Celtic Pathways – Cream

In this episode we look into the Celtic roots of the word cream.

Chocolate Cream Pie

Cream comes from Middle English cre(i)me (cream, chrism [a mixture of oil and balsam]), from Old French cresme (cream), from Late Latin crāmum (cream), probably from Gaulish *crama, from Proto-Celtic *krammen (skin), from Proto-Indo-European (s)krama- [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages possibly include:

  • screamh = a deposit on surface, coating, crust, scum in Irish.
  • sgrath [sɡrah] = bark, husk, peel, skin, crust in Scottish Gaelic
  • scrooig = crust, incrustation, scab, slime, scale in Manx
  • cramen [ˈkramɛn] = scab, sore, boil, crust, layer in Welsh
  • kragh = scab in Cornish
  • kramm = grime, filth in Breton

Other words from the same Proto-Celtic root include crème (cream, cool) in French, schram (scratch, scrape, graze) in Dutch, and creme (cream [coloured]) in German.

Incidentally, the Old English word for cream was rēam [ræ͜ɑːm], which comes from Proto-Germanic *raumaz (skin, film, cream), from PIE *réwgʰmn̥ (cream). A descendent of this word, ream, is apparently still used for cream in English dialects in northern England [source], and in Scots [source].

You can find more details of words for beaks, snouts 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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Celtic Pathways – Spears and Sceptres

In this episode we find out what links the words spear and beam in Celtic languages with words for sceptre and arrow in other languages.

Romano British spearmen

The Proto-Celtic word *gaisos means spear. It comes from Proto-Germanic *gaizaz [ˈɣɑi̯.zɑz] (spear, pike, javelin), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰoysós (throwing spear), from *ǵʰey- (to throw, impel) [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • ga [ɡa]= spear, dart, sting, ray (of light), radius, suppository or (fishing) gaff in Irish.
  • gath [gah] = dart, beam, ray (of light), sting, barb or shooting pain in Scottish Gaelic
  • goull = beam, dart or ray in Manx
  • gwayw [ɡweɨ̯.ʊ] = lance, spear, javelin, shooting pain, stab, stitch or pang in Welsh
  • guw = spear in Cornish
  • goaf = spear, pike, javelin or stamen in Breton

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root in other languages include gezi [ɡe̞.s̻i] (arrow) in Basque (via Latin and Gaulish), գայիսոն [ɡɑjiˈsɔn/kʰɑjiˈsɔn] (sceptre) in Armenian (via Ancient Greek), gaesum (a Gaulish javelin) in Latin, and γαῖσος [ɡâi̯.sos] (a Gaulish javelin) in Ancient Greek [source].

Words from the same Proto-Germanic root include garfish (any fish of the needlefish family Belonidae) in English [source], geer (spear) in Dutch, Ger (spear) in German, and keihäs (spear, javelin, pike) in Finnish, [source].

Incidentally, my surname, Ager, possibly comes from the same Proto-Germanic root as well, via the Old English name Ēadgār, from ēad (happiness, prosperity), and gār (spear) [source].

You can find more details of words for spears, javelins 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 – Hogging Sockets

In this episode we find out what links the words hog and socket with words for pig, ploughshare and related things in Celtic languages.

Family of Feral Hogs

The Proto-Celtic word sukkos means a pig (snout) or ploughshare, presumably because ploughshares looked like pig’s snouts. It comes from the Proto-Indo-European *súH-s (pig, hog, swine) [source]

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • soc [sˠɔk] = sow in Irish.
  • soc [sɔxg] = beak, snout, socket, ploughshare, or a short, chubby person in Scottish Gaelic
  • sock = bow, nose, snout, ploughshare, jet or nozzle in Manx
  • hwch [huːχ] = sow, pig, swine, or a dirty creature in Welsh
  • hogh = hog, pig or swine in Cornish
  • houc’h = sow in Breton

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root in other languages include socket and possibly hog in English, and soc (ploughshare) in French.

The word socket comes from the Middle English soket, from the Anglo-Norman soket (spearhead), from the Old French soc (ploughshare), from the Vulgar Latin *soccus, from the Proto-Celtic *sokkos, probably via Gaulish [source].

The word hog comes from the Middle English hog(ge) (pig, swine, pig meat, hogget [young sheep]), from the Old English hogg (hog), either the Old Norse hǫggva (to hew), or from the Proto-Brythonic *hux (pig) [source].

The English word hoggan (a pork pasty), which is used mainly in Cornwall, probably comes from the Old Cornish hoggan/hogen) (pork pasty, pie), from hoch (pig), from the Proto-Brythonic *hux (pig). The word oggy/oggie (pasty), which is used in Devon and Cornwall, and also in Wales, comes from the same roots [source].

Welsh oggies are larger than Cornish pasties and contain lamb, potatoes and leeks. Here’s a recipe.

Oggie

Incidentally, the Welsh words hogyn (boy) and hogen (girl), which are used mainly in North Wales, come from hòg (young/little boy, youth, lad, fellow), from the English hogg (young sheep or hogget), from the Middle English hogget (a boar/sheep of the second year), from Anglo-Norman hog(g)et (young boar) and an Anglo-Latin hogettus [source].

You can find more details of words for pig and related beasts 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 – Berets

In this episode we’re uncovering the Celtic origins of the word beret.

Fête du Boeuf Gras à Bazas

A beret [ˈbɛɹ.eɪ/bəˈɹeɪ] is:

  • A type of round, brimless cap with a soft top and a headband to secure it to the head; usually culturally associated with France.

It comes from the French béret (beret), from the Occitan (Gascon) berret (cap), from the Medieval Latin birretum (a kind of hat), from the Late Latin birrus (a large hooded cloak, a cloak to keep off rain, made of silk or wool), from the Gaulish birrus (a coarse kind of thick woollen cloth; a woollen cap or hood worn over the shoulders or head), from the Proto-Celtic *birros (short), the origins of which are not known [source]

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • bearr [bˠɑːɾˠ] = to clip, cut, trim, shave, skim (milk), crop or pare (photos) in Irish.
  • beàrr [baːr̪ˠ] = to shave, cut (hair), clip, shear or prune in Scottish Gaelic
  • baarey = to bare, clip, cut, dress, poll, prune, shave or trimmed in Manx
  • byr [bɨ̞r/bɪr] = short, brief or concise in Welsh
  • berr [bɛɹ] = short or brief in Cornish
  • berr = short in Breton

Other words from the Proto-Celtic root *birros, via Latin and Gaulish, include biretta (a square cap worn by some Roman Catholic priests) and berretto (beanie, cap) in Italian, barrete (biretta, cap) in Portuguese, birrete (biretta) in French, and βίρρος [ˈβir.ros] (a type of cloak or mantle) in Ancient Greek [source].

Biretta

Incidentally, words from beret in Celtic languages include: bairéad (beret, biretta, cap, hat, bonnet) in Irish, beeray or bayrn Frangagh (“French cap/hat”) in Manx, bere(t)/bered in Welsh, and béret/bered/boned in Breton.

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.

Here’s a video I made of this information:

Video made with Doodly [afflilate link].

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 – Top Tips

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

Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa

The Proto-Celtic word *barros means top, point or peak. Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • barr [bˠɑːɾˠ] = tip, point, top, summit, upper part, surface, etc in Irish.
  • bàrr [baːr̪ˠ] = apex, crest, crown, summit, tip, top, zenith, surface, etc in Scottish Gaelic
  • baare = apex, cap, climax, end, point, summit, tip, top, crest (of a wave), etc n in Manx
  • bar [bar] = head, top, summit, crest, bush, tuft or branch in Welsh
  • barr = summit in Cornish
  • barr = summit, surface, access or paroxysm in Breton [source]

Words from the same Proto-Celtic roots, via Gaulish and Latin, include baràz (bramble) in Romansh, and barra (garret, loft, upper platform) in Galician [source].

Words from the same PIE roots include barley in English, farine (flour) in French, bara (bread) in Welsh, Cornish and Breton, bairín (loaf) in Irish, and related words in Celtic languages [source].

Incidentally, the unrelated Galician word barra (sandbank, bar, rod) possibly comes from a Gaulish word, via the Vulgar Latin barra [source].

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.

Celtic Pathways – Donkeys

In this episode we’re looking into words for donkey and related beasts in Celtic languages.

Donkeys

There don’t appear to be any Proto-Celtic words for donkey. Instead, the Celtic languages borrowed words from Latin. These include:

  • asal [ˈasˠəlˠ] = ass or donkey in Irish.
  • asal [asal̪ˠ] = ass or donkey in Scottish Gaelic
  • assyl = ass or donkey in Manx
  • asyn [ˈasɨ̞n / ˈasɪn] = (male) donkey / (he-)ass, or an absurd or stubborn person in Welsh
  • asen = ass or donkey in Cornish
  • azen = donkey in Breton [source]

The Brythonic words come from the Latin asina from asinus (donkey, ass), which is of unknown origin [source]. The Goidelic words come from the same root via the Latin asellus (young ass, donkey) [source].

The English word ass (donkey) was borrowed from an old Brythonic language, via the Middle English asse (ass, donkey) and the Old English assa and assen (she-ass) [source].

Other words from the same Latin roots include asinine (foolish, obstinate, donkeyish), asinicide (the killing of an idiot) in English [source], osel (donkey, ass, stupid person) in Czech, and osioł (male donkey) in Polish [source].

Incidentally, another word for donkey in Old English was esol [ˈe.zol], which came from Proto-West Germanic *asil (donkey), from Latin asellus (young ass, donkey) [source]. Related words in other Germanic languages include ezel (donkey, ass, fool, idiot, easel) in Dutch, Esel (ass, donkey, a stupid/stubborn person) in German, and æsel (ass, donkey) in Danish [source].

The English word easel also comes from the same roots, via Dutch ezel and Proto-West Germanic *asil [source].

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.

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.

Celtic Pathways – Shamrocks and Clover

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

Shamrocks

A shamrock is the trefoil leaf of any small clover, especially Trifolium repens, commonly used as a symbol of Ireland. The word comes from the Irish seamróg (shamrock), from the Old Irish semróc, a diminutive of semar (clover, shamrock), from Proto-Celtic *semarā, possibly from Proto-Indo-European *semh₁r-/*smeh₁r- [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic language include:

  • seamróg [ˈʃamˠɾˠoːɡ] = shamrok and semair = clover in Irish.
  • siumrag [ʃumərag] = clover, shamrock, wood sorel, and semair [ʃɛmɪrʲ] = shamrock, clover in Scottish Gaelic
  • shamrag = clover, shamrock, wood sorel in Manx
  • siamroc/samrog = shamrock in Welsh (borrowed from English)

Shamrock in Cornish teyrdelen (“three leaves”). In Breton it’s trefle, which was borrowed from the French trèfle (clover, shamrock); or melchonenn, which is cognate with the Cornish mellyon (clover), and the Welsh meillion (clover, trefoil, clubs (a suit in cards)). The origin of these words is not known.

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

Celtic Pathways – Towns and Beehives

In this episode we’re finding out how words for towns and related things in Celtic languages are linked to words for beehives in other languages.

Trefor

The Proto-Celtic word *trebā means dwelling, and comes from the Proto-Indo-European *treb- (dwelling, settlement) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic language include:

  • treibh [ˈtʲɾʲɛv] = house, homestead, farmstead, household, family, tribe or race in Irish.
  • treubh [treːv] = tribe, family, clan or kin, and possibly treabh [tro] = farming village in Scottish Gaelic
  • tre(f) [treː(v)] = town; town centre; dwelling(-place), habitation, residence, home; house (and surrounding land), homestead or farm in Welsh
  • tre = [trɛ:/tre:] = farmstead, home, town or village in Cornish
  • trev = town in Breton

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

Words from the same Proto-Celtic root (via Latin) possibly include trobo (beehive, skep) in Galician, and truébanu (beehive, barrel, basket) in Asturian [source].

The archaic English word thorp(e) (a group of houses standing together in the country; a hamlet; a village), which appears in place names such as Milnthorpe and Scunthorpe, comes from the same PIE roots [source].

Other words from the same PIE roots include Dorf (hamlet, village, town) in German, torp (farm, cottage, croft) in Swedish, þorp (village, farm) in Icelandic, and trevë (country, region, village) in Albanian [source].

You can be find more details of words for Towns and Tribes 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.

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.