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 – Clan

In this episode we’re looking a the word clan and related things in Celtic languages.

Dufftown Highland Games

The word clan in English means a group of people descended from a common ancestor, a traditional social group of families in the Scottish Highlands having a common hereditary chieftain, or any group defined by family ties with some sort of political unity [source].

It was borrowed from clann in Irish or Scottish Gaelic, which come from the Old Irish cland (children, family, offspring, plant), from the Old Welsh plant (children, young people, offspring), from the Latin planta (vegetable, sprout, shoot, twig, shrub), possibly from the Proto-Italic *plāntā, from the Proto-Indo-European *pleh₂- (flat) or from the Proto-Italic *plānktā, from the Proto-Indo-European *pleh₂k-/*pleh₂g- (to strike, fast) [source].

Related words in the Celtic languages include:

  • clann [kl̪ˠɑun̪ˠ/kl̪ˠɑːn̪ˠ/kl̪ˠan̪ˠ] = children, offspring, race, descendents, clan, followers, plant, lock (of hair),
    and planda [pl̪ˠaun̪ˠd̪ˠə] = plant, scion in Irish
  • clann [kl̪ˠaun̪ˠ] = children, offspring, progeny, clan, lock of hair, curl
    and plannt [pl̪ˠãũn̪ˠd] = plant in Scottish Gaelic
  • cloan [klɔːn] = children, descendent, family circle,
    and plant = plant in Manx
  • plant [plant] = children, young people, offspring, progeny, descendents, followers, disciples, servants in Welsh
  • plans = plant in Cornish
  • plantenn = plant in Breton

The English word plant comes from the same roots, via Middle English, Old English and Latin [source], as does the word plantain, via Middle English, Anglo-Norman, Old French and Latin [source].

The word clan was borrowed from English into various other languages, including Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish. It even ended up in Turkish, via French. So the Turkish word klan arrived via French, English, Irish/Scottish Gaelic, Old Irish, Old Welsh, Latin, Proto-Italic and Proto-Indo-European – quite a journey! [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 – 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 – Beer

In this episode we are investigating words for beer and related things.

P1020436

In Proto-Celtic beer was *kormi or *kurman, which comes from the Proto-Indo-European *kremH- (to burn), or from *ḱr̥h₃-m- (porridge, soup), or from *ḱh₁erh₂- (to mix) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • coirm [kɞɾʲəmʲ] = ale, drinking-party, feast, banquet in Irish
  • cuirm [kurʲum] = feast, banquet, entertainment; ale, beer (archaic) in Scottish Gaulish
  • cuirrey = banquet, feast in Manx
  • cwrw [ˈkʊru / ˈkuːru] = beer, ale in Welsh
  • korev, kor = ale, beer in Cornish
  • korev = ale, beer in Breton

The Latin word cervēsa (beer) comes from the same Proto-Celtic roots. From this we get the Spanish word cerveza (beer), the Portuguese word cerveja (beer), the French word cervoise (ale, beer – archaic), and the Italian word cervogia (beer – archaic) [source].

Other words for beer in Celtic languages include:

  • beoir [bʲoːɾʲ] = beer in Irish
  • beòir [bjɔːrʲ] = beer in Scottish Gaulish
  • beer = beer in Manx
  • bir = beer, ale in Welsh
  • bier = ale, beer in Breton

The words in the Goidelic languages come from the Old Norse bjórr (beer), from the Proto-Germanic *beuzą [ˈbeu̯.zɑ̃] (beer), from the Proto-Indo-Eurpean *bʰews- (dross, sediment) [source]. The Welsh word were borrowed from English, and the Breton word was borrowed from French.

Sláinte! Slàinte! Slaynt! Iechyd da! Yeghes da! Yec’hed mat! (Good health! / Cheers!)

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 – Campus

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

Today we are exploring origins of the word campus.

A campus [ˈkæmpəs / ˈkæmpʊs] is:

  • The grounds or property of a school, college, university, business, church, or hospital, often understood to include buildings and other structures.

It comes from the Latin campus (field. plain), from the Proto-Italic *kampos, from the Proto-Indo-European *kh₂ém-po-s, from *kh₂emp- (to bend, curve, smooth) [source].

Words from the same roots include camp, campaign and champagne in English, campo (field) in Italian, campo (country(side), field) in Portuguese, and champ (field) in French [source].

The southern Italian region of Campania, the name of which comes from the Latin campus, was the source of bronze used to make bells, which were known as campāna in Latin Latin. This comes from Campāna (of Campania) [source].

Words from the same Latin roots include: campanile (bell tower, belfry) and campanology (the study of bells) in English, campana (bell) in Italian, campana (bell, bell-shaped object, hood) in Spanish, and cumpănă (balance, scales, equilibirum) in Romanian [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 – 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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Adventures in Etymology – Veranda

Today we’re looking at the various origins of the word veranda.

Veranda

A veranda [vəˈɹæn.də] is:

  • A porch or balcony, usually roofed and often partly enclosed, extending along the outside of a building.

It comes from Hindi बरामदा [bə.ɾɑːm.d̪ɑː] (barāmdā – porch, veranda, gallery, balcony), from Portuguese varanda [vɐˈɾɐ̃.dɐ] (balcony, veranda, terrace, porch), possibly from Latin vāra (fork, tripod, easel), from vārus (bent outwards, bandy) from PIE *h₁weh₂- (separate) [source].

Alternatively veranda might be related to the Sanskrit word वरण्ड (varaṇḍa – barrier, partition) [source], and/or the Spanish word baranda (railing, banister, handrail, balustrade) [source].

English words that probably come from the same Latin root (vārus), include various, vary and variety [source].

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate 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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Adventures in Etymology 20 – Distract

Today we are looking at the word distract [dɪsˈtɹækt], that’s if I don’t get distracted, as often happens.

Distracted

Definition:

  • to draw away or divert, as the mind or attention
  • to disturb or trouble greatly in mind, beset
  • to provide a pleasant diversion for; amuse; entertain
  • to separate or divide by dissension or strife

[source]

It comes from the Latin word distractus (divided, scattered; sold), from the distrahō (I draw, pull, drag asunder), from dis- (asunder, apart, in two), and *trahō (I drag, pull), from the PIE *dʰregʰ- (to pull, draw, drag) [source].

From the same Latin root come such words as traire (to milk) in French, traer (to bring, fetch, attract, pull) in Spanish, trazer [tɾɐ.ˈzeɾ/tɾa.ˈze(ʁ)] (to bring) in Portuguese, and tractor, tract and traction in English [source].

From the same PIE root, via Proto-Germanic draganą [ˈdrɑ.ɣɑ.nɑ̃] (to draw, pull, carry) and the Old English dragan [ˈdrɑ.ɣɑn] (to draw, drag), we get the English words draw drag [source].

As I mentioned in this episode, I often get distracted. I even wrote a song about this, called Distraction – I was planning to write one about owls, but got distracted and wrote this one instead. Later I did write an owl-related song called The Little Green Owl.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly – an easy-to-use animated video creator [affiliate link].

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