Irish Language Blog

Bia le Beoir (Aguisín): One More Irish Phrase for a Beer-friendly Snack Food, Cuid / Part 2B of 2 Posted by on Mar 29, 2017 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Every time I think I’m coming down the home stretch with this list of “-fheoil” or “-eoil” words, I think of a few more.  So, in today’s post, we’ll not only look at fiafheoil and oiseoil, as mentioned in previous blogs, but we’ll also start looking at the following words and see how far we get: aineoil (in the medical sense, with “feoil” as “flesh,” not “meat” as such), ilfheoil, mionfheoil, seirgeoil, tarbhfheoil, and toirceoil.  BTW, I’m only trying to look at the actual compound words here, not all the possibilities for “feoil” itself, which would be way longer, even for a sraith (series).  BTW2, in case anyone is just starting this series, yes, it started as a discussion of snacks to go with beoir, but has now morphed (mhorfaigh sé — one of my new favorite words!)  into a discussion of meat in general, since we got started with “muiceoil” for use in the phrase for cracklings (aka pork scratchings).  So, here’s more meat!

First, the two words for venison: fiafheoil and oiseoil

an fhiafheoil, the venison (fia, deer + feoil, meat);  remember both “fh’s” are silent; no plural

fiafheola, of venison

na fiafheola, of the venison


And now the second choice for “venison,” oiseoil:

an oiseoil, the venison (os, deer + feoil, meat); no plural

oiseola, of  venison

na hoiseola, of the venison

When to use fiafheoil and when to use oiseoil?  Mostly I’ve heard and seen, fiafheoil, not that I’ve encountered that word all that often in real life either.  “Os” for “deer” is more of a literary word, although it does give us the well-known derived term “oisín” (fawn, and a man’s name, including the famous “Oisín,” son of Fionn Mac Cumhaill and, according to legend, a woman/deer shapeshifter).

I checked out these words on Google and got 48 reasonably meaningful Google hits for “fiafheoil,” narrowed down from a preliminary count of a whopping 12,100 — one of the biggest gaps I’ve seen in such preliminary vs. final searches.  Following fairly close behind, with 39 reasonably meaningful hits is “oiseoil,” also meaning “venison,” from “os” (a deer).  Not that I’ve totally analyzed all of those 48 or 39 yet, and I did get a chuckle from one stray reference that sneaked into the search, due to a spacing issue the in original document: VAN GOGH, VincentLandscape near Auvers: WheatfieldsJuly 1890, Auvers-sur-OiseOil on canvas.  There’s always a multilingual potential for complete irrelevance in these Google searches, but they usually give us a general idea of a word’s usage.  A fair number of these hits were actually online dictionary entries, which, though good to note, don’t really show the word in a natural context, which is what I’m really looking for.  Oh well!

And now for the others, none of which generally have a plural:

aineoil (ainfheoil), proud flesh re: the healing of wounds,, aka “exuberant granulation tissue,” which presumably would be “fíochán gránúcháin uaibhreach” (although I can’t find it anywhere online or in hard copy).  “Proud Flesh” (in English) is also the name of the following and perhaps more: trí leabhar, albam de chuid Matrix, scannán amháin, eipeasóid amháin de Law & Order: Criminal Intent, agus cineál bróiméiligh (sin bróim—, ní bhaineann sé le “broim”).  “Aineoil” uses the prefix “ain-” (un-, bad, unnatural, over-, etc.).  So, hmm, curious that English calls it “proud,” while Irish looks at it negatively.  And this is using “feoil” in the sense of “flesh” as opposed to “meat” as such.  BTW, this “aineoil” isn’t connected at all to “aineoil” (unknown, strange), which is related to “eolas” (knowledge).  The older spelling (ainfheoil), clarified the difference.  Foirmeacha: an aineoil, aineola, na haineola.

So if a hobbit named “Proudfoot” injured his foot (unlikely given the toughness of their feet) we’d have “proud flesh” on “Proudfoot!

ilfheoil (il-, various + feoil, meat), grammatically “variety meat” but often considered collective, so translated “variety meats,” i.e. meat made by processing meat, often scraps, leftover bits, and organs, such as heart, tongue, or liver.    For what it’s worth, I’ve never encountered this word in real life and I find no trace of it online (searched ilfheoil, hilfheoil, n-ilfheoil, ilfheolta — even though a collective noun shouldn’t need a plural — hilfheolta, n-ilfheolta, which I would say exhausts the prefixes).  All of this does connect to “offal,” but that introduces so much more vocabulary in Irish that I’ll leave it for lá éigin eile.  Gnáthfhoirmeacha: an ilfheoil, ilfheola, na hilfheola.

marbhfheoil, dead meat, as opposed to … I shudder to think.  Or should I say, all I can think of is Douglas Adams’ Restaurant at the End of the Universe.  Or, come to think of it, Klingon “gagh” (serpent worms, served live, stewed, or cold).  Foirmeacha: an mharbhfheoil, marbhfheola, na marbhfheola

mionfheoil (aka feoil mhionaithe), minced meat aka mince meat aka mincemeat aka just “mince,”  No longer generally included as an ingredient in “mincemeat” pies (pióga mionra).  Similar to ground meat (like ground beef), but technically there’s a difference in the processing.  Or at least there’s’ supposed to be.  They seem very similar to me.  Foirmeacha: an mhionfheoil, mionfheola, na mionfheola.

Bhuel, the liosta goes on, so we’ll save the rest for next time and hopefully the last installment in this not-so-mini “mionsraith,” which was already an “aguisín” to the more general topic of beer-related snacks.  From “muiceoil” as in “craiceann muiceola friochta” (cracklings, pork scratchings) all the way to “mionfheoil,” with “seirgeoil,” “tarbhfheoil,” “toirceoil,” and a few more terms left to go, plus a comparison of “bull beef” and “bully beef” i Gaeilge agus i mBéarla.  Aren’t words interesting!  SGF — Róislín


Cuid 1: Bia le Beoir (Aguisín): One More Irish Phrase for a Beer-friendly Snack Food, Cuid / Part 1 Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in Irish Language

Cuid 2A: Bia le Beoir (Aguisín): One More Irish Phrase for a Beer-friendly Snack Food, Cuid / Part 2A of 2 Posted by on Mar 26, 2017 in Irish Language

and for the sneaiceanna beorach in general: Bia le Beoir: Some Irish Words for Good Snack Foods to Eat with Beer Posted by on Mar 20, 2017 in Irish Language

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