Irish Language Blog

Everyone knows it’s … gaofar … gaothach… feothanach … fleách … seadánach, srl. (windy, breezy, etc. in Irish, with a nod to the Ruthann Friedman song) Posted by on Oct 20, 2017 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

In the last blogpost (nasc thíos), we looked at some (some 60+ that is!) possibilities for words or phrases involving the following: breezes, winds, gusts, squalls, and gales.  That was all a follow-up to the earlier post on hairicíní (nasc eile thíos).  Today, before moving on to topaicí Oíche Shamhna (since it is Mí Dheireadh Fómhair), let’s just breeze through some aidiachtaí that relate to the same topic:

A: breezy:

gaofar, breezy, also means “windy”

Somehow, I find virtually no trace of an adjective based on “leoithne” (or “lóithne” or “lóithnín“), even though this is the word that most consistently seems to mean “a light, gentle breeze,” not a cold, harsh, or draughty one.  Maybe it’s just that there is a tendency to say, “there is a light breeze” rather than “It is a breezy day.”  Well, anyway, I did find this one stray reference, presumably an adjective based on “leoithne,” but it seems a little unclear: “dord leoithneach” in the poem “Ar Bhruacha Locha Léin” by Paddy Bushe in his poetry collection, Gile na GileBarúlacha ag duine ar bith?

feothanach (or “feothnach“), breezy, but as with “feothan” (gust), this can also mean “gusty”

seadánach, breezy, wheezy

seadarghaothach, breezy, also means “gusty”

B: windy:

gaofar (originally spelt “gaothmhar“), gaothach. There’s also “gaotúil,” which is more on the “bombastic” end of the “windy” spectrum.

gailbheach, windy/stormy

salach, which basically means “dirty,” can also mean “wet and windy” combined.  Or “drizzly.”  Reminiscent of the English expression “dirty weather.”

stolpach, dry and windy, also “soil-hardening.”  Hmm, “soil-hardening” doesn’t sound much like winds in Ireland to me, unless “gaineamhlú” (aka “fairsingiú fásaigh“) really sets in.  I’ve been wondering when I might have an opportunity to use those terms, since we’re more likely, in this blog, to discuss rain, wind, mud, bogs, or floods in Ireland, not “desertification.”  So, faoi dheireadh!

C: gusty:

feothanach, gusty, breezy

fleách, gusty

seadarghaothach, gusty, breezy

séideanach, gusty

siotach, gusty

scuabach, gusty, sweeping (related to “scuab,” a brush, a broom, and “scuabadh,” to sweep)

So far, I don’t find any trace of “gusta” with an “-ach” ending to make an adjective, so, so much for that idea.  Yikes, three “so’s” in one sentence!   Anyway, “gusta + -ach” seems like a “sough”-in for a possible word, but, bhuel, gan rian fós (i mo chuardach).

The word “gustúil” doesn’t have to do with wind, but means “forceful,” a variant of “gusmhar.”

D: squally:

So far, the only “official” word I’ve found for “squally” is the adjective “soinneánach,” which seems a little strange to me.  Gan aidiacht ar bith eile ar chor ar bith?

It seems that most of the time “squalliness” is described by noun-noun phrases, not noun-adjective phrases: stolladh gaoithe, ropadh gaoithe, and soinneán gaoithe, mar shampla.  For “squally shower, ” we have “ráig bháistí,” which can also mean “a sudden shower.”

A few interesting related terms here would be:

gaoth ghéar amhainseach, sharp-biting wind, lit. a sharp sharp wind; both “géar” and “amhainseach” mean “sharp,” although “amhainseach” can also mean “astute.”  Must confess to never having heard this in a natural context.  “Géar” can also mean “keen,” “biting,” or “severe.”

gaoth ghoimhiúil, raw wind, stinging wind, biting wind; “goimhiúil” also means “venomous”

gaoth mhór, big, strong, or high wind

gaoth thréan, high or strong wind

gaoth láidir, strong wind

gaoth pholltach, bitter wind, piercing wind (from “poll,” a hole)

gaoth nimhe, a stinging wind, lit. a wind of poison

géarbhach, a stiff wind

And last, but not least,

E: gale-like:

So far, I’ve found no real equivalent to the word “gale-like” as an adjective, so I’d simply say “ar nós gála” (in the manner of a gale), since “ar nós” is used for a lot of comparisons (ar nós gaoth Mhárta, ar nós na pearóide, ar nós cuma liom, srl.).  Of course, one could always go with noun phrases instead, like “gaotha fíorláidre” (truly strong winds) or get more technical with phrases like “gaotha fórsa gála” (gale-force winds), followed by a number indicating intensity.

There is an adjective, “gálach,” by the way, but it’s a chemical term, in phrases like “gallic acid,” related to “gallnuts,etc.”

Bhuel, that’s at least a little more on wind (breeze, wind, gust, squall, and gale).  No doubt further searching would yield up more terms!

And finally, the promised nod to the Ruthann Friedman song.  Well, we’ve already seen quite a few words for “Windy,” so that’s taken care of.   But what about some other phrases in this highly meteorological song, like the “stormy eyes”?

súile stoirmiúla, and note, that’s the plural form.  A single stormy eye, if you should ever need such a term, would be “súil stoirmiúil” — note what happens to the ending of “stoirmiúil” to make it plural.  Actually, there are about a dozen more ways to say “stormy” in Irish, too, but that’ll have to wait for blagmhír éigin eile.

“Flashing eyes” could be “súile lonracha” or “súile dealraitheacha” or “súile drithleacha.”  But of course, the song actually uses “flash” as a verb, so some possibilities are “(súile stoirmiúla) a lonraíonn … OR: a dhealraíonn … OR: a dhrithlíonn.”  Or we could get away from the verb altogether and say something like “bhí faghairt [“glinting”] ina súile (assuming that, as lyricist, Friedman intended, “Windy” is female) or “tháinig coinneal [lit. a candle] i súile Windy.”  I guess The Association never expected that their hit song would be the subject of such close linguistic examination!

Hmm, well, next time I guess we’ll be tackling “Stormy Weather” (the Arlen/Koehler song). Or maybe that’ll have to wait till tar éis Oíche Shamhna!  Meanwhile, daingnigh na haistí (batten down the hatches) and stay safe if any gaotha fórsa gála come gusting your way.  SGF — Róislín

Naisc: Some (60+) Irish Words and Phrases for Breeze, Wind, Gust, Squall, and Gale.  Oh, and Zephyr! Posted by róislín on Oct 16, 2017 in Irish Language 

Hurricane-related words in the Irish language: Hairicíní, Spéirlingí, Súile, Béil et al. Posted by róislín on Oct 12, 2017 in Irish Language

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