Celtic Pathways – Flowers

In this episode we’re look into words for flowers and related things.

View from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig

In Proto-Celtic, the word *blātus meant flower of blossom. It comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *bʰleh₃- (bloom, flower) [source].

Descendents in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • bláth [bˠl̪ˠɑː/bˠl̪ˠaː] = blossom, flower; bloom, beauty, prime; prosperity or abundance in Irish
  • blàth [bl̪ˠaː] = bloom, blossom, flower, consequence, effect or heyday in Scottish Gaelic
  • blaa [bleː] = bloom, blossom, flower, heyday or pride in Manx
  • blodyn [ˈblɔdɨ̞n / ˈbloːdɪn] = flower, bloom, blossoms, florets, flowering plant or petal in Welsh
  • bleujen [ˈblɛdʒən] = blossom or flower in Cornish
  • bleuñv [blœ̃w] = flowers, flowering, apogee or menstruation in Breton

The Proto-Celtic word *blātus became *blātōnā (flower) in Gaulish, which was borrowed into Medieval Latin as blādōna (mullein – plants of the genus Verbascum), which became belladonna (a.k.a. deadly nightshade / Atropa belladonna) in Italian [source].

English words from the same PIE root include bloom, blossom, blade, flower, flour, flourish, foliage and folio [source].

Incidentally, words meaning flour in some Celtic languages come from the same PIE root, via Anglo-Norman, Old French, Latin and Proto-Italic. They include fflŵr/fflowr in Welsh, flooyr in Manx, flùr in Scottish Gaelic, and plúr in Irish, which also means flower [more details].

More details of flower-related 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 – 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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Adventures in Etymology – Rubble

There’s some building work going on at my house, so in this Adventure we’re digging into the origins of the word rubble.

Rubble

Rubble [ˈɹʌb.əl] is:

  • the broken remains of an object, usually rock or masonry
  • rough, irregular stones broken from larger masses, esp. waste fragments from the demolition of a building, etc.

It comes from the Middle English rouble/rubel/robel, from the Anglo-Norman *robel (bits of broken stone), possibly from the Old Norse rubba (to huddle, crowd together, heap up), from the Proto-Germanic *rubbōną (to rub, scrape) [source].

It is probably related to the word rubbish (refuse, waste, garbage, junk, trash), which was robous (rubbish, buidling rubble) in Middle English [source]. The word rub possibly comes from the same roots as well [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 – A Slew of Slogans

In this episode we’re looking into the Celtic roots of the words slogan and slew.

A Slew of Slogans

In English the word slogan means a distinctive phrase of a person or group of people, a motto, a catchphrase, and formerly, a battle cry used by the Irish or by Scottish highlanders [source].

In the past it was written sloggorne, slughorne or slughorn, and it comes from the Scottish Gaelic sluagh-ghairm [ˈsɫ̪uəɣɤɾʲəm] (battle cry) from the Old Irish slóg/slúag (army, host, throng, crowd), and gairm (call, cry, crow, proclamation) [source].

The Old Irish word slóg/slúag comes from the Proto-Celtic *slougos (troop, army), from the Proto-Indo-European *slowg(ʰ)os (entourage) [source].

Celtic words from the same root include:

  • slua [sˠl̪ˠuə] = host, force, army; crowd, multitude, throng in Irish
  • sluagh [sl̪ˠuəɣ] = folk, people, populace; the fairy host; crowd in Scottish Gaelic
  • sleih = commonalty, crowd, family, inhabitants, people, populace, public, relations in Manx
  • llu [ɬɨː / ɬiː] = host, a large number (of people), a great many, multitude, throng, crowd in Welsh
  • lu [ly: / liˑʊ] = army, military, troop in Cornish
  • lu = army in Breton

Words for family and household in Celtic languages, such as teaghlach in Irish and teulu in Welsh, come from the same Proto-Celtic root, via *tegoslougom (“house army”) [source].

The English word slew (a large amount), as in “a slew of papers” was borrowed from the Irish slua [source].

Words from the same PIE root include слуга (servant) in Bulgarian, Macedonian, Russian, Ukrainian and Serbian; sługa (minion, servant) in Polish; sluha (servant) in Czech and Slovak, slugă (servant, domestic) in Romanian, and szolga (servant, attendant) in Hungarian [source].

The Old Irish word gairm (call, cry, crow, proclamation) comes from the Proto-Celtic *gar(r)man- (cry, shout), from the Proto-Indo-European *ǵh₂r̥-smn̥, from *ǵeh₂r- (to shout, cry).

Celtic words from the same root include:

  • gairm [ˈɡaɾʲəmʲ/ˈɡɪɾʲəmʲ] = call, summons, calling, vocation in Irish
  • gairm [ɡɤrʲɤm] = calling, crying, call, cry, announcing, declaring, convenning, call of the cockerel in Scottish Gaelic
  • gerrym = crowing, outcry, shouting, whoop, whooping, (cock) crow), avocation, mission, profession, vocation in Manx
  • garm = shout, cry, outcry, clamour in Welsh
  • garm = shout, whoop, yell in Cornish
  • garm = cry, clamour, weeping in Breton

Words from the same roots include gáir (cry, shout, report) in Irish, goir (to call, cry, hoot) in Scottish Gaelic, gair (word, speech) in Welsh [more details].

The English words garrulous (excessively talkative), care and charm (sound of many voices (esp. of birds or children), a flock or group (esp. of finches)) as come from the same PIE roots [source].

More details about words for Troop, host, throng 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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Adventures in Etymology – Hallow

As it’s near the end of October, in this Adventure in Etymology we’re investigating the origins of the word hallow, as in Halloween.

Halloween in Hallow

Hallow [ˈhæləʊ / ˈhæloʊ] is an old word that means:

  • A saint; a holy person; an apostle.
  • (plural) The relics or shrines of saints or non-Christian gods.

It comes from the Middle English halwe (saint, holy thing, shrine), from the Old English hālga (saint), from the Proto-Germanic *hailagô (holy person), from *hailagaz (holy, sacred), rom *hailaz (whole, intact, hale, healthy), from the PIE *kóylos (healthy, whole) [source].

The word Halloween comes from the Scots Hallow evin/even, from Allhallow evin, from Allhallow (all the saints) and evin (evening) [source].

English words from the same roots include holy, hale (healthy, sound, robust), as in hale and hearty, hail (to greet, salute, call) and whole [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 – 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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Adventures in Etymology – Spell

Today we’re telling tales about the origins of the word spell.

Spell

Spell [spɛl] means:

  • Words or a formula supposed to have magical powers.
  • A magical effect or influence induced by an incantation or formula
  • To put under the influence of a spell, to affect by a spell, to bewitch, fascinate, charm

Spell used to mean speech or discourse. It comes from the Middle English spel(l) (story, tale, narrative, report), from the Old English spell (news, story, prose), from the Proto-Germanic spellą (news, message, tale, story, legend),from the PIE *spel- (to tell) or from *bʰel- (to speak, sound) [source].

Words from the same roots include gospel and byspel (an example — rare) in English; spjall (talk, gossip) and spjalla (to chat, converse) in Icelandic; and fjalë (word) in Albanian [source].

The word spell (to be able to write or say the letters that form words), also comes from the same root, via the Middle English spellen (to mean, signify, interpret, to spell out letters), the Old French espeler (to call, cry out, shout, explain, tell), the Frankish *spelôn, and the Proto-Germanic *spellōną (to speak) [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 – Sacks

In this episode we are looking into the origins of words for sacks, bags and bellys in Celtic languages.

Sacks

The Proto-Celtic word *bolgos means sack, bag or stomach. It comes from the Proto-Indo-European *bʰólǵʰ-o-s (skin bag, bolster), from *bʰelǵʰ- (to swell) [source].

Descendants in the Celtic languages include:

  • bolg [ˈbˠɔlˠəɡ] = belly, stomach, abdomen; bag; bulge, broad part, middle; bellows in Irish
  • bolg [bɔl̪ˠɔg] = blister, bulge, (light) bulb in Scottish Gaelic
  • bolg [bolg] = stomach, abdomen, belly, tummy, corporation, bilge, bowl (of lamp) in Manx
  • bol [bɔl] = belly, paunch, abdomen, stomach, bowels; tripe; appetite, desire, gluttony, liking; womb; swelling, bulge, surface, side in Welsh
  • bolgh [bɔlx] = breach, gap, opening in Cornish
  • bolc’h = flax pod in Breton

The related Gaulish word *bolgā (sack, bag, stomach) was borrowed into Medieval/Late Latin as bulga (knapsack, wallet, satchel, purse, womb), and became bouge (sack, purse, small bag) and bougette (budget – purse for carrying coins) in Old French; bouge (hovel, dive, shanty, bulge, protuberance) in modern French; bulge, bilge and budget in English, and possibly bolgia (pit, bedlam, madhouse, shambles) in Italian [source].

Other words for the PIE root *bʰelǵʰ- (to swell), include belly, bellows, Belgium, billow, bolster, fool and folly in English [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 – Jelly

Today we are uncovering the origins of the word jelly.

Strawberry Jelly

Jelly [ˈd͡ʒɛl.i] is:

  • a dessert made by boiling gelatin(e), sugar and some flavouring (often derived from fruit) and allowing it to set (In the UK, Australia and NZ) – known as jello in North America (see below)
  • A clear or translucent fruit preserve, made from fruit juice and set using either naturally occurring, or added, pectin.

Note: there are various kinds of fruit preserves with different names in different countries. For example, what people in North America call jelly, might be called jam in the UK. More details.

Jelly comes from the Middle English gele [dʒɛˈleː] (jelly made from meat stock), from the Old French gelee (a cold spell, period of coldness), from geler (to freeze, become very cold), from the Latin gelāre (to freeze), from gelō (I freeze) from gelū (frost),from the PIE *gel- (to be cold, to freeze) [source].

Related words in English include gel, gelatin, gelid (very cold, icy, frosty), glacier, cold, cool, chill and congeal [source].

In North America the dessert made from gelatine and flavoured with fruit is known as jello. It was invented and trademarked by Pearle Bixby Wait in New York in 1897 as JELL-O. Since then the name has become genericized and is used to refer to any brand of fruit flavored gelatin dessert mix [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 – 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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