Celtic Etymological Glossary

Ankle • W. ffêr < PC. *sϕerā 'heel' (: MI. seir 'heal') and CB. ufern, W. plural uffarnau, ucharnau from the derivative PC. *wisϕern- • I. murnán, G. muthairne < PC. ? • M. abane < OI. odbrann

Arm • W. braich, C. bregh, B. brec'h < L. bracchium 'arm, branch' • I. géag < PC. kankā 'branch' (: W. cainc < PC. kankū) • G. gàirdean < Scots gardy 'arm' • M. roih < uncertain.

Aunt • W. modreb, C. modrep, B. moereb < PC. *mātrīkwā 'aunt' < *mātīr 'mother' • I. aint and M. naunt are borrowings from E. aunt or OF. aunte • G. piuthar-màthar, piuthar-athar are lit. 'mother's sister' and 'father's sister'.

Back • W. cefn, C. keyn, B. kein < PC. *kebno-, kemno- 'back' • I. droim, G. druim, M. dreeym < PC. *drosmen- 'back, ridge' (W. drum, trum, C. drumm).

Beard • W. barf, CB. barv < L. barba 'beard' • I. féasóg, G. feusag, M. faasag < OI. fés 'hair' < PC. *wenso- 'hair' (: Russian us 'moustache').

Blood • W. gwaed, C. goos, B. gwad < PC. *waitV- 'blood' • IG. fuil, M. fuill < PC. *woli- 'blood, wound' (: W. gweli 'blood, wound').

Body • W. corff, CB. korf, IGM. corp < L. corpus 'body'.

Bone • W. asgwrn, CB. askorn < PC. *assokornV- 'bone' • I. cnámh, G. cnàimh, M. craue < PC. *knāmi- 'bone' (E. ham).

Brain • W. ymennydd, C. ympynnyon, B. empenn, I. inchinn, G. eanchainn, M. inçhyn < PC. *eni-kwenno- 'brain' literally 'in-head' (see head).

Brother • W. brawd, C. broder, B. breur, I. deartháir, G. bràthair, M. braar < PC. brātīr 'brother' (: E. brother; L. frāter). The I. has the word deirbh 'true' prefixed in order to distinguish a 'true brother' from a foster brother or an ecclesiastical one (I. deirbh, W. derw < PC. *derwo- 'firm', identical in origin and form with W. derw 'oaks' and cognate with E. true and tree. Cf. cousin).

Children • W. plant, G. clann, M. cloan seemingly < L. planta 'shoot, slip' the change of p > c in early Latin loans is common in Goidelic languages (cf. OI. Cothraige 'Patrick' < L. Patricius). OI. clann means 'plant; off-shoot; produce' • C. flehes, the plural of flogh 'child, boy' occurs as B. floc'h 'page, squire' but is of unknown origin • B. bugale < PC. *boukoljū 'cowherder' (W. bugail 'shepherd') • I. páistí, plural of páiste 'child' < ME. page 'youth, lad, page' < OF.

Chin • W. gên (see mouth) • WC. elgeth, B. elgez < uncertain • IG. smig, M. smeg < PC. *smekā 'chin'.

Cousin ◊ 1. first ~ • W. cefnder (m.), C. kenderow (m.), B. kenderv (m.) < PC. *kom-neϕōs lit. 'co-grandson' + derwos 'true' (see brother) • W. cyfnither (f.), C. keniterow (f.), B. keniterv (f.) < PC. *kom-nektī lit. 'co-granddaughter' + derwā 'true' • I. col ceathair lit. 'sin of four'. The word col means 'aversion, dislike', originally 'sin' (W. cŵl  'sin, offence', G. col 'incest') < PC. *kulo-, hence the Irish concept of 'cousin' is based on those who it is sinful to marry • G. co-ogha lit. 'co-grandchild'
2. second ~ • W. cyfyrder is probably for *cyf-ŵyr-derw 'true co-grandchild' (see grandson) • I. col seisir 'sin of six people'
3. third ~ • W. caifn, B. kevenderv < PC. *kom-neϕōs 'co-grandson', the B. form apparently influenced by kenderv • I. col ochtair 'sin of eight people'
4. fourth ~ • W. gorchaifn < PC. *wor-kom-neϕōs 'over-co-grandson' • B. kevniant is identical to MW. keywneynt, the plural of caifn formed analogically on words like ceraint 'friends'.

Daughter • W. merch, C. myrgh, B. merc'h < PC. *merkā 'girl, daughter' • I. iníon, G. nighean, M. inneen < PC. *eni-genā, lit. 'daughter'.

Ear • W. clust, IG. cluas, M. cleaysh < PC. *kloustā 'ear, hearing', related to W. clywed 'hear', I. cluin 'hear' • C. skovarn, B. skouarn, W. ysgyfarn (hence ysgyfarnog 'hare') < PC. ? *skowarno-.

Eight • W. wyth, C. eth, B. eizh, I. ocht, G. ochd, M. hoght < PC. *oktū 'eight' (: E. eight, L. octō).

Elbow • W. penelin, C. elin, B. ilin, I. uillinn, G. uileann, M. uillin < PC. *olīnā 'elbow' (: E. elbow < OE. eln).

Eye • W. llygad, C. lagas, B. lagad < PC. *lukato-, related to W. gorllwyn 'perceive' < PC. *wor-luko- • I. súil, G. sùil, M. sooill < PC. *sūli-, a different reflex of the word that gives W. haul, C. howl, B. heol 'sun'.

Family W. teulu, C. teylu, IG. teaghlach < PC. *tego-slougos 'household' (cf. W. 'house', llu 'host'; G. taigh 'house', sluagh 'host') • B. familh < F. famille M. mooinjer = I. muinter, G. muinntir 'community, family; household', which may be from L. monastērium 'monastery', or may be a native formation related to MI. muin 'protection'.

Father WB. tad, C. tas < PC. *tato- 'father', a nursery word (cf. Czech táta, E. dad, Tatar ata) • IG. athair, M. ayr < PC. *φatīr 'father' (: E. father, L. pater).

Finger • W. bis, C. bes, B. biz < PC. *bisti- • I. méar, G. meur, M. mair < PC *makro- 'finger'.

First • W. cyntaf, C. kynsa, B. kentañ, I. céad, G. ciad, M. kied all ultimately derive from the same root, PC. *kentu- 'first', the Goidelic forms from the root itself and the Brythonic forms from the superlative *kentisamos, the root having come to be comparative in degree 'sooner, before' (W. cyn, C. kens, B. kent).

Fist • W. dwrn, CI. dorn, G. dòrn, M. doarn < PC. *durno- 'fist'.

Five • W. pump, C. pymp, B. pemp, I. cúig, G. còig, M. queig < PC. *kwenkwe 'five' (: E. five, L. quīnque).

Foot • W. troed, C. troos, B. troad < PC. *troget- 'foot' • I. cos, G. cas, M. cass (see leg).

Four • W. pedwar, pedair, C. peswar, peder, B. pevar, peder, I. ceathair, G. ceithir, M. kiare < PC. *kwetwores, *kwetesres 'four' (: E. four, L. quattuor).

Fourth • W. pedwerydd, pedwaredd, C. peswora, B. pevare < Br. *petworijos, *petworijā. • I. ceathrú, G. ceathramh, M. kiaroo are all < OI. cethramad 'fourth', a new formation with the ending taken from forms such as sechtmad 'seventh', dechmad 'tenth', cétmad 'hundredth' with /m/ in the original PC root: *sektametos, *dekametos, *kantametos. Precisely the same process gave rise to W. -fed, C. -ves, B. -vet. In both Goidelic and Brythonic, this new ending has become a near-universal ordinal marker though Brythonic retains an original formation in W. pumed, C. pympes, B. pempet 'fifth' < PC. *kwenkwetos (OI. cóiced) and Goidelic in G. treas, M. trass 'third' < PC. tristos.

Friday • W. Dydd Gwener, C. dy'Gwener, B. digwener < L. (Diēs) Veneris 'Friday', lit. 'Day of Venus'. • I. An Aoine, G. Dihaoine, M. Jeheiney < OI. aíne 'fast' perhaps < PC. *joino- (: L. iēiūnus 'fasting'). (for the words for 'day' see Monday).

Granddaughter • W. wyres, G. ban-ogha, M. oe, Gaul. aua < PC. *awjā. The modern forms are really derivatives of the masculine equivalent rather than direct descendents of PC. *awjā. See grandson.

Grandfather • I. seanathair, G. seanair, M. shaner < PC. *seno-ϕatir, lit. 'old father' which is the meaning of B. tad-kozh (< PC. *kottos 'old') • W. taid is from PC. *tatjos, a derivative of *tatos 'father'; tad-cu means 'dear father' (< PC. *koimos 'dear') • C. tas gwynn means 'white father' (< PC. *windos 'white').

Grandmother • I. seanmháthair, G. seanmhair, M. Shenn Voir, W. nain, mam-gu, C. mamm wynn, B. mamm-gozh. Most forms are identical in origin to their masculine counterparts, except W. nain < PC. nanī, a nursey word (cf. E. nan, nanna, Chechen нана nana 'mother', Greek nanna 'aunt', Mandarin năinai 'grandmother').

Grandson • W. ŵyr, I. ó, M. oe; G. ogha 'grandchild' < PC. *awjos 'descendant, grandchild'. W. ŵyr is probably an analogical formation on family names in -r • C. mab wynn 'white son' • B. mab-bihan 'little son' (cf. F. petit-fils) • I. garmhac lit. 'near son' • G. mac-mic lit. 'son's son'.

Hair • WC. blew, B. blev Morris-Jones suggests PC. *bleus- • W. gwallt, C. gols, IM. folt, G. falt < PC. *wolto-.

Hand • W. llaw, C. leuv, I. lámh, G. làmh, M. laue < PC. *ϕlāmā 'hand' (: E. palm) • B. dorn (see fist)

Head • W. pen, CB. penn, Gaul. pennon, IG. ceann, M. kione < PC. *kwennon 'head'.

Heart • W. calon, C. kolon, B. kalon < PC. *kalonnā? • I. croí, G. cridhe, M. cree < PC. *kridjo- 'heart' (: E. heart, L. cordis).

Hip • W. clun, C. klun < PC. *klouni- 'thigh' • I. cromán, G. croman < PC. krumbo- 'bent' (W. crwm) • B. lez, M. lhesh (see thigh).

Hundred • W. cant, C. kans, B. kant, I. céad, G. ceud, M. keead < PC. *kantom 'hundred' (: E. hundred, L. centum).

Husband • W. gŵr, C. gour, I. fear céile, G. fear pòsda < PC. *wiros 'man' (: OE. wer > E. werewolf, L. vir). I. céile means 'partner, companion' (: W. cilydd); G. pòsda 'married' is from OI. pósta < pósaid 'marry' < L. sponsare • B. pried 'spouse' < L. prīvātus 'individual, private' (W. priod) • M. dooinney < PC. *donjos 'man'.

in-law ◊ 1. father ~ • C. hwegron, MW. chwegrwn < PC. *swekrunos (: OE. swēor, L. socer) • W. tad-yng-nghyfraith, M. ayr 'sy leigh lit. 'father-in-law', a calque of the English which began in Canon law • I. athair céile, G. athair-cèile (see husband) • B. tad-kaer 'beautiful father' (cf. F. beau-père)
2. mother ~ • C. hweger, MW. chwegr < PC. *swekr- (: OE. sweger, L. socrus) • W. mam-yn-nghyfraith, M. moir 'sy leigh • I. máthair-chéile, G. màthair-chèile • B. mamm-gaer
3. son ~ • C. deuv, MW. daw, B. deuf < PC. *dāmos 'retinue' (OI. dám 'retinue'), a derivative of PIE. domo- 'household, home' (L. domus) meaning 'someone belonging to the household' (OW. daum 'client') • W. mab-yng-nghyfraith • I. cliamhain, G. cliamhainn, M. cleuin perhaps < PC. **kleimū, acc. kleimonen, though it is an i-stem in OI. < PIE. ḱlei- 'left; lean' (: W. cledd 'left', E. lean, L. cliēns 'client, follower', clīvus 'slope', clīnātus 'inclined'). The semantics would follow that of L. cliēns 'vassal', presumably 'one who leans on another' and cf. OW daum 'client' > MW. daw 'son-in-law' • B. mab-kaer
4. daughter ~ • C. gohydh, MW. gwaudd, B. gouhez < PC. *wo-sedī or wo-sodjā, both meaning roughly 'sits under' • I. bean mhic, G. bean mhic 'son's wife' • M. ben chleuin 'female son-in-law' • B. merc'h-gaer
5. brother ~ • W. brawd-yng-nghyfraith • C. broder da lit. 'good brother' • B. breur-kaer • I. deartháir céile, G. bràthair-cèile • M. braar 'sy leigh
6. sister ~ • W. chwaer-yng-nghyfraith • C. hwor dha • B. c'hoar-gaer • I. deirfiúr chleamhnais with a feminine form of cliamhain •  G. piuthar-chèile • M. shuyr 'sy leigh.

Knee • W. pen-glin, CB. glin, I. glúin, G. glùin, M. glioon < PC. *glūnos- 'knee' (: E. knee, L. genū)

Leg • I. cos, G. cas, M. cass < PC. *koxsā 'leg'; W. coes is related but must be from cognate L. coxa 'hip' since PC. *koxsā would yield W. *coch • C. garr, B. garr < PC. garrV- 'calf' (OI. gairr 'calf').

Monday • W. Dydd Llun, C. dy'Lun, B. dilun, I. An Luan, G. Diluain, M. Jelune < L. (Diēs) Lūnae 'Monday', lit. 'Day of the Moon'. The word for 'day' is native < PC. dij- 'day' (: E. day, L. diēs), but I. has replaced OI. dia with the article an 'the'.

Mother • W. mam, CB. mamm < PC. *mammā 'mother', a nursery word (cf. Basque ama, Mandarin māma, E. mam, mum, mom etc.) • I. máthair, G. màthair, M. moyr < PC. *mātīr 'mother' (: E. mother, L. māter).

Mouth • W. genow, C. ganow, B. genou < PC. *genowes 'jaws' < *genu- (: OI. gin 'mouth', E. chin) • I. béal, G. beul, M. beeal < PC. *wewlo- 'lip' (: W. gwefl 'lip').

Nail (of finger etc.) • WC. ewin, B. ivin, I. ionga, G. ìne, M. ingin < PC. *angwīnā 'nail' (: E. nail, L. unguis).

Nephew • W. nai, C. noy, B. niz, I. nia < PC. *neϕūts 'nephew, grandson' (: E. nephew < OF. neveu < L. nepos, nepotem; OE. nefa) • G. mac-bràthar, mac-peathar, M. mac braarey, mac shayrey are lit. 'brother's son' and 'sister's son'.

Niece • WC. nith, B. nizh, nizez, I. neacht < PC. nektī, nektā 'granddaughter' (: L. neptis > E. niece; OE. nift) •  G. banta is presumably some derivative of bean 'woman', it occurs in OI. but the eDIL calls it a ghostword • M. inneen vraarey, inneen shayrey 'brother's daughter, sister's daughter'.

Nine • WC. naw, B. nav, IG. naoi, M. nuy < PC. *nawan 'nine' (: E. nine, L. novem).

Nose • W. trwyn, C. tron < PC. trugnī 'nose' (: Galatian droũggos 'nose') • B. fri  < PC. *sregos 'nose' (: C. frig 'nostril') • W. ffroen, I. srón, G. sròn, M. stroin < PC. *srognā 'nose' (OF. froigne > E. frown), from the same root as B. fri.

One • W. un, C. onan, unn, B. unan, IG. aon, M. nane < PC. *oinos, oinā, oinon 'one' (: E. one, L. ūnus)

Parents • W. rhieni < PC. *φro-gen- ? • C. kerens, B. kerent < an affected plural of PC. *karants 'kinsman, relative' (W. câr 'kinsman', pl. ceraint) < PC. *kar- 'love' (: E. whore, L. carō). • I. tuistí related to OI. dofuissim 'beget' < PC. *to-uss-sem-.

Saturday • W. Dydd Sadwrn, C. dy'Sadorn, B. disadorn, I. An Satharn, G. Disatharna, M. Jesarn < L. (Diēs) Saturnī 'Saturday', lit 'Day of Saturn'. (for the words for 'day' see Monday).

Second (ordinal) • W. ail, C. eyl, B. eil, I. dara, G. dàra, M. derrey are all ultimately < PC. *aljos 'other' (OI. aile 'second, other' : L. alius). The Goidelic forms are from a reduplicated PC. *alaljos > OI. alaile 'another' > araile by dissimilation (the exact same development that gives W. arall 'other'), thence with the article prefixed OI. ind araile > dara.

Seven • W. saith, C. seyth, B. seizh, I. seacht, G. seachd, M. shiaght < PC. *sektem 'seven' (: E. seven, L. septem).

Shoulder • W. ysgwydd, C. skoodh, B. skoaz < PC. *skeito- (: OI. scíath 'wing') • IG. gualainn, M. geaylin < PC. gublon-.

Sister • W. chwaer, C. hwor, B. c'hoar, I. deirfiúr, G. piuthar, M. shuyr < PC. *swesūr 'sister' (: E. sister, L. sorōr). The development of the Goidelic forms is as follows:  PC*swesūr became Old Irish siur, with a lenited form fiur. Manx retained the original s- form in shuyr but in Irish and Gaelic the lenited form fiur became predominant. In Irish, the word deirbh 'true' was later added to form deirfiúr (see the Brythonic words for cousin). Meanwhile, Gaelic began to use the genitive forms (OI sethar, fethar) and, at some point after the s- form was lost, it was assumed that the f- form was lenited from original p-, so *fiuthar became piuthar.

Six • W. chwech, C. hwegh, B. c'hwec'h, I. , G. sia, M. shey < PC. *sweks 'six' (: E. six, L. sex).

Skin • W. croen, C. krohen, B. kroc'hen, IG. craiceann, M. crackan < PC. *krokkeno- 'skin', W. from earlier krokno- (cf. also OC. croin).

Son •  WCB. mab, IGM. mac < PC. *makwos 'boy, son'.

Step- ◊ 1. ~father • W. llystad, B. lestad, I. leasathair, G. leas-athair, M. lhiass ayr. Despite the Brythonic and Goidelic forms being almost identical (cf. also W. llysenw, I. leasainm, G. leas-ainm 'nickname', C. leshanow 'pseudonym', B. lesanv 'surname'), there seems to be no concensus on the origin of the first element which, given the considerable overlap in usage, must be of the same origin. Schrijver gives PC. *slissu- > W. llys-, B. lez- and W. ystlys 'side, edge', OI. sliss 'side', but this would not account for I. leas- etc; Matasović gives the etymon of W. ystlys, I. sliss as PC. *stlissu- but does not mention W. llys-.  The eDIL suggests that OI. les- in lesmac, lesmáthair etc. is the same as OI. les 'advantage, benefit, good' (I. leas, W. lles), which hardly explains the use in OI. lesainm. I personally favour a derivative of PC. *letos 'side' > I. leath 'side, half', W. lled 'breadth, width; partly', both of which occur as prefixes meaning 'half-, semi-'. The same PC. root also gives W. llys 'court' and OI. les 'courtyard'. • C. altrow < PC. *altrawū 'foster father' (W. athro 'teacher', B. aotrou 'sir')
2. ~mother • W. llysfam, B. lezvamm, I. leasmháthair, G. leas-mhàthair, M. lhiass voir •  C. altrewen < PC. *altrawonī 'foster mother' (W. elltrewyn, B. itron 'lady')
3. ~son • W. llysfab, B. lezvab, I. leasmhac, G. leas-mhac, M. lhiass vac •  C. els < PC. *altjos 'fosterling' (W. aillt 'vassal, undree peasant')
4. ~daughter • W. llysferch, B. lezverc'h, I. leasiníon, G. leas-nighean, M. lhiass inneen • C. elses, the feminine of els
5. ~brother • W. llysfrawd, C. lesvroder, B. lezvreur, I. leasfeartháir, G. leas-bhràthair, M. lhiass vraar
6. ~sister • W. llyschwaer, C. leshwor, B. lezc'hoar, I. leasdeirfiúr, G. leas-phiuthar, M. lhiass huyr.

Sunday • W. Dydd Sul, C. dy'Sul, B. disul < L. (Diēs) Sōl 'Sunday', lit. 'Day of the Sun'. • I. An Domhnach, G. Didòmhnaich, M. Jedoonee < L. (Diēs) Dominica 'Sunday', lit. 'Day of the Lord'. (for the words for 'day' see Monday).

Ten • WC. deg, B. dek, IG. deich, M. jeih < PC. *dekam 'ten' (: E. ten, L. decem).

Thigh • W. morddwyd, C. mordhos, B. morzhed < PC. *mordeitā, *morjeitā 'thigh' • IG. leis < ?  • M. shleeast < PC. *stlissu- 'side' (: W. ystlys).

Third • W. trydydd, trydedd, C. tressa, B. trede < Br. *tritijos, *tritijā. C. tressa is probably altered by analogy with nessa 'next' used to mean 'second'. • I. tríú is a regular formation with the I. ordinal ending (see fourth). • G. treas and M. trass represent the original Goidelic < OI. tris, tres < PC. *tristos, the regular ordinal in *-tos (: E. third, -th, L. tertius, -tus).

Thousand • WCB. mil, I. míle, G. mìle, M. milley < L. milia, plural of mille 'thousand' (: E. mile).

Three • W. tri, tair, C. tri, teyr, B. tri, teir, I. trí, G. trì, M. tree < PC. *trīs, *tisres (: E. three, L. trēs).

Thursday • W. Dydd Iau, C. dy'Yow, B. diriaou < L. (Diēs) Iovis 'Thursday', lit. 'Day of Jupiter'. • I. An Déardaoin, G. Diardaoin, M. Jardain < OI. etar dá óin 'between two fasts'. (for the words for 'day' see Monday).

Tongue • W. tafad, C. taves, B. teod, IG. teanga, M. çhengey < PC. *tangwat- (: E. tongue, L. lingua hence E. language).

Tooth • WB. dant, C. dans < PC. danto- 'tooth' (: L. dens, E. tooth) • IG. fiacail, M. feeackle < OI. fec < uncertain, perhaps related to PC. wenk- 'bend' (: MI. feccaid 'bends')??

Tuesday • W. Dydd Mawrth, C. dy'Meurth, B. dimeurzh, I. An Mháirt, G. dimàirt, M. Jemayrt < L. (Diēs) Mārtis 'Tuesday', lit. 'Day of Mars'. (for the words for 'day' see Monday)

Twenty • W. ugain, C. ugens, B. ugent, I. fiche, G. fichead, M. feed < PC. *wikantī 'twenty' (: E. twenty, L. vīgintī).

Two • W. dau, dwy, C. dew, diw, B. daou, div, I. , G. , M. jees < PC. *dwāw (m.), *dwei (f.) (: E. two, L. duo).

Uncle • W. ewythr, C. ewnter, B. eontr < PC. *awontīr 'uncle' from the same root as OE. ēam hence Scots eem and presumably M. naim, and L. avunculus 'uncle', which gives E. uncle and the I. borrowing uncail • G. bràthair-màthar, bràthair-athar are lit. 'mother's brother' and 'father's brother'.

Wednesday W. Dydd Mercher, C. dy'Merher, B. dimerc'her < L. (Diēs) Mercuriī 'Wednesday', lit. 'Day of Mercury'. • I. An Chéadaoin, G. Diciadain, M. Jecrean < OI. cétóin 'first fast' < OI. aín 'a fast' perhaps < PC. *joino- (: L. iēiūnus 'fasting'). (for the words for 'day' see Monday)

Wife • W. gwraig, CB. gwreg < PC. *wrakjā 'woman' • IG. bean, M. ben < PC. benā < gwenā (: E. queen; W. benyw 'female').