Celtic Pathways – Bills and Gouges

In this episode we find connections between Celtic bills and beaks, and chisels and gouges in other languages.

Chisels

A gouge [ɡaʊdʒ] is a chisel with a curved blade for cutting or scooping channels, grooves, or holes in wood, stone, etc.

The word comes from Middle English gouge (gouge), from Old French gouge (gouge), from Late Latin goia / gu(l)bia (chisel, piercer), from Gaulish *gulbiā (beak, bill), from Proto-Celtic *gulbā / *gulbīnos (beak, bill) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • gulba = beak, bill, tip, point, projection in Irish
  • gulb [gul̪ˠub] = beak, nose in Scottish Gaelic
  • gylf = sharp point, knife, bird’s beak or snout in Welsh
  • gelvin = beak, bill in Cornish
  • gwlib = curlew, whimbrel (?) in Breton

Other words from the same Proto-Celtic roots, via Gaulish and Latin, include gulbia (gouge) in Galician, gubia (gouge) in Spanish, gorbia (ferrule*) in Italian [source].

*A ferrule is band or cap (usually metal) placed around a shaft to reinforce it or to prevent splitting [source].

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Incidentally, the word chisel comes from Old Northern French c(h)isel (cutting tool, chisel), from cisoir (cutting tool), from Late Latin cīsōrium (cutting instrument), from Latin caedō (to cut, hew, fell), from Proto-Italic *kaidō, from PIE *kh₂eyd- (to cut, hew) [source].

Words from the same roots include cement, concise, decide, excise, hit, incision, precise and scissors in English; and hitta (to find, locate) in Swedish [source].

More about words for Beaks and Snouts and related things in Celtic languages.

You can find more connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur blog. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

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Celtic Pathways – Brio

In this episode we discover the Celtic power behind some vigorous Romance and English words.

Brio

The English word brio [ˈbɹiːoʊ] means vigour or vivacity. When used in musical directions, as con brio, it means with spirit, with vigour, vivciously [source].

It comes from Italian brio (vivacity, liveliness), from Spanish brío (vigour, mettle, zest, zeal), from Old Occitan briu (wild), from Gaulish *brīgos (strength), from Proto-Celtic *brīgos (power, worth), possibly from PIE *bʰerǵʰ- (to rise; high) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • brí [brʲiː] = strength, vigour; force, significance, influence or merit in Irish
  • brìgh [brʲiː] = essence, gist, matter, pith, purport or substance in Scottish Gaelic
  • bree = power, energy, stamina or vigour in Manx
  • bri [briː] = honour, dignity, reputation, fame or prestige in Welsh
  • bri = distinction, importance, relevance or reputation in Cornish
  • bri [briː] = dignity or honour in Breton

Other words from the same Proto-Celtic roots include briu (energy, push, courage) in Catalan, brio (brilliance, panache) in French, and brio in Italian, brío in Spanish (as mentioned above).

Words from the same PIE roots possibly include barrow, burrow, bury, effort, force and fort in English, and brenin (king), bwrw (to hit, strike, cast) in Welsh [Source].

Incidentally, the musical direction forte (f), which indicates that a passage in music is to be played loudly or strongly, also comes from the same PIE roots, via Italian and Latin, as does the English word forte (strength, talent), though via Middle French [Source].

More about words for Strength and related things in Celtic languages.

You can find more connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur blog. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

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Celtic Pathways – Brooms

In this episode we’re sweeping French floors with Celtic shrubs.

brooms

The Proto-Celtic word *banatlo- means broom, as in the shrub Cytisus scoparius (a.k.a. common broom / Scotch broom) or similar plants. It comes from Proto-Indo-European *bʰenH-tlom (way, path) in the sense of “cleared path (in a wood)” [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • bealaidh [bɛl̪ˠɪ] = broom in Scottish Gaelic
  • banadl [ˈbanadl] = broom in Welsh
  • banadhel = broom in Cornish
  • balan [ˈbɑːlãn] = broom in Breton

They all mean broom, as in the shrub, although the exact species of broom plant they refer to may vary from language to language.

According to An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language by Alexander MacBain (1982), there is a cognate in Irish: beally/i, however it doesn’t appear in any of the Irish dictionaries I’ve checked.

The French word balai (broom, broomstick, brush) ultimately comes from the same Proto-Celtic root, via Old French balain (bundle of broom), Middle Breton balain, balazn, Old Breton balan (broom) and Gaulish *balano- (broom, broom plant), as does bálago (straw, Spanish broom) in Spanish and balea (broom) in Galician, possibly via Celtiberian *bálago-, *bálaco- [source].

Words same PIE roots possibly include bana (course, path, trajectory) in Swedish, baan (road, path, track, job, orbit) in Dutch, and Bahn (route, trail, railway) in German [source].

More about words for Brushes and Broom and related things in Celtic languages.

Incidentally, the tune at the beginning of this episode is one of my own compositions called Apple Blossom / Blodau Afal. Here’s a longer recording of it:

You can find more connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur blog. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

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Adventures in Etymology – Stable Stables

In this Adventure in Etymology we find out whether the words stable (a building for horses) and stable (steady, permanent) are related.

Stables

A stable is:

  • a building for the lodging and feeding of horses, cattle, etc.
  • a collection of animals housed in such a building. [other meanings are available]

It comes from Middle Englsh stable (a building for horses), from Anglo-Norman stable (a place for keeping animals), from Latin stablum (dwelling, stable, hut, tavern), from stō (to stand, stay, remain) and‎ -bulum (instrumental suffix) [source].

In Old English, a stable was a horsern [ˈhorˠzˌerˠn] (“horse place”) [source] or a steall [stæ͜ɑll], from which we get the word stall (a compartment for a single animal in a stable or cattle shed) [source].

As an adjective stable means:

  • Relatively unchanging, steady, permanent; firmly fixed or established; consistent; not easily moved, altered, or destroyed

It comes from Middle English stable, from Anglo-Norman stable / stabel (stable, firm), from Latin stabilis (firm, steadfast), from stō (to stand, stay, remain) and -abilis (able). It displaced the Old English word for stable, staþolfæst [ˈstɑ.ðolˌfæst] [source].

So it seems that these two words do come from the same roots. Other words from the same roots include stage, stand, state and stamina in English, stabbio (pen, fold, pigsty) in Italian, estar (to be) in Spanish, and ystafell (room, building, house) in Welsh [source].

I forget mention on the podcast, but the reason I chose the word stable for this adventure is because it’s related to the Scottish Gaelic sabhal [sa.əl̪ˠ] (barn), which comes from Middle Irish saball, from Latin stabulum [source], and I’ve just spent a week doing a course in Scottish Gaelic songs at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (“Ostag’s Big Barn”), the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye [more details].

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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 blog.

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Celtic Pathways – Needles and Scythes

In this episode we discover Romance scythes in a stack of Celtic pins and needles.

Pins and Needles

The Proto-Celtic word *delgos means pin or needle. It comes from Proto-Indo-European *dʰelg- (sting) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • dealg [ˈdʲal̪ˠəɡ] = thorn, prickle, spine, spike, pin, peg or brooch in Irish
  • dealg [dʲal̪ˠag] = pin, skewer or knitting needle in Scottish Gaelic
  • jialg = needle, prick, quill, thorn or pin in Manx
  • dala [ˈdala] = sting or bite in Welsh

Words from the same Proto-Celtic roots, via Gaulish *dalgis (scythe) and Latin *daculum (scythe) , possibly include dall (mowing, billhook) in Catalan, dalle (scythe) in Spanish, and dalha (scythe) in Occitan (Languedoc) [source].

The English word dagger, and related words in other languages, such as daga (dagger) in Spanish, and Degen (rapier, épée) in German, might come from the same Celtic roots [source].

Words from the same PIE root include dálkur (spine of a fish, knife, dagger, newspaper column) in Icelandic, dilgus (prickly) in Lithuanian, falce (scythe, sickle) in Italian, and falcate (shaped like a sickle) and falcifer (sickle-bearing, holding a scythe) in English [source].

More about words for Pins and Needles in Celtic languages.

You can find more connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur blog. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

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Celtic Pathways – Swampy Cauldrons

In this episode we discover Celtic roots of the name Paris.

Pont des Arts, île de la Cité

Paris is the capital of France and the centre of the Île-de-France or Paris Region. From about 250 BC, the area, particularly the Île de la Cité (see above), an island on the River Seine, was home to the Parisioi, part of the Gaulish Senones tribe.

After the Romans conquered the area in 52 BC, they set up a town on the Left Bank of the Seine which they called Lutetia Parisiorum (“Lutetia of the Parīsiī”). This later became Parisius, and eventually Paris [source].

The Gaulish name of the tribe, Parisioi, which was Latinized as Parīsiī, possibly comes from the Gaulish word *parios (cauldron), from Proto-Celtic *kʷaryos (cauldron) from the PIE *kʷer- (to do, make, build) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • coire [ˈkɛɾʲə] = large pot, cauldron, boiler in Irish
  • coire [kɔrʲə] = kettle, corrie, cauldron in Scottish Gaelic
  • coirrey = cauldron, boiler, maelstrom in Manx
  • pair [ˈpai̯r] = cauldron, large pot, boiler in Welsh
  • per [ˈpeːr] = cauldron in Breton

Words from the same Proto-Celtic roots, via Gaulish and Latin, include paiolo (copper cooking pot, cauldron) in Italian, perol (cauldron) in Catalan, perol (cauldron) in Spanish, and pairòl [pai̯ˈɾɔl] (kettle) in Occitan (Languedocien) [source].

Words from the same PIE root include Britain, Brittany and karma in English, cruth [kɾˠʊ(h)] (shape, appearance, state) in Irish, pryd [prɨːd] (sight, appearance, aspect) in Welsh, and काम [kɑːm] (work, task, job, function) in Hindi [source].

Britain and Brittany come from Middle English Britayne/Breteyn (Britain, Brittany), from Anglo-Norman Bretai(g)ne (Britain, Brittany), from Latin Brit(t)ānnia ([Great] Britain, [Roman province of] Britannia), from Βρεττανία (Brettaníā – Brittania, Great Britain), ultimately from Proto-Brythonic *Pritanī (Briton(s)), from Proto-Celtic *Kʷritanī/*Kʷritenī, from the PIE *kʷer- (to do, make, build) [source].

So the name Paris has Celtic roots. How about Lutetia? That comes from Gaulish *lutos (swamp), from Proto-Celtic *lutā (dirt, mud), from PIE *lew- (dirt, mud), which is also the root of lutulent (pertaining to mud, muddy) in English, and lodo (mud, muck, mire) in Spanish [source].

More about words for Cauldrons and Kettles and related things in Celtic languages.

You can find more connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur blog. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

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Adventures in Etymology – Storm

In this Adventure in Etymology we’re stirring up the origins of the word storm, as it’s been quite stormful (abounding in storms, stormy) here in the UK recently.

lightning-storm

A storm [stɔːm/stɔɹm] is:

  • an extreme weather condition with very strong wind, heavy rain, and often thunder and lightning
  • A heavy expulsion or fall of things
  • A violent agitation of human society [source]

It comes from Middle English storm (storm, dispute, brawl, fight), from Old English storm (storm), from Proto-West-Germanic *sturm (storm), from Proto-Germanic *sturmaz (storm), from PIE *(s)twerH- (to stir up, agitate, urge on, propel) [source]

Words from the same roots include steer, stir, turbine, turbulence and turbo in English, turba (mob) in Spanish, torma (crowd, throng) in Italian, and twrf (disturbance, tumult) in Welsh [source].

Incidentally, stormful means abounding with storms or stormy, and when the weather is stormful, you might be bestormed (overtaken with a storm, assailed with storms), stormbound (caught in a storm) or stormtossed (tossed by the wind in a storm), so make sure everything is stormworthy (fit for weathering a storm) and stormproof (capable of resisting a storm).

Here’s a stormy little song called Thunder Vengeance by Lovebites, one of my favourite Japanese bands:

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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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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 blog.

Celtic Pathways – Barnacle Geese

In this episode we discover the Celtic roots of words like barnacle.

Barnacles

The Proto-Celtic word *barinākos means barnacle or limpet It comes from the Proto-Celtic *barinā (rocky ground), and *-ākos (involved with, belonging to) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • bairneach [ˈbˠɑːɾˠn̠ʲəx] = limpet in Irish
  • bàirneach [baːr̪ˠn̪ʲəx] = barnacle or limpet in Scottish Gaelic
  • ba(a)rnagh = barnacle in Manx
  • brennigen = limpet in Welsh
  • brenigen = limpet in Cornish
  • brennigenn = barnacle or limpet in Breton

Words from the same Proto-Celtic roots include bernache (barnacle) in French, barnacle in English, and barnacla (brent/brant goose) in Spanish [source].

The French word bernache was borrowed from Medieval Latin barnēca (limpet), from Gaulish *barinākā. The English word barnacle arrived via Middle English barnakille, and Old Northern French bernaque (barnacle), and the Spanish word barnacla was borrowed from English.

More about words for Barnacles & Limpets and related things in Celtic languages.

You can find more connections between Celtic languages on the Celtiadur blog. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

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Adventures in Etymology – Lagniappe

In this adventure, we’re looking into the origins of the word lagniappe.

Lagniappe image

A lagniappe [lænˈjæp] is:

  • An extra or unexpected gift or benefit, such as that given to customers when they purchase something (mainly used in Louisiana & Mississippi, USA, and in Trinidad and Tobago)

By the way, lagniappe is also written lagnappe, lanyap or lanyappe.

It comes from Cajun French lagniappe [la.ɲap] (tip, windfall, unexpected gift), from Spanish la ñapa (something extra given as a bonus; a gratuity), a variant of yapa, from Quechua yapay (addition, sum, to increase) [source]

Apparently in Andean markets it’s customary to ask for a yapa (a little extra) when buying things, and the sellers usually throw in something extra for their customers [source].

In Ireland an equivalent of a lagniappe is a a luck penny or tilly (an extra product given to a customer at no additional charge). The latter comes from the Irish word tuilleadh [ˈt̪ˠɪlʲə] (more) [source].

Do you know words with similar meanings in other languages?

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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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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 blog.

Celtic Pathways – Holding On

In this episode we’re getting to grips with words for holding and and related things.

Paimpol - Breton Dance Display

A Proto-Celtic word for to grab, seize, take or hold is *gabyeti, which comes from the Proto-Indo-European *gʰeh₁bʰ- (to grab, take) [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • gabh [ɡavʲ/ɡo(ː)] = to take, arrest, go, come in Irish
  • gabh [gav] = take, go, recite, break (in) in Scottish Gaelic
  • gow = to take in Manx
  • gafael [ˈɡavaɨ̯l/ˈɡaːvai̯l] = to hold, grasp, grip in Welsh
  • gavel = capacity, grasp in Cornish

There doesn’t appear to be a related word in Breton.

The Spanish word gavilla (sheaf, gang, band) comes from the same Proto-Celtic root, via the Late Latin gabella and the Gaulish *gabali (taking, seizure) [source].

The word gwall (large amount), and which is apparently used in the English of Cork in Ireland comes from same Celtic roots via the Irish word gabháil (catch, seizure, assumption) [source].

Words from the same PIE roots include able, debt, debit, doubt and habit in English, avere (to have) in Italian, avoir (to have) in French, and haber (to hold, possess) in Spanish [source].

You can find more details of words for Taking Hold and related things on the Celtiadur blog. I also write about words, etymology and other language-related topics on the Omniglot Blog.

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