Focal an Lae #202
The Word of the Day in Irish

Word: briathar (BREE-uh-huhr) [b′r′iːəhər]

Meaning: briathar = word; verb


History: Old Irish “bríathar” (word) and Welsh “brwydr” (battle, conflict) both come from Indo-European *bhrei-trā (quarrel), from the root *bhrēi- (to cut, break). The semantic transition from “quarrel” to “word” may seem extreme, but exactly the same thing has happened with Scottish Gaelic “bruidhinn”, which is the ordinary word for “talk, speak”. It comes from Old Irish “bruiden”, which means “quarrel”, and its cognate in Modern Irish, “bruíon”, still means “quarrel”. The Indo-European root *bhrēi- is also the origin of Irish “bris” (break), which was Focal #144.

Scottish Gaelic: briathar

2008-06-19 CPD