Irish Language Blog

Chocolate Redux (well, not really re: ducks, but re: eggs and such): Chocolate Terms in Irish Posted by on Jan 18, 2015 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

I see that the chocolate blog in this series just popped up again on our Facebook site (; bun-nasc thíos).  So I thought it would fun to try some more phrases involving many people’s favorite “bia compoird” — seacláid.

An bhfuil teideal ar bith de dhíth ar an bpictiúr seo? (Attribution: By André Karwath aka Aka (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

An bhfuil teideal ar bith de dhíth ar an bpictiúr seo? (Attribution: By André Karwath aka Aka (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

















One of the first things to remember is that when we’re describing something made “of chocolate,” the form of the word will be either “seacláide” [SHAK-lawdj-uh] or “sheacláide” [HAK-lawdj-uh].  When do we use which?  It depends on “inscne” (gender), in the grammatical sense, and “uimhir” (number, i.e. singular or plural).   Samplaí?  Seo iad:

coinín seacláide, a chocolate bunny

We use “seacláide” (with the regular “s”) because “coinín” is grammatically masculine, even if we’re talking about a female rabbit.  In Irish, a female rabbit is “coinín baineann” — the regular word for “doe” (female deer) is “eilit,” but that doesn’t apply to female rabbits, the way it does in English.  BTW, the male rabbit, the “buck” in English, is simply “coinín fireann” (male rabbit), in Irish.  At any rate, we use “seacláide” for either type of “coinín.”

And how would we say “the chocolate bunny”?  Care to fill in the blank?

1) _____  + coinín seacláide.   Do we need to make any changes to the “chocolate” or “bunny” part of the phrase?  Freagraí thíos.

An taobh amuigh agus an taobh istigh d'ubh uachtair Cadbury (Attribution: By Evan-Amos (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons)

An taobh amuigh agus an taobh istigh d’ubh uachtair Cadbury (Attribution: By Evan-Amos (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons)

And next, how about a chocolate egg, à la the crème de la crème of chocolate eggs, the Cadbury “creme egg.”  The Cadbury creme egg has recently made global headlines (OK, minor, but still global) because of the company’s decision to change the formula for the chocolate shell (mo sheacht mallacht ar an gcinneadh sin!) and to reduce the number of “uibheacha” in a package without a “laghdú comhréireach” in the price.  And by the way, I just double-checked Cadbury’s website to be sure, but, yes, we have no “graif” (grave accent) on the first “e” of “creme” for the chocolate product.  So I can say “crème de la crème” to describe the egg, but just “creme” for the egg itself.  So here, Cadbury joins Lands’ End [sic], Häagen-Dazs, and King’s Cross/Kings Cross with weird or idiosyncratic diacritical/punctuation stuff going on, but, well, its’, úúps, its, úúps, it’s their corporate decision.

Anyway, the distinctive feature of Cadbury’s creme egg is its interior which is dyed to look like it has both the “gealacán” and the “buíocán” as a real egg would.  Cliste!  Most of the uibheacha seacláide sold in the U.S. are, fad m’eolais, either “cuasach” (hollow) or “soladach” (solid, i.e. seacláid ar fad a bhíonns ann, gan “uachtar” mar líonadh).   Some smallish ones might have a cream filling, but I’ve never seen an American brand chocolate Easter egg that shows the “yolk.”

Getting back to grammar, “ubh” (egg) is a feminine noun, so we have:

ubh sheacláide (with lenition)

And, for some practice with the word “the,” can you make any necessary changes for these phrases (freagraí thíos):

2) ____  +  ubh sheacláide, the chocolate egg

3) ___   +  síoróip sheacláide, the chocolate syrup

4) ___   +  éadromóg sheacláide, the chocolate éclair

5) ___   +  cúróg sheacláide, the chocolate soufflé

And how about the plural forms?  Piece o’ cake (císte seacláide, ar ndóigh!)

brioscaí seacláide

cúróga seacláide

uibheacha seacláide

sceallaí seacláide (aka cáithníní seacláide)

donnóga seacláide

No change to the initial “s” in those examples, which included two masculine nouns (briosca, sceall aka cáithnín) and three feminine nouns (cúróg, donnóg, ubh).  In Irish, gender doesn’t typically create a change for the adjective in the plural.

But wait, there’s more (hmm, there s’more?! — since we’re talking chocolate!).  What if we have a noun like “cupán” or “mús,” which become “cupáin” and “múis” when they’ re plural and the subject of a sentence?  Ah, a nicey-wicey little rule comes in.  “Nicey-wicey”?  In ainm Dé!  Bhuel, nod don Dochtúir atá ann.   Cén Dochtúir, bhuel, sin ábhar blag eile.

So we have the plural forms “cupáin” and “múis” [moosh], which have an “i” before the final consonant.  That “i” makes a difference.  The “i” makes the final consonant sound “slender,” like “KUP-aw-in” for “cupáin” (not “KUP-awn”) and “moosh” for “múis” (not “moos,” sounding like “moose,” the animal).

If the cups or the mousse are made of chocolate, the phrases become “cupáin sheacláide” and “múis sheacláide.”  That’s the rule — masculine plural nouns with a slender ending trigger lenition, in this case, “s” becoming “sh” in spelling, with just the “h” actually pronounced.  The “cup” here refers, of course, to the little chocolate cups used in dessert-making, not, of course to cups or mugs for drinking tea or coffee.  Those would be as much use as, say, a chocolate teapot.  Chomh húsáideach le taephota seacláide.  Not to mention being “chomh haisteach le horáiste tochrais.”  Useful or not, I see various people have experimented with making chocolate teapots, mostly to eat, but one chocolatier, John Costello (nice Irish surname!) has actually created a functional chocolate teapot, which can brew for about 2 minutes.  I guess if you pour the hot water out quick enough, the taephota seacláide will retain its shape.  Reminiscent of baking ice-cream, as in “Alasca Bácáilte.”  An nasc:

A cup of hot chocolate (le n-ól) would usually be “cupán seacláid the,” following the new-ish pattern in Irish that genitive case forms aren’t used if the noun phrase is indefinite.   The new rule is still somewhat in flux, but gaining ground.  Anything to minimize genitive-case constructions, some might say.  Moi?  Grá mo chroí an tuiseal ginideach, ach déarfainn nach mothaíonn mórán daoine mar sin.  I cut my teeth on the genitive case, so to speak, studying Latin as a teenager, so I actually enjoyed bouncing from nominative singular to genitive plural and vice versa and inside out.  But I think I may be in the minority with that.

To wrap up, the word “seacláide” (of chocolate) changes form slightly depending on what it’s modifying: coinín seacláide (masculine), ubh sheacláide (feminine), brioscaí seacláide (masculine plural), donnóga seacláide (feminine plural), múis sheacláide (masculine plural with lenition).  Having worked your way through all of that, maybe it’s time for a “sneaic.”  SGF — Róislín

Nasc: Seacláid (Chocolate): An Bia Compoird Is Fearr? Posted on 21. Apr, 2014 by róislín in Irish Language (


1) ___  + coinín seacláide: an coinín seacláide (no changes)

2) ___  +  ubh sheacláide: an ubh sheacláide (no changes)

3) ___   +  síoróip sheacláide: an tsíoróip sheacláide (the usual t-prefixing, as in “an tsráid” and “an tsúil“)

4) ___   +  éadromóg sheacláide:  an éadromóg sheacláide (no changes)

5) ___   +  cúróg sheacláide: an chúróg sheacláide (the usual lenition, with “c” becoming “ch”)

Gluaisín: aisteach, strange, unusual; donnóg, brownie (food); éadromóg, éclair; tochras, winding, winding up.  Together with “oráiste” (orange), it could be translated as, bhuel … got it?

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  1. Fearn:

    An bhfuil teideal ar bith de dhíth ar an bpictiúr seo?

    Cruach sheacláide? Sliabh sheacláide? Suiteáil sheacláide? An iomarca seacláide? Aisling sheacláide? Leaca seacláide ar muin a chéile?

    • róislín:

      @Fearn Go raibh maith agat as scríobh isteach, a Fearn. Is maith liom na teidil go léir! Ach sílim gur fearr liom “An iomarca seacláide?” mar cheist mar theideal. B’fhéidir le “Neamhfhéadarthacht!” ina dhiaidh agus go mór mór má scríobhann muid mar “an yum-arca seacláide” é! GRMA arís!

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