂em- (to arch, bend, curve), from *(s)ḱh₂embos (crooked) [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • cam [kaumˠ] = bend, bent, crooked, crookedness, fraud; to bend, crook, distort in Irish
  • cam [kaum] = bent, crooked, awry, not straight, squinty, wry, one-eyed; bend, curve, trick in Scottish Gaelic
  • cam = bent, crooked, deceitful, intricate, knotty, perverse, rakish, wry, wrong in Manx
  • cam [kam] = crooked, bent, hunch-backed, distorted, wry, bowed, curved, looped, winding in Welsh
  • kamm = bent, crooked, erroneous, error, wrong in Cornish
  • kamm = angled, bent, bend in Breton

The Proto-Celtic word *kambos is the root of the Galician words camba (doorjamb of an oven, handmill), cambar (to bend), cambiar (to change) [source]. The word cambiar (to change) in Spanish and Portuguese, and the word change in English come from the same Celtic roots [source].

*kambos is possibly also the root of the French word as camus [ka.my] (flat-nosed, snub-nosed) [source], which was borrowed into English as camous/camoys (flat, depressed, crooked nose – used until the 19th century) [source].

The English word kam (crooked, awry) was borrowed from the Welsh word cam, but is no longer used [source].

The name Campbell comes from the Scottish Gaelic Caimbeul, from cam (crooked) and beul (mouth) [source], while Cameron comes from Camshròn, from cam (crooked) and sròn (nose) [source].

More details of crooked words in Celtic languages can be found on the Celtiadur, a blog where I explore connections between Celtic languages in more depth. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Celtic Pathways – Step

In this episode we are tracking the origins of the word step.

Doors Open Day 2018 - McEwan Hall 017

The Proto-Celtic word for step is *kanxsman. It comes from the Proto-Celtic *kengeti (to step), from the Proto-Indo-European *(s)keng- (to limp, walk lamely) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • céim [ceːmʲ] = step, degree, rank, pass, ravine, difficulty in Irish
  • ceum [kʲeːm] = step, footstep, pace, tread, path, degree, measure in Scottish Gaelic
  • keim = phase, step, degree, stage, standard, stile, grade in Manx
  • cam = step, stride, pace, leap, foot-fall, footprint, trace, progress in Welsh
  • kamm = pace, step, track in Cornish
  • kamm = pace, walk, tread, (foot)step in Breton

In Gaulish step was *kamman, which was borrowed into Latin as cammīnus (way), and became camino (track, path, road, way, route, journey) and caminar (to walk, stroll, travel) in Spanish, caminho (way, road, path) in Portugese, cammino (walk, path, way) and camminare (to walk, work (function)) in Italian, and chemin (path, way, pathway) in French [source].

The Proto-Celtic word *kengets (warrior) comes from the same PIE root, and became cing [kʲiŋʲɡʲ] (warrior, champion, hero), and cingid [kʲiŋʲɡʲiðʲ] (to step, proceed, go) in Old Irish, cinn [ciːnʲ] (to surpass, overcome, be too much for) in modern Irish, and cing [kʲiŋʲgʲ] (warrior, champion) in Scottish Gaelic. The word king in English comes from a different root – from the Proto-Germanic *kuningaz (king) [source].

The English word shank (the part of the leg between the knee and the ankle) also comes from the same PIE root, via the Old English sċanca [ˈʃɑn.kɑ] (leg) and the Proto-Germanic *skankô [ˈskɑŋ.kɔːː] (that which is bent, shank, thigh) [source].

More details about these words on Celtiadur, a blog where I explore connections between Celtic languages in more depth. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Celtic Pathways – Wool

In this episode we are teasing out the origins of the word wool.

Wool

The Proto-Celtic word for wool is *wlanā. It comes from the Proto-Indo-European *h₂wĺ̥h₁neh₂ (wool), from *h₂welh₁- (hair, wool) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • olann [ˈɔlˠən̪ˠ] = wool, woolly hair, mop of hair; woollen in Irish
  • olann [ˈɔl̪ˠən̪ˠ] = wool (usually while on sheep) in Scottish Gaelic
  • ollan = wool in Manx
  • gwlân = wool, down, soft hair, grass, herbage; woollen, soft, made of wool in Welsh
  • gwlan = wool in Cornish
  • gloan = wool in Breton

The English word flannel (a soft cloth material originally woven from wool, washcloth) comes from the same Proto-Celtic root, via Gaulish, Old French, Anglo-Norman and Middle English. This was reborrowed into French, and from French into other languages such as Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Swedish [source].

Words for wool in other European languages come from the same PIE root, including wool in English, wol [ʋɔl] in Dutch, Wolle [ˈvɔlə] in German, and lana in Italian and Spanish [source]

More details about these words on Celtiadur, a blog where I explore connections between Celtic languages in more depth. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology – Quay

Nyhavn, Copenhagen / København

Today we are unloading the origins of the word quay.

A quay [kiː/keɪ] is:

  • a stone or concrete structure on navigable water used for loading and unloading vessels; a wharf.

It comes from the Middle English key(e) [ˈkɛi̯(ə)] (quay), from the Old French kay / cail (quay, wharf), from the Gaulish *kagyum / *cagiíum (enclosure), from the Proto-Celtic *kagyom (pen, enclosure), from the Proto-Indo-European *kagʰyóm (enclosure, hedge) [source].

The spelling quay was adopted in the 1690s to emulate the French spelling quai. In Middle English it was spelled kay, kaye, key or keye.

Other words from the Proto-Celtic root *kagyom include cae [kaːɨ̯/kai̯] (hedge, fence, field, enclosure) in Welsh, ke (fence, hedge) in Cornish, kae (hedge, quay) in Breton, quai (quay, wharf, platform) in French, and cais (quay, wharf, pier) in Portuguese [source].

Words for quay in the Celtic languages come from the same Proto-Celtic root, via Middle English / Anglo-Norman and Gaulish. They include cidhe [kʲi.ə] in Scottish Gaelic, in Irish, and cei [kei̯] in Welsh [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Celtic Pathways – Wagons and Carts

In this episode we’re looking at words for wagons, carts and related vehicles.

Chariot

One Proto-Celtic word for wagon was *karros, which comes from the Proto-Indo-European *ḱr̥sós (vehicle), from *ḱers- (to run) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • *karros = wagon in Gaulish
  • carr [kɑːɾˠ / kæːɾˠ] = car in Irish
  • càr [kar] = car, cart, raft in Scottish Gaulish
  • carr = car, cab, van in Manx
  • car [kar] = vehicle, car, sled, dray; rack, stand in Welsh
  • karr [karː / kær] = car in Cornish
  • karr = car, coach, carriage, trailer, vehicle in Breton

The Gaulish word *karros was borrowed into Latin as carrus (wagon, cart, cartload), which became carro (wagon, cart, van, lorry, truck) in Italian; carro (cart, car, bus) in Spanish; car (bus, coach) in French, car, carriage and chariot in English, and related words in most other Indo-European languages [source].

Words from the same PIE roots include currus (chariot, car, wagon) in Latin, horse in English, hors (mare, female foal, frivolous woman) in Norwegian (Nynorsk), and hross (horse) in Icelandic [source].

The Proto-Celtic word *karbantos means (war) chariot or wagon and is possibly related to the Proto-Celtic word *korbos (wagon, basket). [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • carbad [ˈkaɾˠəbˠəd̪ˠ] = chariot in Irish
  • carbad [karabad] = chariot, coach, carriage, wagon, vehicle, bier, jaw(bone) in Scottish Gaulish
  • carbyd = bus, coach, vehicle, bier, hearse in Manx
  • cerbyd [ˈkɛrbɨ̞d / ˈkɛrbɪd] = car, carriage, chariot, wagon, coach; clumsy fellow, bungler in Welsh
  • cerpit = chariot, wagon in Old Cornish
  • karbed = vehicle in Breton

The French word charpente (framework, structure) comes from the same Proto-Celtic root, via the Gaulish carbantos and the Latin carpentum (carriage, chariot, wagon, cart) [source].

More details about these words on Celtiadur, a blog where I explore connections between Celtic languages in more depth. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Celtic Pathways – Horses

In this episode we’re looking at words for horses and related beasts.

Horse in a field / Capall i bpáirc

One Proto-Celtic word for horse was *kaballos, which possibly comes from an Asiatic source, and may ultimately come from the Proto-Indo-European *kebʰ- (worn-out horse, nag) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • *caballos = horse in Gaulish
  • capall [ˈkapˠəl̪ˠ] = horse, mare in Irish
  • capall [kahbəl̪ˠ] = mare, colt, horse, small horse in Scottish Gaulish
  • cabbyl = horse in Manx
  • ceffyl [ˈkɛfɨ̞l / ˈkɛfɪl] = horse, nag in Welsh
  • cevil, kevil = horse in Middle Cornish
  • kefel = horse in Breton

The Gaulish word *caballos was borrowed into Latin as caballus. In Classical Latin it was only used in poetry, while equus was the usual word for horse. In Vulgar Latin and Late Latin caballus was more commonly used, and mean a horse, nag, pack-horse, jade or hack.

Words for horse in various other languages come from the same Latin root, including cavallo in Italian, caballo in Spanish, cavalo in Portuguese and cheval in French [source]. The English words cavalry, chivalry and cavalier also come from the same Latin roots [source].

Another Proto-Celtic word for horse was *ekʷos, which comes from the Proto-Indo-European *h₁éḱwos (stallion, horse) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • epos = horse in Gaulish
  • each [ax] = horse (archaic) Irish
  • each [ɛx] = horse in Scottish Gaulish
  • agh [ax] = steed, riding horse in Manx
  • ebol [ˈɛbɔl / ˈeːbɔl] = colt, foal, sucker in Welsh
  • ebel = horse in Cornish
  • ebeul [ˈe.bøl] = foal in Breton

The English words equine, equestrian come from the same PIE root, via Latin [source], as do words beginning with hippo-, such as hippopotamus, hippodrome and hippomancy (divination by the interpretation of the appearance and behaviour of horses) the via Ancient Greek [source].

Another Proto-Celtic word for horse was *markos, which possibly comes from the Proto-Indo-European *márkos (horse) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • marc [mˠaɾˠk] = horse (literary, archaic) Irish
  • marc [marxk] = charger, warhorse (literary) in Scottish Gaulish
  • mark-sleih = horseman in Manx
  • march [marχ] = horse, stallion, war-horse, steed in Welsh
  • margh [ˈmaɾx] = horse in Cornish
  • marc’h [ˈmaʁχ] = horse, easel in Breton

The English words mare and marshal possibly come from the same roots [source].

More details about these words on Celtiadur, a blog where I explore connections between Celtic languages in more depth. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Celtic Pathways – Servants

In this episode we’re looking at words for servants and related people.

Tour Scotland March Horse Ploughing

The Proto-Celtic word *ambaxtos means servant and comes from *ambi- (around),‎ *ageti (to drive) and‎ *-os, from the Proto-Indo-European word *h₂m̥bʰi-h₂eǵ- (drive around) [source].

It became ambaxtos (vassal, high-ranking servant) in Gaulish, amaeth [ˈameɨ̯θ / ˈamei̯θ] (ploughman, husbandman, farmer, agriculture) in Welsh, ammeth (agriculture, farming) in Cornish, amhas (hireling, servant, mercenary, hooligan) in Irish, amhas [au.əs] (savage, wild person, madman) in Scottish Gaelic [source].

The English word amassador comes from the same root, via the Middle English ambassadore from the Anglo-Norman ambassadeur (ambassador), from the Old Italian ambassadore, from the Old Occitan ambaisador (ambassador), from ambaissa (service, mission, errand), from the Medieval Latin ambasiator (ambassador), from the Gothic 𐌰𐌽𐌳𐌱𐌰𐌷𐍄𐌹 (andbahti – service, function), from the Proto-Germanic *ambahtaz [ˈɑm.bɑx.tɑz] (servant), from the Gaulish *ambaxtos [source].

The word embassy comes from the same Gaulish word, via a similarly convoluted etymology [source], as does ambacht [ˈɑmbɑxt] (craft, craftmanship, trade) in Dutch, ambátt [ˈam.pauht] (female slave, bondwoman, handmaid) in Icelandic, and ammatti [ˈɑmːɑt̪ːi] (profession, vocation, occupation) in Finnish [source].

Another Proto-Celtic word for servant is *wastos which possibly comes from the Proto-Indo-European word *upo-sth₂-o-s (standing beneath) [source].

Related words in Celtic languages include: *wassos (young man, squire) in Gaulish, gwas [ɡwaːs] (servant, lad, boy) in Welsh, gwas (chap, fellow, guy, servant) in Cornish, gwas (man, husband, servant, employee) in Breton, and foss (attendant, man-servant, servant) in Old Irish [source].

The English word vassal comes from the same Celtic roots, via the Old French vassal, the Medieval Latin vassallus (manservant, domestic, retainer), from the Latin vassus (servant) from the Gaulish *wassos [source].

More details about these words on Celtiadur, a blog where I explore connections between Celtic languages in more depth.

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Celtic Pathways – Druids

In this episode we’re looking at words for druids and related people.

pondering

The Proto-Celtic *druwits means priest or druid, and comes from the Proto-Celtic *daru (oak) and *wid-/*windeti (to know, to see), from the Proto-Indo-European *dóru (tree) and *weyd (to see, know) [source].

Descendants in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • draoi [d̪ˠɾˠiː] = druid, wizard, magician, augur, diviner, trickster, and draoíocht (magic, druidism, witchcraft, enchantment) in Irish
  • draoidh [drɯj] = druid, sorcerer, magician, wizard, and draoidheachd (magic, sorcery, druidism) in Scottish Gaelic
  • druaight = charm, druid and druaightagh (smithcraft, smithery) in Manx
  • dryw [drɨu̯/drɪu̯] = druid, seer, and derwydd (prophet, wise man, druid) in Welsh
  • drewydh = druid in Cornish
  • drouiz = druid in Breton

The English word druid comes from the French druide (druid), from the Latin as druidae (the druids), from the Gaulish *druwits (druid) [source].

The Proto-Brythonic word *drüw (druid) was borrowed into Old English as drȳ (sorcerer, magician), which became drī(mann)/driʒ(mann) (sorcerer, magician) in Middle English [source]. A few modern druids use the word drymann, or something similiar, to refer to themselves.

Here’s a traditional Welsh tune called Y Derwydd (The Druid) played by me on the mandolin:

Here’s another version of it:

You can find the dots for this tune on The Session.

More details about these words on Celtiadur, a blog where I explore connections between Celtic languages in more depth.

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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Adventures in Etymology – Fool

As yesterday was April Fools’ Day, today we’re looking into the origins of the word fool.

walking fool

A fool [fuːl] is:

  • a person with poor judgment or little intelligence.
  • a professional jester, formerly kept by a person of royal or noble rank for amusement.
  • a person who has been tricked or deceived into appearing or acting silly or stupid.
  • a type of dessert made of puréed fruit and custard or cream.

It comes from the Middle English fole [foːl] (fool, idiot, moron), from the Old French fol [ˈfɔl] (mad, insane, foolish, silly), from the Latin follis [ˈfol.lis] (bellows, purse, sack, belly), from the PIE *bʰelǵʰ- (bag, pillow, paunch), from *bʰel- (to swell, blow, inflate, burst) [source].

Some words in Celtic languages comes from the same PIE root, via the Proto-Celtic *bolgos (sack, bag, stomach). These include bol [bɔl] (stomach) in Welsh, bolg [ˈbˠɔlˠəɡ] (belly, stomach, bulge, bag) in Irish, and bolgan [bɔl̪ˠɔgan] (light bulb, (plant) bulb) in Scottish Gaelic [source]. More details of these words is available on my Celtiadur blog.

English words from the same PIE root include bellows, belly, and bolster, via Old English and Proto-Germanic, billow via Old Norse and Proto-Germanic, foolish and folly via Old French and Latin [source], and bulge, budge and budget via Old French, Latin and Gaulish [source].

The first part of the word foolhardy (recklessly or thoughtlessly bold; foolishly rash or venturesome) comes from the same root as fool, while hardy comes from the Old French hardi (durable, hardy, tough), from the Frankish *hartjan, from the Proto-Germanic *harduz [ˈxɑr.ðuz] (hard, brave), from the PIE *kert-/*kret- (strong, powerful), from which part of the word democratic originates [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog, and I explore etymological connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, TuneIn, Podchaser, PlayerFM or podtail.

If you would like to support this podcast, you can make a donation via PayPal or Patreon, or contribute to Omniglot in other ways.

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