Irish Language Blog

Cineálacha Eile Peile Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Cén cluiche é seo?

Cén cluiche é seo?  Grafaic:

We recently covered some soccer terms (téarmaí sacair) in this blog and briefly discussed the term “sacar” used in Irish, as opposed to “peil,” which is usually used for “peil ghaelach.”

Even though “peil” usually means the football itself, or the game of football, it can also be used to create the names of some other sports.  See if you can match the following prefixes up with various other games played with balls, first creating the Irish word and then the English (uimhr. 1-4).  Then (uimhr. 5-7) we’ll look at a couple of “ball” games that don’t include the word “ball” in their name in Irish.

1. eit + peil: ___________________  (ainm i nGaeilge)  __________ (ainm i mBéarla)

2. cis + peil:  ___________________  (ainm i nGaeilge)  __________ (ainm i mBéarla)

3. cic + peil: ___________________  (ainm i nGaeilge)  __________ (ainm i mBéarla)

4. líon + peil: ___________________  (ainm i nGaeilge)  __________ (ainm i mBéarla)

Freagraí thíos

Cén cluiche é seo?  Liathróid láimhe.

Cén cluiche é seo? Liathróid láimhe. Grafaic:

Next we have a little mix and match for a few ball games that don’t include any word for “ball” in their name in Irish but do in English.  That is, not “peil,” or the next logical candidate, “liathróid.”  The word “liathróid,” of course, occurs in the name of at least one additional popular sport, “handball,” which is “liathróid láimhe” [LEE-uh-HROHDJ LAW-vuh], lit. ball of hand.

Word bank (na hainmneacha i mBéarla): baseball, dodgeball, floorball

Na hainmneacha i nGaeilge:

5. seachain

6. daorchluiche

7. haca urláir

Freagraí thíos.

Curiously, I haven’t found racquetball in Irish, although the word for “racquet” or “racket,”  straightforwardly enough, is “raicéad.”  Nor have I found anything for “tetherball,” although “tether” in agriculture is “teaghrán.”  In computing, “teaghrán” can also mean “string,” giving us the delightful phrase, “teaghráin chomhchaitéinithe [KHOH-KHATCH-ayn-ih-huh,” which means … <An bhfuil a fhios agat?> … freagra thíos (uimhir 8)  

So I guess the alternate title for this blog could have been, “When is “peil” not “peil“?  And when is a “ball game” not called a “ball” game?  These aren’t “tomhais” (riddles), just “machnaimh” (ponderings).  SGF agus “greamaigh do shúil sa liathróid,” which sounds a little more drastic than it actually is.  So it means what?  Aistriúchán thíos, faoi uimhir 8.  – Róislín


1. eitpheil [etch-fel], volleyball

2. cispheil [kish-fel], basketball

3. cicpheil [kik-fel], kickball

4. líonpheil [LEE-un-FEL], netball

5. seachain, lit. “Avoid!”, dodgeball

6. daorchluiche, baseball.  I’ve also seen this called “an cluiche corr,” but that term is also used for Rounders, which is a related but significantly different game.  Additionally, “baseball” is sometimes simply called “baseball,” even in an Irish language context.  So what does “daorchluiche” literally mean?  Well, “cluiche” is a general word for “game.”  “Daor” is the tricky part here.  It doesn’t mean “base” as such.  In sports terminology, “base,” as in a “safe place,” is usually “baile,” which literally means “town” or sometimes “home.”

The most typical meaning learners encounter for “daor” is usually “expensive” or “dear,” as in the British/Irish usage, “That coat was very dear,” i.e. it cost a lot.  But “daor” as an adjective can also mean “base” as in “servile.”  Is that really the implication here?

Daor” can also mean “unfree,”  “convicted,” or “condemned.”  Is that relevant here?   Is the idea that you’re not “free” (actually “safe”) until you’re standing squarely on, or at least touching, one of the four bases that mark the diamond?  An bhfuil staraí spóirt ar bith anseo ar an liosta a mbeadh an t-eolas sin aige/aici?  Nó an mbeidh orm an cheist a chur ar Ken Burns (  Ach an mbeadh eolas faoin nGaeilge aigesean? 

7. haca urláir, floorball (a type of hockey)

8. concatenated strings.

Aistriúchán ar “Greamaigh do shúil sa liathróid!” (Keep your eye on the ball!), lit. “Stick your eye in the ball!” ! !


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