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].

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, TuneIn, Podchaser, Podbay or Podtail and other pod places.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Celtic Pathways – Bijou Fingers

In this episode we find Celtic fingers among French jewelery.

celtic wedding rings

The French word bijou means a jewel or piece of jewellry. It was borrowed from the Breton bizou (ring, jewel), which comes from biz (finger), which is ultimately comes from the Proto-Celtic *bistis (finger), from the PIE *gʷist- (twig, finger) [source].

Related words in the modern Celtic languages include:

  • bys [bɨːs / biːs] = finger (of hand/glove), toe, medium, agency, hand (of clock) or latch and byson = ring in Welsh
  • bys = finger, digit, and bysow = ring in Cornish
  • biz [biːs] = finger, hand (of clock), tooth (of tool), leg (of anchor), tentacle or tendril, and bizou [ˈbiːzu] = ring, jewel in Breton

Words from the same PIE roots possibly include kvist (twig, stick) in Norwegian and Swedish, and gisht (finger) in Albanian [source].

The French word bijou was borrowed into English and means a jewel, a piece of jewellery, a trinket, or a small intricate piece of metalwork, which are collectively called bijouterie / bijoutry [source].

Bijou in English can also mean small and elegant (residence), or something that is intricate or finely made. This sense comes via Sabir (Mediterranean Lingua Franca) from Occitan pichon (small, little), which possibly has Celtic roots: from Proto-Celtic *kʷezdis (piece, portion) [source].

In Polari, a cant used in the London fishmarkets, in the British theatre, and by the gay community in the UK, bijou means small or little (often implying affection), and a bijou problemette is a little fault or problem [source].

More about words for Fingers and Toes 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.

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Adventures in Etymology – Guide

In this Adventure in Etymology we’re looking into the origins of the word guide.

Guided Tour

Guide [ɡaɪd] means:

  • Someone who guides, especially someone hired to show people around a place or an institution and offer information and explanation, or to lead them through dangerous terrain.
  • A document or book that offers information or instruction; guidebook.

It comes from Middle English gīde / gidde / guide (guide, pilot, helmsman), from Old French guide (guide) from Old Occitan guida (guide), from guidar (to guide, lead), from Frankish *wītan (to show the way, lead), from Proto-Germanic *wītaną (to see, know, go, depart), from PIE *weyd- (to see, know) [source].

Words from the same roots include druid, history, idea, vision, wise and wit in English, gwybod (to know) in Welsh, fios (knowledge, information) in Irish and veta (to know) in Swedish [source].

The English word guide has been borrowed into various other languages, including Japanese: ガイド (gaido – guide, tour guide, conductor, guiding, leading, guidebook) [source], and Korean: 가이드 (gaideu – tour guide, guidebook, user’s manual) [source].

By the way, there’s an episode of the Celtic Pathways podcast about the word druid, and there’s a post on my Celtiadur blog about words related to knowledge in Celtic languages.

You can also listen to this podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, TuneIn, Podchaser, Podbay or Podtail and other pod places.

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.

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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.

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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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:

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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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.

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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Omniglot News (31/12/23)

Omniglot News

Here’s the latest news from the world of Omniglot.

There are new language pages about:

  • Choni (ཅོ་ནེ་), a Tibetic language spoken Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the southeast of Gansu Province in western China.
  • Kenswei Nsei (Kənswey Nsey), a South Ring Grassfields language spoken in the North West Region of Cameroon.
  • Vendo (gháŋ vəŋóo), a South Ring Grassfields language spoken in the North West Region of Cameroon.

New phrases page: Oshiwambo, a Bantu language spoken in parts of Namibia and Angola.

New numbers pages:

  • Oshiwambo, a Bantu language spoken in parts of Namibia and Angola.
  • Adele (Gɩdɩrɛ), a Kwa language spoken in central Togo and southeastern Ghana.
  • Proto-Uralic, the reconstructed ancestor of the Uralic languages.

There’s a new Omniglot blog post about the word Lax, and there’s the usual Language Quiz, which features the phrase ‘Happy New Year’ in several different languages. See if you can guess what the languages are:

Here’s a clue: these recordings all come from Omniglot

The mystery language in last week’s language quiz was Udege (Удиэ), a Tungusic language spoken in the Far Eastern Federal District of Russia.

This week’s Adventure in Etymology looks at the meaning and origins of the word Lagniappe (an extra or unexpected gift or benefit).

On the Celtiadur blog there’s a new post entitled Justly Right, about words for just and right and related things.

Blwyddyn newydd dda / Gelukkig Nieuwjaar / Onnellista uutta vuotta / Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit / Gott nytt år / Happy New Year in many other languages!

For more Omniglot News, see:
https://www.omniglot.com/news/
https://twitter.com/Omniglossia
https://www.facebook.com/groups/omniglot/
https://www.facebook.com/Omniglot-100430558332117

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 – 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.

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