Celtic Pathways – Phoney Rings

In this episode we look into the possibly Celtic roots of the word phoney, and find out how it is connected to words for ring and related things.

Irish Claddagh Ring

The Proto-Celtic word *ānniyos means ring, and comes from Proto-Indo-European *h₁eh₂no- (ring). [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • fáinne [ˈfˠɑːɲə/ˈfˠæːn̠ʲə] = ring, circle, ringlet, curl or halo in Irish.
  • fàinne [faːn̪ʲə] = ring, ringlet or circle in Scottish Gaelic
  • fainney = circle, puck, wreathe or ring in Manx

The English word phon(e)y (fraudulent, fake) possibly comes from the old slang word fawney (a finger ring, a gilt brass ring used by swindlers), from the Irish fáinne (ring) [source].

The Hiberno-English word fainne [ˈfɑnjə/ˈfɔnjə], which refers to a pin badge worn to show fluency in, or a willingness to speak Irish, also comes from the same Irish root [source]. More information about the fainne badge: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fáinne

Other words from the same PIE root, via the Latin ānus (ring, anus) include annular (ring-shaped, banded/marked with circles) and anus in English, անուր (anur – collar, oppression, yoke) in Armenian, anneau (ring) in French, and anello (ring, link) in Italian [source].

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

Radio Omniglot podcasts are brought to you in association with Blubrry Podcast Hosting, a great place to host your podcasts. Get your first month free with the promo code omniglot.

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Celtic Pathways – Truant

In this episode we find out what links the word truant with words for beggar, wretch and related things in Celtic and other languages.

Begging

Truant [ˈtɹʊənt/ˈtɹuː.ənt] means:

  • Absent without permission, especially from school.
  • Wandering from business or duty; straying; loitering; idle, and shirking duty
  • One who is absent without permission, especially from school.

It comes from Middle English truant/truand (one who receives alms, a begger, vagabond, vagrant, scoundrel, rogue, shiftless or good-for-nothing fellow) from Old French truand (vagabond, beggar, rogue), either from Gaulish *trugan (wretch), or from Breton truant (beggar), possibly from Proto-Indo-European *terh₁- (to rub, turn, drill, pierce) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • trua [t̪ˠɾˠuə] = pity, sympathy, compassion, miserable person or wretch in Irish.
  • truaghan [truəɣan] = poor soul, poor thing or wretch in Scottish Gaelic
  • truanagh = miserable, mournful or sorrowful person in Manx
  • truan = wretch, miserable person; wretched, miserable, pathetic, poor or weak in Welsh
  • truan = sad, miserable, unfortunate or wretched in Cornish
  • truant = beggar in Breton

Other words from the same Proto-Celtic root include truand [tʁy.ɑ̃] (crook, gangster, beggar) in French [source], truhan [tɾuˈan] (scoundrel, scammer, swindler, rogue, crook, [historically] jester, buffoon) in Spanish, truão (jester) in Portuguese, and trogo (jester) in Galician [source].

Incidentally, words for truant in Celtic languages include: fánach in Irish, air falach in Scottish Gaelic, truggan in Manx, and triwant in Welsh.

What do you call the action of playing truant?

For me its skiving (off) and when you do it, you’re a skiver.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

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

Radio Omniglot podcasts are brought to you in association with Blubrry Podcast Hosting, a great place to host your podcasts. Get your first month free with the promo code omniglot.

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Celtic Pathways – Surface and Skin

In this episode we’re looking into words for surface, skin and related things in Celtic languages.

Hippo very close

The Proto-Celtic *tondā means surface or skin and comes from the Proto-Indo-European *tend- (to cut off) [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic language include:

  • tonn [t̪ˠɑun̪ˠ] = surface or skin in Irish.
  • tonn [tɔun̪ˠ] = skin or hide in Scottish Gaelic
  • ton [tɔn] = rind, crust, peel, turf, unploughed land or lawn in Welsh
  • ton = grass in Cornish
  • ton [tɔn] = rind or surface in Breton

There doesn’t appear to be a cognate in Manx.

The English word tonne/ton comes from the same Proto-Celtic root, via French, Latin and Gaulish [source]. Other words from the same Proto-Celtic root include tonne (tonne/ton) in French, tona (tun – a type of cask, ton/tonne) and tonya (a type of sweet bun) in Catalan, tona (surface, skin, bark) and tonel (barrel, tun) in Galician, and tonel (barrel) in Spanish [source].

Incidentally, the English word tun (a large cask, fermenting vat) probably comes from the same roots, via Middle English, Old English, Proto-Germanic, Latin and Gaulish, as does the German word Tonne (barrel, vat, tun, drum), the Dutch word ton (barrel, ton, large amount), and the Irish word tunna (cask), which was borrowed from Latin [source].
(A bit of bonus content that’s not included in the recording.)

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

Adventures in Etymology – Herbs

In this Adventure we’re digging up the origins of the word herb.

Herbs

A herb [hɜːb/(h)ɝb] is:

  • Any green, leafy plant, or parts thereof, used to flavour or season food.
  • A plant whose roots, leaves or seeds, etc. are used in medicine.

It comes from Middle English herbe [ˈhɛ(ː)rb(ə)] (a herbaceous plant, herbage, woody plant, tree), from Old French erbe [ˈɛr.bə] (grass, herb), from Latin herba [ˈher.ba] (grass, herbage, herb, weeds, plant), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰreh₁- (to grow, become green) [source].

The initial h sound in herb disappeared at some point, and was restored during the 15th century based on the Latin spelling. However, it wasn’t pronounced by many people until the 19th century, and still isn’t by many speakers, especially in North America.

Words from the same roots include grow, green, graze, gray/grey in English, herbe (grass) in French, erba (grass, herb) in Italian, and hierba (herb, grass) in Spanish [source].

Incidentally, this is the 100th episode of this series, which started in March 2021. You can find a list of all the words covered on Radio Omniglot. If you would like me to look into any words that I haven’t already covered, in English or other languages, you can leave your suggestions there as well.

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 – Heights

In this episode we’re looking up words for high and related things.

View from Snowdon

The Proto-Celtic word *ardwos means high, and comes from the Proto-Indo-European *h₃r̥dʰwós., from *h₃erdʰ- (to increase, grow; upright, high) [Source].

Related words in the modern Celtic language include:

  • ard [ɑːɾˠd̪ˠ/æːɾˠd̪ˠ] = height, hillock, top, high part; high, tall, loud, ambitious, chief, excellent, noble or advanced in Irish.
  • àrd [aːr̪ˠd] = high, lofty, tall; great; loud; chief, eminent, superior or supreme in Scottish Gaelic
  • ard = high, towering, tall, big, loud, height, high place, fell, incline, district, region, direction, compass point or pole in Manx
  • ardd [arð] = hill, highland, top, high or upland in Welsh
  • ardh = height or high place in Cornish
  • arz = high or elevated in Breton

The Ardennes, a region of forests and hills in mainly in Belgium, Luxembourg, and also in France and Germany, was known as Arduenna Silva in Latin. The first part of the Latin name probably comes from the Gaulish *arduenna (high), or from the Latin arduus (lofty, high, steep, tall), which comes from the same PIE root [source].

Other words from the same PIE roots include arbor, arduous, orthodox and orthography in English, arbre (tree) in French, árbol (tree, mast) in Spanish, and рост [rost] (growth, increase, rise, height, stature) in Russian [source].

You can be find more details of words for High, Elevated, Noble and related things in Celtic languages 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.

Adventures in Etymology – Wicker

In this Adventure we’re unravelling the origins of the word wicker.

Four little baskets sitting on a wall
Wicker [ˈwɪkə(ɹ)/ˈwɪkɚ] is:

  • A flexible branch or twig of a plant such as willow, used in weaving baskets and furniture.

It comes from Middle English wiker (wickerwork), possibly from Old Norse veikr (pliant, weak), from Proto-Germanic *waikwaz [ˈwɑi̯.kʷɑz] (weak, soft, pliable), from *wīkwaną [ˈwiː.kʷɑ.nɑ̃] (to yield, fold, retreat) from Proto-Indo-European *weyk- (to bend, curve, divide) [source].

Words from the same PIE roots include week, weak, province and cervix in English; Wechsel (change, bill of exchange) in German; växel (change, bill of exchange, switch, gear) in Swedish; fois (time) in French; and vez (time, instance, place, turn) in Spanish [source].

Incidentally, the Middle English word woke [wɔːk/wɑːk], which meant weak, feeble, helpless, unimportant or bendable, comes from the same roots, as did the word wocnesse [ˈwɔːknɛs] (vulnerability to sin or iniquity, lack of fighting skill) [source].

They are not related to the modern usage of woke, which is an abbreviation woken (up), and originated in African-American vernacular as meaning awake, conscious, alert, well-informed, especially in racial and other social justice issues. It is often used in a dergatory way about anyone who holds views that are disliked by the person using it [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 – Hurdles

In this episode we’re looking into words for hurdle and related things.

Dublin at Christmas

The Proto-Celtic word *klētā means palisade or hurdle, and comes from the Proto-Indo-European *ḱley- (to lean) [Source].

Related words in the modern Celtic language include:

  • cliath [klʲiə] = wattled, latticed, frame, hurdle, phalanx, staff or a (musical) stave in Irish. Also found in Baile Átha Cliath, the Irish name for Dublin.
  • cliath [kliə] = grid, lattice, grate, grating, shoal (of fish), hurdle, harrow, stockade, or (musical) stave in Scottish Gaelic
  • cleeah = lattice, wicker, fret, darn, stave, staff, grid, stretcher, grate, grating, criss-cross or school of fish in Manx
  • clwyd [kluːɨ̯d] = movable hurdle, wattle, lattice, rack, crate, gate, door; protection, cover or defence in Welsh
  • kloos = fence or rack in Cornish
  • kloued = fence, barrier, gate, railings, grating or grid in Breton

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root, via Gaulish and Latin, include claie (wicker rack, trellis, hurdle) in French and cheda (wattled laterals at the base of a traditional cart) in Galician [source].

Words from the same PIE root include client, climate, clinic, incline and lean in English, leunen (to lean) in Dutch, lehnen (to lean) in German, chinàre (to bend) in Italian, and clemente (lenient) in Spanish [source], clé (left) and cleith (pole, cudgel, wattle) in Irish, cledd (left hand/side) in Welsh and related words in Celtic languages [more details].

You can be find more details of words for Hurdle Fences in Celtic languages 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.

Adventure in Etymology – Peace

In this Adventure we’re giving peace a chance.

dove-zeitgeist.associates

Peace [piːs] is:

  • A state of tranquility, quiet, and harmony; absence of violence.
  • A state free of oppressive and unpleasant thoughts and emotions
  • A state free of war

It comes from Middle English pees [pɛ(ː)s] (peace), from Anglo-Norman peis (peace), from Latin pāx (peace, rest quiet, ease, grace), from Proto-Indo-European *péh₂ḱ-s (peace) from *peh₂ḱ (to join, attach; agreement, setttlement) [source].

Words from the same PIE roots include pay, pact, fair (light in colour, just, equitable), and possibly fang in English; paix (peace), payer (to pay) and pacte (pact, deal) in French; paz (peace) and pagar (to pay) in Spanish, and pax (dibs – to claim a stake to something) in Swedish [source].

Other words from the same roots include the Irish póg, the Scottish Gaelic pòg and the Manx paag, all of which mean kiss and come, via Old Irish and Brythonic, from the Latin (dare) pācem (to give pace), which was originally a kiss used as a sign of peace during a mass [source].

In Old English there were different words for peace: sibb (peace, relationship), as in sibling, and friþ [friθ] (peace, refuge, sancutary), which is cognate with free in English, frid (peace, serenity) in Swedish, and vrede (peace, quiet, tranquility) in Dutch [source].

Incidentally, the band The Pogues were originally called Pogue Mahone, which is an anglicized version of the Irish expression póg mo thóin (kiss my arse) [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 – Bulls

In this episode we’re looking into bulls and related beasts.

What a load of bull

The Proto-Celtic word *tarwos means bull, and comes from the Proto-Indo-European *táwros (wild bull, aurochs), which possibly comes from or was borrowed into Proto-Semtic as *ṯawr- (bull, ox), from which we get ثَوْر (ṯawr – bull, steer, ox, Taurus) in Arabic [Source].

Related words in Celtic language include:

  • tarbh [ˈt̪ˠaɾˠuː] = bull or Taurus in Irish
  • tarbh [tarav] = bull in Scottish Gaelic
  • tarroo = bull in Manx
  • tarw [ˈtaru] = bull, uncastrated male ox, papal bull or Taurus in Welsh
  • tarow = bull in Cornish
  • tarv = bull in Breton

The Old Irish Irish word for bull, tarb [tarv], was borrowed into Old Norse as tarfr, which became tarvur (bull, Taurus, womanizer) in Faroese, and tarfur (bull) in Icelandic [Source].

Words from the same PIE root include Taurus and steer in English, taureau (bull, Taurus) in French, toro (bull) in Spanish, and touro (bull) in Portuguese [Source].

You can be find more details of words for bulls and other cattle 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.

Adventures in Etymology – Bandana

In this Adventure we’re unwrapping the origins of the word bandana.

Bad to the Bone

A bandana [bænˈdæn.ə] is:

  • A large kerchief, usually colourful and used either as headgear or as a handkerchief, neckerchief, bikini, or sweatband.
  • A style of calico printing.

It comes from Hindi बन्धन (bandhan – the act of binding, a bond), from Sanskrit बध्नाति (badhnāti – to bind, tether), from Proto-Indo-Iranian *bʰadʰnáHti, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰn̥dʰ-néh₂-ti (to bind, tie), from bʰendʰ- (to bind, bond) [source].

Words from the same PIE roots include band, bandage, bend, bind, bond, bonnet, bundle, funicular, tulip and turban in English, and Bund (alliance, federation, league) in German [source].

Words from the same roots, via Proto-Celtic *bennā, include ben (cart, wagon) in Welsh, buinne (circlet, bracelet, wickerwork) in Irish, benna (a kind of carriage) in Latin, benne (bin, skip, dump truck, barrow, cable car) in French, bin in English, and benna (bucket, grab) in Italian [source].

Incidentally, before I discovered the origins of the word bandana, I would have guessed that it came from Spanish, and was possibly borrowed from an indigenous language of the Americas, like barbecue, canoe, hammock, tuna and papaya, all of which come from Taíno, an Arawakan language that was spoken across the Caribbean [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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