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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *