Old Breton Glosses

The list below is taken from Old Breton Glosses by Whitley Stokes (1879). The glosses themselves occur in several old texts: (a) Amalarius' De Divinis Oficiis, written ad 952; (b) The Berne Codex; (c) several copies of the Collatio Canonum written in the 8th century. The comments are based on Stokes' work, with additional information and alternative explanations in some cases.

Old Breton Latin Gloss Comments
aaltin ferula 'cane' A bad gloss, the word is B. aotenn 'razor' preceded by the preposition a 'of, from'. c
acepriou laquearibus 'panelled ceilings' The source reads: laquearibus .i. aninou vel acepriou. B. kebr 'rafter' with the plural ending B. -ioù. The initial a- is the preposition B. a 'of, from'. b
aceruission hirsutis 'rough, shaggy, hairy' A derivative of B. garv 'rough', preceded by the preposition a 'of, from' and ending with the plural B. -ien. Stokes refers -iss- to the ending of adjectives such as W. dilys 'genuine, certain, sincere', hysbys 'known, evident; conscious' (also dyrys 'wild, rough; cunning, clever', echrys 'terrible', melys 'sweet'), though W. -ys is not a productive derivative suffix. The ending occurs in B. melis 'honeyed', which has clearly been taken as a derivative of B. mel 'honey', so it's possible that the ending spread and became productive at an early time, though it has left little trace in the modern language. It should be noted, however, that garv is an adjective and not a noun, as mel is. Overall, quite uncertain. c
acronnmain cylindro 'cylinder' B. krenn 'round' and maen 'stone', preceded by the preposition a 'of, from'. b
admet passae 'dishevelled, dried' B. azv, aneved 'ripe'. c
aguirtitou fusis 'spindles' B. gwerzhid 'spindle' with the plural ending -où. The initial a- is the preposition B. a 'of, from'. b
aiul ultro 'voluntarily' Based on B. youl, ivoull 'will, desire' preceded by the preposition a 'of, from'. c
amsauath vicarius 'substitute; vicar' Modern Breton has emsavadeg 'lifting, raising', an adjective based on this word. The elements are Br. *ambe- 'around' (W. am-), B. sav 'rising', and the agent ending B. -ad. b
amuoet fastu 'pride' Perhaps equivalent to W. ymchwydd 'swelling, pride' (literally 'self-swelling', B. c'hwezh 'inflation, swelling; vanity') though the form does not fit well. Alternatively, equivalent to W. mwyad 'an increase' < mwy 'more', B. mui preceded by the preposition B. a 'of, from'. c
aninou laquearibus 'panelled ceilings' The source reads: laquearibus .i. aninou vel acepriou. The equivalent of W. nen 'ceiling' with the plural ending -où. The initial a- is the preposition B. a 'of, from'. b
annaor quandoquidem 'since' The exact equivalent of W. nawr 'now' < MW. yn awr 'this hour'. B. eur 'hour'. b
aruanta ultro ambit 'voluntarily goes around' Possibly a verb with PC. *φari- 'fore-' and B. c'hoantaat 'to desire, envy'. c
ar uuo art hui vos fascinavit 'has charmed or enchanted you' Possibly for *aruuoart hui from a verb PC. *φari-wo-gar- < *φari- 'fore- pre-', *wo- 'below, sub-' and the root *gar- 'call, speak' which gives a wealth of words across Brythonic and Gaelic: OI. fogur 'a sound' (< PC. *wo-gar-), W. gawr 'shout, cry, clamour', WB. garm 'shout, cry', G. goir 'call, cry', G. farraid 'ask, inquire' (< PC. *wo-gar-t- ?), W. gair 'word', BC. ger 'word'. Of particular note are: (i) OI. adobragart, the perfect of adgair 'sues, prosecutes, impleads, accuses; forbids, prevents' (< PC. *ati-gar- 'speak to'), which also glosses L. vos fascinavit 'he has seduced you'; (ii) OI. argair 'forbids, hinders, prevents' (< PC. *φari-gar- 'fore-speak') and the abstract noun airgart 'something prohibited; ban, prevention'. The latter is another name for OI. geis, the kind of curse or taboo placed on a literary character preventing them from doing certain things; hence we can see connections between our proposed word *aruuoart and concepts of bewitching, or controlling through words. OI. argart and ararogart, the preterite and perfect of argair, also show the stem had a t-preterite, which might explain the final -t of *aruuoart (c.f. MW. cymerth 'he took' from cymeraf 'I take'). The final element hui is B. c'hwi 'you'. c
attanoc musca volitans 'flying fly' The source reads: musca volitans .i. attanoc .i. clehurin. B. adanek 'winged'. b
biunrun epimachus [ophiomachus] 'grasshopper; locust' Perhaps for *bianran from B. bihan 'small' and ran 'frog' (< L. rāna 'frog'), a descriptive name for a grasshopper. c
blinder segnitia 'slowness, sloth' B. blinder 'exhaustion'. a
bocion putres 'rotten, crumbling' Plural of B. bouk 'soft' (see buc below). b
bodin manus 'hand; host' Like W. byddin 'army, host'. b
broolion patrias 'country, fatherland' An adjectival derivative of B. bro 'country' with the plural ending now B. -ien. b
buc putris 'rotten, crumbling' B. bouk 'soft'. b
buorth bovello 'cow yard' B. buorzh 'enclosure for cows'. c
camadas habilis 'suitable, skillful, nimble' Equivalent to W. cyfaddas 'suitable, fit, proper'. a
caubal lembum 'fast ship' W. ceubal, C. kowbal 'ferry' < L. caupulus. b
cauell vannus 'winnowing basket' B. kavell 'cradle'. b
caul piacula 'sacrifice, sin, guilt' Equivalent to W. cŵl 'fault, blame, offence; sin'. c
cest fiscina 'small basket' The source reads: fiscina .i. ser vel cest. B. kest 'hive, basket'. b
clehurin musca volitans 'flying fly' The source reads: musca volitans .i. attanoc .i. clehurin. W. cleren, clehyryn 'horsefly'. b
clou acitamenta ? Uncertain. The gloss may be for acutamenta 'thing made sharp' and clou may be a borrowing of L. clāvus 'nail' (c.f. B. enklaouiñ 'to nail').
cnoch tumulus 'mound, hill' B. krec'h 'summit, mount'. b
coarcholion canabina [cannabina] 'hemp' D derivative of B. kouarc'h 'hemp' with the plural ending, now B. -ien. b
cocitou intiba 'endive' B. kegid 'hemlock' with the plural ending -où. b
controliaht controversiam 'quarrel, dispute, lawsuit' B. kontreliezh 'objection, contradiction; argumentativeness' from kontrel, kontrol 'contrary, unfavourable; the opposite', a borrowing from L. contrārius 'opposite, opposed' with the abstract ending -iezh. c
corcid ardea 'heron' B. kerc'heiz 'heron'. b
cornigl cornix 'crow' B. kornigell, W. cornicyll 'lapwing' < L. cornīcula 'little crow'. b
cosmid serum 'whey' The source reads: serum .i. meid vel cosmid. A compound of B. keuz, W. caws 'cheese' and W. maidd 'whey'. b
costadalt aeditui 'sacristan, priest' The first element may be borrowed from L. custōdem (acc.) 'custodian, guardian' and the second may be equivalent to OI. alt 'house', though this explanation is not very satisfactory since neither word has any cognates in any of the Brythonic languages, except W. cwstos 'custodian', which is late and learned. c
couann noctuam 'owl' B. kaouenn 'owl'. c
couarcou serta 'bound together, interwoven' Seemingly the same word as W. cyfarch 'greeting, address' with the plural ending B. -où. b
cunnaret boestol beluina rabies 'animal madness, bestial rage' B. kounnar, konnar 'rabies' (W. cynddaredd 'rage, anger; rabies') and a borrowing from L. bēstia 'beast' (W. bwyst 'beast') with the adjective ending B. -el (e.g. aelel 'angelic' < ael 'angel'). c
cunrunt vorticem montis 'moutain summit' The first element may be related to OI. conn 'bulge, protuberance', to W. cwnnu 'raise' (the origins of which are obscure), or to the slightly dubious Gaul. cuno- 'high'. The second may be B. ront 'round'. c
dadlou, dadluo andronas 'places where men talk'; curiae 'courts, meeting-houses' B. dael 'debate, assembly' (W. dadl 'argument, dispute, meeting') in the plural daeloù. It seems that the word meant 'meeting place' as well as 'assembly', c.f. B. daeldi 'court'.  c
daliu fuscus 'dark, black' An error for *duliu 'black colour'. B. du 'black', liv 'colour'. b
dehlouetic accommodata 'suitable, appropriate' Formed like W. delwedig 'motionless, formed', a verbal adjective of a denominative verb from delw 'image, form, mode, manner' (B. delv 'statue'). The meaning is probably closer to W. delwig 'comely, shapely, well-formed'. c
daureth foedam 'filthy, foul, disgusting' Unknown. b
deleiou antemnarum 'yards, antennas' B. delez 'yard, antenna' with plural ending -ioù. b
deuo attacus 'locust' Unknown. Perhaps related to B. deviñ 'to burn' (cf. W. deifio 'to singe, burn, scorch, blight, blast'), in the sense of something which causes total destruction. c
discou lances 'dishes, platters' Borrowed from L. discus 'dish, discus' with the plural ending -où. B. disk 'disk'. b
doromantorion auspicibus 'augurs, priests' A strange word, supposedly equivalent to L. praemonitor 'one who forewarns'. Some form of Proto-Celtic stem with PC. *φro- 'before' and *men- 'mind, thinking' is possible, but the agent suffix -or is Latin, so the word may simply be L. monitor 'admonisher' with the Celtic prefix added. The first element do- is the preposition B. da 'to' and the final element is the plural ending, now B. -ien. b
douretit angruit turpi 'ugly, foul' Unknown.
duglas ceruleus 'dark blue' A compound of B. du 'black' and glas 'blue'. W. dulas 'deep blue', B. glasdu 'dark blue'. b
elestr hibiscum 'mallow' B. elestr 'iris, gladioli'. b
endlim fenus [faenus] 'interest, gain, profit' Perhaps a verbal noun like W. ennill 'to win, earn; gain, profit, income' with the Breton verb noun ending -iñ.
ent crafho inopportunius 'unsuitable' crafho may be for B. krafoc'h, the comparative of B. kraf 'greedy; a miser; a grip, hold', C. kraf 'greedy, miserly', W. craff 'tenacious, keen, firm, steadfast; a hold, grip'. The relationship to inopporunius is not clear. The first element, ent is probably the same as that seen in B. end-eeun 'precisely', an adverb formed from eeun 'right' (W. iawn 'right; very'). This is a remnant of an older form of B. en 'in', seen elsewhere as an adverb-forming particle: W. yn, C. en and possibly OI. in, ind, int. c
enterafib ambit 'goes around' The elements are probably B. etre- 'inter-, between' (C. ynter, yntra 'between') and B. fiñ 'movement', fiñal 'move', related to W. chwŷf 'motion'. c
ercentbidite notabis 'you will note' The source reads: notabis .i. agnosces vel signabis .i. ercentbidite. B. argantvoud 'perceive' with the 2nd person pronoun te 'you' (B. argantvezi-te). b
esceilenn cortina 'curtain' Formed from the same root as G. sgàil 'shade, shadow' with the singulative ending B. -enn. b
ethin rusco, rusci 'butcher's broom' C. eythin, W. eithin 'gorse, furze'. b
gloiatou labet Actually glosses nitentia 'shining, glittering, bright'. B. gloev 'clear'. b
guaan scurilis [scurrilis] 'jeering' Perhaps the same word as B. gwan 'weak, vain' or a derivative of B. gwa 'misfortune, mishap, bad luck' (W. gwae 'woe, anguish, adversity'). The connection with L. scurra 'jester, dandy' and possibly OB. guanorion 'actors' makes the latter explanation more attractive. c
guanorion istriones 'actors' Perhaps related to B. gwaner 'person who is punished; ascetic' from gwan 'weak', with the plural ending B. -ien. (see also guaan above). c
guascotou frigora 'cold' Actually glosses umbras 'shadows, shades'. B. gwasked 'shelter, refuge' with plural ending -où. b
guilannou fulice [fulicae] 'coots' B. gouelan 'gull' with the plural ending -où. b
guinodroitou plagae 'hunting nets A compound with a now lost borrowing from L. vēnātus 'hunting' (cf. B. gwinaer 'hunter' < L. vēnātor) and B. roued 'net' < L. rēte 'net'. b
guinuclou venabula 'hunting spears' Perhaps from some Vulgar Latin diminutive based on the stem of L. vēnor 'I hunt', vēnātus 'hunting', as if L. vēnābulum was replaced with vēnāculum in line with numerous other diminutives (c.f. F. oreille 'ear' < VL. oricula < auris 'ear', Spanish oveja 'sheep' < VL. ovicula < L. ovis 'sheep'). For the first syllable see guinodroitou above and for the second, see cornigl). The ‹u› of -ucl- is hard to explain, except as a scribal error or misreading of ‹i›. Stokes' assertion that 'the suffix -ucla is Celtic' based on W. mwnwgl 'neck' is incorrect: the origin is PC. -iklo-, as seen in cognate OI. muinél, and the Welsh is due to assimilation. b
gulcet agipam ? B. golc'hed 'duvet, quilt'. c
guohethe probum [probrum] 'disgraceful, infamous' B. gwashañ 'worst', superlative formed from gwazh 'worse' (W. gwaeth, gwaethaf 'worse, worst', C. gweth, gwettha 'worse, worst'). c
guohi fucos 'drone' The source reads: fucos .i. satron vel guohi. C. gohien 'wasp'. b
guorail supercilium 'eyebrow' B. ael 'eyebrow' with the prefix gour- 'over'. b
gutric defer [differ] 'delay, defer' The equivalent of W. godrig 'stay, remain; delay' < trigo 'stay, dwell, remain'. c
heuanemdoguot se ingerit 'carries himself' Initial heu- is B. 'he' and -anem- is the reflexive particle B. en em (e.g. en em lazhet 'killed himself'). The stem -dog- is probably that of B. dougen 'carry' whilst -uot may be the verb noun ending B. -oud or some verbal ending. c
huital pabule [papulae] 'pimples' B. c'hwidolenn 'anthrax', W. chwydalen 'blister, pustule'. b
ihepcorim cassum 'empty, lacking useless' Like W. hebgor 'to despense with, forgo, omit' with the verb noun ending, now B. -iñ. The initial i- is the preposition en 'in'. b
int coucant non minus 'not less' The source reads: nihilominus nihil minus sic quoque .i. non minus nahulei vel int coucant. Identical to W. yn geugant 'certainly'. For an explanation of int, see ent crafho above. a
inuanetou incaenis [enæniis] 'secular festivals' Highly uncertain. The first element is probably B. en- 'in-' and the last is certainly the plural ending -où. The meaning of -uanet- is uncertain. Possibly related to or an error for B. banvez 'banquet' (G. banais 'wedding (feast)', OI. banais 'wedding feast, inauguration feast, banquet, feast'). c
iscartholion stupea 'of tow' The plural of an adjective formed with B. -ien. B. eskarzh 'excretion', skarzh 'drained', karzh 'cleaning, flushing', W. carth 'tow; sweepings, excrement', ysgarth 'excrement, dregs'. b
latic agipam ? A borrowing from L. lōdīx 'blanket'. c
libiriou lapsus 'slipping, gliding' The source reads: lapsus .i. libiriou vel stloitprenou. Perhaps the same as W. llyfr 'runner (of sledge etc.)' with the plural ending B. -ioù Though that word is not recorded until 1803, it is probably a derivative of PC. *slib-, which gives B. levn 'smooth, polished', lemm 'sharp', W. llyfn 'smooth', llym 'sharp', llymu 'sharpen, whet' etc. The word is related to E. slip, L. lūbricus 'slippery, slimy'. b
libiriou transtris 'crossbeam; thwart' Possibly an error for *dibiriou 'saddles' (B. dibr, C. diber, W. dibr 'saddle'. b
limn lentum 'sticky, slow, flexible' B. levn 'polished, smooth'. b
limncollin tilia 'lime tree' Literally 'smooth hazel tree' from B. levn 'smooth' and kollenn 'hazel'. b
limncollou tiliae Plural form of limncollin, with the ending -où. b
luscou oscilla 'little masks' The scribe must have thought oscilla meant 'swings' from L. oscillāre 'to swing'. The word here is B. lusk 'movement, motion' with the plural ending -où. b
mabcauuelou conabula [cunabula] 'cradles' B. mab 'son' (previously 'boy') and kavell 'cradle' (< VL. cauuella 'basket') with the plural ending -où. b
meid serum 'whey' The source reads: serum .i. meid vel cosmid. W. maidd 'whey'. b
melgabr ligustra 'privets' The first element is cognate with C. myll 'poppy', W. meillion 'clover'; the second is B. gavr 'goat'. Hence 'goat poppy', a type of flower. b
mod gomor 'gomer; measure of dry weight' A borrowing from L. modus 'measure, size'. c
nahulei non minus 'not less' The source reads: nihilominus nihil minus sic quoque .i. non minus nahulei vel int coucant. Probably an attempt to directly translate L. nihilōminus 'nonetheless', the first element is B. na 'not' and the last is the equivalent of W. llai 'less'. Stokes says that nahu- is the same as naou- in B. naouac'h 'nevertheless, however', but that word is a compound of B. na 'not' and c'hoazh 'yet, again', so naou- is not a real element. No explanation of -hu- is forthcoming. a
nionuret idem venturos (.i. nos) tollemus in astra nepotes 'it is we who will raise to the stars the descendants who shall come after' The first elements are B. ni 'we' and hon 'our'. The last element may be a scribal error for *unet, a borrowing from L. unitas 'unity, sameness, oneness' (W. uned 'unity; unit') or some other derivative of B. un 'one' meaning 'the same'. If so, the word would be the equivalent of B. ni hon-unan 'us ourselves'. b
nith nepta [*neptia] 'niece' B. nizez (previously nizh) 'niece'. c
ousor opilio 'shepherd' W. heusor 'shepherd', from the same root as OI. 'sheep'. b
pritiri iactura 'about to throw, send, emit' An error by the scribe. The word is B. prederi 'worry, concern; thought, reflection'. b
racloriou proscenia 'prosceniums' A compound of B. rag 'before' and leur 'floor, area' with the plural ending -ioù. b
rannou climatibus 'regions' B. rann 'part, division' with the plural ending -où. c
saltrocion graciles 'slender, thin' Actually glosses vitiosae 'faulty, corrupt, wicked'. B. saotr 'trampled, fouled, sullied; a sprain, stain, blemish' with the adjectival ending B. -ek and the plural -ien. c
satron fucos 'drone' The source reads: fucos .i. satron vel guohi. B. sardonenn 'bumblebee'. b
scobarnocion auritos 'having large ears' B. skouarneg 'long-eared bat', skouarnek 'white-eared', the meanings is probably closer to the C. skovarnek 'hare; big-eared'. The ending is the plural, now B. -ien. b
ser fiscina 'small basket' The source reads: fiscina .i. ser vel cest. Possibly borrowed from L. sēria 'tall jar' or a scribal error for per 'cauldron, basin' (W. pair 'cauldron'). b
stloitprenou lapsus 'slipping, gliding' The source reads: lapsus .i. libiriou vel stloitprenou. The second element is B. prenn 'wood' with the plural ending -. The first is related to B. stlejal 'drag, tow', stlej 'trailing; train' and shares its origins with E. slide. Hence stloitprenou means something like 'wooden sliders'. b
tar ventrem 'belly, stomach, womb' B. tor 'belly, paunch, abdomen'. b
torleberieti phitonistarum [pythonissarum] 'witches' A literal translation of late L. ventriloquus < venter 'stomach, belly' and loquī  'to speak', originally a method of divination or clairvoyance. The word is a compound of B. tor 'belly, paunch, abdomen', lavar 'to speak' and the agent suffix -iad with the plural ending -i (now B. -idi as in lazhidi 'victims'). c
tracl larum 'gull' Perhaps intended to be B. drask 'thrush' (W. tresglen 'thrush'), or a borrowing of L. trochilus 'a small bird'. c
trot strutionem 'ostrich' Possibly a loan from the Latin strūtiō, strūthiō 'ostrich' (C. strus, W. estrys 'ostrich'; modern B. lotrus is < OF. l'ostruce), though it looks much like B. tred 'starling' (W. drudwen, C. troos 'starling'). c
truch obtusi 'dull, blunt' B. trouc'ha 'slice, cut', W. trwch 'broken', C. tregh 'a cut, slice'. b
ueruencou verbenas 'vervain' A loan from L. verbenāca. b
uileou violas 'violets' A loan from the Latin with the plural ending B. -où. b
utgurthconeti obnixus 'resisted, opposed' The initial elements are prepositions: ut is now lost in the Brythonic languages, but occurs as a prefix in Gaelic, e.g. OI. ossad 'respite, truce', odbrann 'ankle'; gurth is B. ouzh 'against', W. wrth 'against'. The final element is probably an error for the verbal adjective *-etic (W. -edig). The verb itself may be related to W. cwnnu 'rise, rise up', the origins of which are not clear. b