Celtic Pathways – Heather

In this episode we look into the Celtic roots of words for heather in some Romance languages.

Heather

The Proto-Celtic word *wroikos means heather. Its origins are uncertain, and it possibly comes from a non-Indo-European substrate source [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • fraoch [fˠɾˠeːx] = heather, heath, moor in Irish
  • fraoch [frɯːx] = heather in Scottish Gaelic
  • freoagh = heather, heath in Manx
  • grug [ɡrɨːɡ / ɡriːɡ] = heather, heath in Welsh
  • grug [ɡryːɡ / ɡriːɡ] = heather, heath in Cornish
  • brug [bryːk] = heather in Breton

Words from the same Proto-Celtic roots, via Gaulish and Latin, include brezo (heath) in Spanish, breixo (heather) in Galician, brugo (heather) and brughiera (heath, moor) in Italian, and bruyère (heath, heather, brier) in French [source].

Related words in other languages possibly include vřes (heather) in Czech, wrzos (heather) in Polish, viržis (heather) in Lithuanian, and ericaceous (Of or pertaining to the heath family; Acid-loving, acidic) in English [source].

Incidentally, the word heather comes from Old English *hǣddre (heather), from hǣþ (wasteland, wilderness, heath), from Proto-Germanic *haiþī [ˈxɑi̯.θiː] (heath, wasteland), possibly from PIE *kóy-t-os (forest, wasteland, pasture) [source].

Other words from the same roots include heath in English, heide (heath, heathland, heather) in Dutch, Heide (heath, heathland, nation, country) in German [source], and also coed (forest, wood, trees) in Welsh, koos (forest) in Cornish, and koad (wood, forest) in Breton [source].

More about words for Heather, and Trees, Wood(s) & Forests, 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.

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.

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with JapanesePod101.com

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.

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.

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with JapanesePod101.com

Celtic Pathways – Fortified Dunes

In this episode we uncover Celtic fortresses among the sand dunes.

Killinallan

A dune is a ridge or hill of sand piled up by the wind. It comes from Proto-West Germanic *dūn(ā) (sand dune, hill), via French or Dutch, from Proto-Germanic *dūnaz (accumulation, pile, heap, mound), or from Gaulish dunum (hill), from Proto-Celtic *dūnom (stronghold, rampart), all of which come from Proto-Indo-European *dʰuHnom (enclosure) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • dún [d̪ˠuːnˠ] (fort(ress), place of refuge, residence, house) in Irish
  • dùn [duːn] (fortress, heap) in Scottish Gaelic
  • doon [duːn] (fort, stronghold) in Manx
  • din [dɪn] (city, fortress, stronghold), and dinas (city) in Welsh
  • din [di:n] (fort) in Cornish
  • din [ˈdĩːn] (fortress) in Breton

Apart from dinas in Welsh, these words are mostly found in placenames, such as Dún Dealgan (Dundalk) in Ireland, Dún Dè(agh) (Dundee) in Scotland, Dinbych (Denbigh) in Wales, Dinmeur (Dunmere) in Cornwall, and Dinan in Brittany.

Words from the same Celtic roots possibly include town and down (a [chalk] hill, rolling grassland) in English, tuin (garden, yard) in Dutch, tún (hayfield) in Icelandic, and тын [tɨn] (fence [especially one made of twigs]) in Russian [source].

Words same PIE roots include dusk, dust and fume in English, dagg (dew) and dy (mud, mire, sludge) in Swedish, and fem (dung, manure) in Catalan [source].

More about words for Castles & fortresses 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.

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.

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with JapanesePod101.com

Celtic Pathways – Horny Peaks

In this episode we find Romance horns among Celtic peaks and mountains.

Panoramic view from Snowdon / Golygfa panoramig o'r Wyddfa

In Proto-Celtic, the word *bandā means top, peak or horn, and *benno means peak or top. They are thought to be related, and possibly come from the PIE *bendʰ- (pin, point).

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • beann = horn, antler or fork prong in Irish
  • beann [bjaun̪ˠ] = horn, peak or top; and beinn [bein̪ʲ] = mountain or high hill in Scottish Gaelic
  • beinn = mountain, summit or pinnacle in Manx
  • ban [ban] = top, tip, summit or peak in Welsh
  • ban = prominence in Cornish
  • bann = rising, uphill, post or column in Breton

Words from the same Celtic roots include ben (mountain, hill) in Scots, as in Ben Nevis (Beinn Nibheis), etc, banya (horn) and banyut (horned, unfaithful) in Catalan, and bana (horn) in Occitan [source].

Words same PIE roots include peak and pin in English, pinne (chopstick, perch, point) in Swedish, pind (stick, perch, peg) in Danish, and pin (peg, pin) in Dutch [source].

More about words for Peaks 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.

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.

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with JapanesePod101.com

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.

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.

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with JapanesePod101.com

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.

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.

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with JapanesePod101.com

Celtic Pathways – Soft Bogs

In this episode we discover the soft and tender Celtic roots of the word bog.

Bogs of Connemara

A bog is an area of decayed vegetation which forms a wet spongy ground too soft for walking on, and comes from Middle English bog (swamp, morass), from Irish / Scottish Gaelic bog (soft, tender, marshy, boggy), from Old Irish boc (soft, gentle, tender), from Proto-Celtic *buggos (soft, tender), from PIE *bʰewgʰ- (to bend, curve) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • bog [bˠɔɡ / bˠʌɡ] (noun) = soft, tender, flabby, indulgent, lenient, mellow (voice), mild (weather), loose, lukewarm in Irish
  • bog [boɡ] = flabby, soft, limp, pulpy, moist, marshy, boggy, sloppy, foolish, damp, humid in Scottish Gaelic
  • bog = soft, easy, tender, flabby, pulpy, slack, limp, moist, soft-hearted, callow in Manx
  • bouk [buːk] = soft, cozy, heavy, stifling (weather) in Breton

English words from the same PIE root include badge, bagel, bay, (to) bow, bow (and arrow), buck and elbow [source].

Incidentally, the word bog is also slang for toilet / bathroom (originally latrine or outhouse) in the UK (especially in northern England), Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, and a boglet is a small patch of boggy ground, or a kind of supernatural being like a bogle or goblin.

More about words for 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.

Tóg go bog é! (Take it easy! – Irish).

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.

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with JapanesePod101.com

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.

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.

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with JapanesePod101.com

Celtic Pathways – Badgered Brochures

In this episode, we unfold the possible Celtic roots of the word brochure, and find out what it has to do with badgers.

Rotten Bran

The word brochure comes from French brochure (brocade, needlework, brochure, booklet), from brocher (to stitch, sew, brocade), from Old French brochier (to jab, prod), from broche (brooch, pin), from Vulgar Latin brocca, from broccus (pointed, sharp), possibly from Gaulish *brokkos (badger), from Proto-Celtic *brokkos (badger) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • broc [bˠɾˠɔk] = badger, or a dirty-faced or a short thick-set person in Irish
  • broc [brɔxg] = badger, or a grumpy/surly person in Scottish Gaelic
  • broc(k) = badger in Manx
  • broch [broːχ] = badger in Welsh
  • brogh [bɹoːx] = badger in Cornish
  • broc’h [ˈbʁoːx] = badger in Breton

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root include brooch and brock (male badger – northern English dialects) in English, brock (badger) in Scots, broche (brooch, spit, spike, peg, pin) in French, brocco (thorn, stick) in Italian, and broco (having long projecting horns; bad-tempered) in Galician [source].

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

Here’s a little tune I wrote a few years ago called The Unexpected Badger / Y Mochyn Daear Annisgwyl, inspired by an encounter with a badger in Glencolmcille in Donegal in the northwest of Ireland:

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.

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.

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with JapanesePod101.com

Celtic Pathways – Rotten Bran

In this episode we discover the rotten Celtic roots of the English word bran, the Galician word braña (meadow, bog), and related words in other languages.

Rotten Bran

The Proto-Celtic word *bragnos means rotten. It comes from the PIE *bʰreHg- (to smell, have a strong odour) [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • bréan [bʲɾʲiːa̯nˠ] = foul, putrid, rotten or to pollute in Irish
  • breun [brʲeːn] = foetid, putrid, disgusting or filthy in Scottish Gaelic
  • breinn = foetid, loathsome, nasty or offensive in Manx
  • braen [braːɨ̯n] = rotten, putrid, corrupt or mouldy in Welsh
  • breyn = putrid or rotten in Cornish
  • brein [ˈbrɛ̃jn] = rotten or uncultivated in Breton

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root, via the Gaulish brennos (rotten) and the Latin *brennos, include bran in English, berner (to trick, fool, hoodwink) in French [source].

The Asturian word braña (pasture, meadowland), and Galician word braña (mire, bog, marsh, moorland) possibly also come from the same Proto-Celtic root [source].

Words from the same PIE root include flair, fragrant, and bray in English, and брага [ˈbraɡə] (home brew) in Russian [source].

More about words for Rotten 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.

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.

The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese Guaranteed with JapanesePod101.com