Here a few of the more interesting etymologies that I’ve come up with in the course of the research that I’ve been doing for the Vindonian language that I’m creating. Following are entries from my Vindonian wordlist, along with some commentary…

glaghu (glaghwa) m : rain [< *glagwon < *glaghwom ‘clatter, rattle, pitter-patter’; B glav; W glaw] {cf. PGmc *klakkōną > Eng clack & Fr claquer; cf. also Lat clangere (clangō) ‘clang, sound out’}

The usual reconstruction of the Proto-Celtic is *glaw-, but this would be the same as the Proto-Celtic word for “coal” (*glaw-, not *glow-). Note the complete disappearance of medial -g- in Brittonic. [Added August 21, 2022] I eventually realized some time after posting this that Latin clangere does not belong in this etymology due to its initial c- instead of g-. Instead, Latin clangere is related to Gaulish *clocca ‘bell’, OIr cluiche ‘game, play’ (< PrCelt *klokjon) and PrGmc *hlahhjaną > Eng laugh.

gníjom (gníjed) : create [< *gnīje/o– < *gnēje/o– < *g’neh1-je/o-; G neI anmanbe gniIou ‘I do not create by names’ (Châteaubleau); OIr gníid ‘make, do’] >>> genjom

adnajom (adnajed) : recognize [< *ati-gna– < *ati-gnina– < *g’ṇh3-na-; PBrit *ati-gna-bute/o– > B anavout, anavezout & W adnabod, nabod; OIr ad-gnin < *ati-gnina-] {cf. PGmc *kunnaną (< *g’ṇh3-na-) > Eng can, Du kunnen, Ger können} >>> gnájom

This etymological discussion for gníjom should be compared with the discussion of gniIou on page 182 of Xavier Delamarre’s Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise in which gniIou is related to Old Irish ad-gnin ‘know, recognize’ rather than Old Irish gníid (or gniïd). As indicated in the second entry above (adnajom), Old Irish ad-gnin is in fact related to Breton anavout and Welsh adnafod. A Gaulish cognate to these would probably have been either *adgnināmi or perhaps *adgnāmi (or possibly *adgnināIou/*adgnāIou).

kaffom (kaffed) : find [< *kaffe/o– < *kasφe/o– < *kaspe/o-; B kavout < MB caffout; C kavos ‘find, get, have’; W caffael, caffel ‘get, obtain’ (merged with cael)] {cf. PGmc *haspijǭ > Eng hasp} >>> kaghom

kaghom (kaghed) : have, contain [< *kage/o– < *kagh-; B kaout; W cael] >>> kaffom

It is usually thought that the Breton and Welsh verbs without a medial consonant (kaout/cael) are modified forms of the verbs with -v-/-ff- (kavout/caffael). My opinion is that these are in fact two separate verbs – only Breton has kept them totally distinct. Note the development of -ff- from -sφ- in the first verb above.

kuls (kulsa) m : vagina [< *kultson < *kuls-tom; B kourzh ‘vulva’] {cf. PGmc *hulistrą > Eng holster}

I think the semantic connection between “holster” and “vagina” is clear enough.

uzar : cold [< *usaros < *h1eus– ‘burn, singe’; W oer; OIr úar] {meaning of *h1eus– transferred in Celtic from sensation of heat to sensation of cold; W and OIr < *usaros rather than **ougros; for G month name Ogronios >>> aireine; OIr úacht ‘cold(ness)’ < *us-axtus (not **ouxtus); cf. Lat ūrere (ūrō) ‘burn’, Gr heuein (heuō) ‘singe’, PGmc *uzjǭ ‘fire’ > *aimuzjǭ > Eng ember; no relation to Lat auctumnus, autumnus < *h2eug– ‘increase’; possible relation to Latv auksts ‘cold’ < austs (with intrusive –k-) < *aus– or *aus-sk– ?< *h1ous-(ske/o-)}

I have believed for a long time that the form *ougros as the origin of Old Irish úar and Welsh oer did not in fact exist, all evidence for it being either unconvincing or mistaken.

varedom (vareded) : help, assist [< *warete/o-; B gwarediñ ‘shelter, protect’; W gwared, gwaredu ‘save, redeem, deliver, rid’; OIr fo-reith ‘help, aid, succour’] {cf. PGmc *wardāną > Eng ward, as well as PGmc *warjaną ‘ward off’, *warnōną ‘warn’, *warōną ‘watch’} {alternatively explained as from *worete/o– < *uφo-rete/o– ‘run beneath’, which would be a calque of Lat succurrere, on the basis of the (probably artificial) OIr form, but *worete/o– would normally have become **goured– in B and **gored– in W}

There are a few examples of words being artificially modified due to a resemblance with other etymologically unrelated words, such as Old Irish fo-reith in this instance. Such artificially modified words can obviously be misleading. Another example of this would be Old High German weralt “world” which appears to be from wer “man” + alt “age” but is in fact from Proto-Germanic *weruldiz. I dealt with this Proto-Germanic term in my post called “Vellaunos” –

zof : wonderful, delightful [< *soffos < *sosφos < *sos-pos; W hoff ‘dear, fond, favorite’; ? cf. OIr subaigidir (< *sosφ-age/o-) ‘delight in’] {cf. Lat sospes ‘saving, delivering’ < *sos-pets; cf. also PGmc *samftijaz (< *som-p(e)ti-) > Eng soft, Ger sanft}

At first, I thought that the Welsh hoff might be from the Latin sospes, but I eventually realized that Lat sospes probably would have become **sosb in Welsh. Note also that this word shows the development of -ff- from -sφ-, as in kaffom above.

nedjom (nedjed) : fly [< *netje/o– (?); B nijal < MB nigal; C neyja < MC nyge; W neidio ‘jump, leap’] {g in MB & MC for [ʒ] or [dʒ]; W naid < *neid; no relation to G duscelinatia < *dus-kelin(o)-at(o)-ja}

zedjom (zedjed) : flap [< *setje/o-; B hejañ ‘shake, wave’; W hedeg ‘fly’]

zontjom (zontjed) : direct, point to [< *sontje/o-; B heñchañ ‘conduct, direct, guide’] {cf. PGmc *sandijaną (< *sont-eje/o-) > Eng send}

These three terms show the development in Breton (and Cornish) of the affricates -tsh- and -dzh- (later -sh- and -zh-) from -tj- and -dj-, this development not occurring in Welsh.

nit (nitta) m : nest [< *nitton < *nisdom; B neizh; W nyth] {cf. Lat nīdus; cf. also PGmc *nestą > Eng nest} >>> rattom for -sd- > -tt-

rattom (ratted) : scrape [< *ratte/o– < *rasde/o-; B razhañ; W rhathu] {cf. Lat rādere (rādō) < *rasde/o-; cf. also Lat rōdere (rōdō) ‘gnaw’; cf. also Skr radati} >>> nit for -sd- > -tt-

These two terms show the development of -tt- from -sd- (probably) in Proto-Celtic, this later becoming -th- in Brittonic.

jegom (jeged) : say [< *jeke/o-; Late G (Châteaubleau) Iegumi, Iexsete, Iexstumi, IegiIinna] {voicing of intervocalic –k– to –g– in Late Gaulish as also in Brittonic} {cf. Lat jocus ‘joke’; cf. also PGmc *jehaną ‘speak, say’} >>> monegijom

The Châteaubleau tile interestingly shows the voicing of the k sound to a g sound in late Gaulish, as also happened in Brittonic.

ander : original, primeval, primordial, primitive, pristine [< *anderos < *ṇdheros; G brixtia anderon “by the magic of the primeval ones” (Chamalières)] {cf. PGmc *underaz > Eng under; cf. also Skr adhara ‘low, inferior’}

andern (anderne) f : virgin [< *andernā < *ander(o)-nā “pristine one”; B annoar (annoared, annoarezed) ‘heifer’; W anner (aneirod, anneri, annerau) ‘heifer’; G andernados “of the (sorority of) virgins” (Larzac); OIr ainder ‘virgin, maiden’ > Ir ainnir ‘girl, maiden, lass’] {for the –ernā ending, cf. PGmc *þewernǭ ‘servant girl, maid’} {The word andernados on the lead tablet of Larzac is usually thought to refer to the “infernal ones”. The word ueronadas which also appears on Larzac is usually thought to mean “upper ones” (uer– < *uφer), apparently the antonym of andernados. But just as I connect the word andernados with the word anderna “virgin”, I also connect the word ueronadas with a possible *uerona “married” (literally “manned”), this being a derivative of uer “man”: mnas ueronadas would mean “married women” (literally “manned women”). Rather than an infernal/upper opposition, there may actually be a virginal/married opposition.}

The first of these two entries relates to my recent post about Proto-Celtic ītselos ( in which I pointed out that Latin īnferus is certainly not an exact cognate of English under, Sanskrit adhara or Gaulish anderos (under ‘anderos’, p. 47, Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise – “andero– est l’exact équivalent phonétique du Latin īnferus…”). The second entry already has its own rather full commentary…