Focal an Lae #30
The Word of the Day in Irish

Word: bainne (BAN-yuh)

Meaning: bainne = milk


History: Old Irish “bannae” has the primary meaning of “drop”, but its semantic range shifted to “drop of milk”, then just “milk”. The primary meaning appears in the old triad “Trí bainne cétmuintire: bainne fola, bainne dér, bainne aillse” (= Three drops of a wife: a drop of blood, a tear drop, a drop of sweat). The common word for “milk” in Old Irish was “lacht”, borrowed from Latin “lac, lactis” (cf. lactose, lactate). “Lacht” is still in use in Irish, but mainly restricted to the technical meaning “a cow’s yield of milk”. The word “bannae” was possibly borrowed from P-Celtic -- cf. Breton “banne” (= drop) -- and Pokorny posits an Indo-European root *band- (drop).

Scottish Gaelic: bainne (BAHN-yuh)

2008-06-19 CPD