Which Celtic Words Survive In The English Language?


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Julii Brainard Profile
Julii Brainard answered
Precious few. Surprising, really, given for how long the Celts were dominant in Europe and especially in Britain (land of the Celts, as the Romans first called it).

It's pretty apparent that the Anglo Saxons (who came to Britain in the early middle ages) tried to suppress the Celts, but they also intermarried at times. But by the time the Normans in 1066 came the Celts were even more firmly placed at the bottom at the social pile, which was the social position of their language, too.

Some of the few ordinary words in English that are thought to have Celtic origins re noggin, gob, slogan, bucket, car, bog, banshee, corgi (the dog breed), crockery, gaol, flannel and truant. Brock as a name for a badger..

Otherwise the Celtic language mostly persists in Britain in place names. Breedon on the Hill, in Leicestershire, for instance, is a combination of two Celtic words: bre and dun ("Hill Fort" or "Brown Hill"). Other Celtic words for landscape that we still hear in modern placenames are pen (hill), Combe/Coombe (from kumb, which means valley), bod (dwelling) and tor (rock).


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