Irish Language Blog

Madraí teo nó brocairí teo i séasúr na mbeárbaiciúnna (hot dogs, and more, in Irish) Posted by on Jul 6, 2016 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Hot dogs or hot terriers?  Hmm.  Madraí teo nó brocairí teo?

Focal beag amháin, "te," ann nó as, difear mór sa chiall. (grafaicí: brocaire te: ://, an brocaire / madra:

Focal beag amháin, “te,” ann nó as, difear mór sa chiall. (grafaicí: brocaire te: ://, an brocaire / madra:

One phrase of the two phrases above simply means dogs who are hot, mar shampla, madraí fadfhionnaidh, iad b’fhéidir amuigh faoin aer lá te, b’fhéidir sa ghaineamhlach nó i stát mar ArizonaNew Mexico nó i dtír mar Mhailí atá ar cheann de na tíortha is teo ar domhan.  Ba chóir dúinn uisce a thabhairt do na madraí sin mar ní féidir leo allas a chur.  Tá dhá dhóigh ag madraí iad féin a fhuarú — a bheith ag ól uisce agus saothar a bheith orthu.  So that’s the “madraí teo.”

But brocairí teo are another matter altogether, at least as long as bia is the topic of conversation.  Which it may well be , since this month, Iúil, is séasúr na mbeárbaiciúnna.  “Brocairí teo” is the Irish for “hot dogs,” but the phrase is based on the word “brocaire,” a terrier, or even more literally, a “badger-dog,” which, incidentally, is what “Dachshund” means when translated literally from the German (Dachs, badger + Hund, hound/dog).

So let’s back up a little with the word “brocaire.”  It’s based on “broc” (badger) and the suffix “-aire,” which frequently indicates an occupation, as in “iascaire” (fisher) or “ateangaire” (interpreter).  Here are its basic forms:

broc, a badger

an broc, the badger

broic, of a badger (dathanna broic)

an bhroic, of the badger (brocach an bhroic)

broic, badgers

na broic, the badgers

broc, of badgers (dathanna broc)

na mbroc, of the badgers (brocacha na mbroc)

Broc” is an especially interesting word since it is the same or nearly the same the other Celtic languages, in Scottish Gaelic (broc, pl: bruic), Manx (broc, brock, pl: brockyn), Cornish (brogh, pl: broghes), Breton (broc’h, pl: broc’hed), Welsh (broch, pl: brochod, also called a “daearfochyn” or a “mochyn daear,” lit. ground pig, with “daeargi,” lit. ground dog, being the Welsh for “terrier,” but sin ábhar blag eile).

The word “brock” even shows up in English, mostly regional or dialect, as the word “badger” is perfectly well-known, and presumably more official.  “Brock” in English can, or at least used to, also mean a “stinking person,” especially one with a dirty or smudged (badgerish-colored) face.  There’s also Tommy Brock, from Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Mr. Tod, where Brock is an evil bunnynapper and potential bunnivore.  No, those words aren’t newly coined here, but, admittedly, they aren’t very widely used.   In a more noble guise, “brock” appears in the name “Lord Brocktree,” from the late Brian Jacques’ engaging Redwall series.  In a more recent vein there was (is?) “Brockzilla” (nasc thíos), making at least 10 neologisms based on “-zilla,” not counting the original Godzilla.


Anyway, reapproaching our main subject at hand, hot dogs and terriers.  The Irish word for a “terrier” is “brocaire” since certain breeds were bred to hunt badgers, digging down into their “setts” (brocacha) to find them.  Sounds quite “contúirteach” to me!  The word “terrier,” on the other hand, indicates a dog that digs in the earth (“terra“), since that was how the dogs hunted various animals considered “míolra” (vermin), like “francaigh” (rats) and “broic” (badgers).

For “brocaire” itself, we have the following forms:

brocaire, a terrier

an brocaire, the terrier

brocaire, of a terrier (same as above)

an bhrocaire, of the terrier (creach an bhrocaire)

brocairí, terriers

na brocairí, the terriers

brocairí, of terriers (same as above)

na mbrocairí, of the terriers (scil na mbrocairí, ag dul i ndiaidh a gcreach)


When we add “te,” to indicate “hot dogs” (mar bhia), a few changes also occur to the word “te,” as seen below, starting with the phrase for “of the hot dog”:

brocaire te, a hot dog

an brocaire te, the hot dog

brocaire te, of a hot dog (but the “b” of “brocaire” can change to “bh” in a phrase like: borróg bhrocaire te)

an bhrocaire the, of the hot dog (blas an bhrocaire the, with the “t” of “te” lenited, i.e. changing to “th”)

brocairí teo, hot dogs; note the unusual plural form of “te,” adding an “o”)

na brocairí teo, the hot dogs

brocairí teo, of hot dogs (mealltacht brocairí teo i staidiam  daorchluiche (le beoir le n-ól, ar ndóigh)

na mbrocairí teo, of the hot dogs (do-bhithmhillteacht na mbrocairí teo); cúpla nasc thíos on the non-biodegradability of hot dogs, má tá tuilleadh eolais ar an ábhar seo uait.

So that pretty much takes care of the Irish for “hot dogs.”  One remaining topic might be the condiments often served with them.  I think they’re pretty easy to recognize: citseap, mustard, agus anlann goinbhlasta picilíAgus ar ndóigh, sauerkraut nach bhfuil Gaeilge air ach a chiallaíonncabáiste searbh.”  Ó, agus más veigeatórach thú, tá brocairí teo veigeatóracha ann freisin, iad déanta as rudaí mar aonráit próitéin soighe agus stáirse taipióca, agus amanna, gealacáin uibhe (sin sórt nach n-íosfadh na veigeáin).  Admittedly, hot dogs as such aren’t a particularly traditional Irish food, compared to ispíní (sausages), but it’s a useful enough word to know, go mór mór do lucht labhartha na Gaeilge i Meiriceá Thuaidh.
SGF — Róislín
P.S. As you might have noticed, the way to say “hottest” in Irish uses the same form of “te” as its plural.  Both are spelled “teo,” and pronounced to rhyme with “beo” or “ceo.”  So, “an tír is teo” means “the hottest country” (temperature-wise) while “tíortha teo” means “hot countries.

P.P.S. To sum up the grammatical features that occur throughout these forms, we have séimhiú (lenition) with the forms “bhrocaire” and “the,” and urú (eclipsis), with the form “mbrocairí.”



do-bhithmhillteacht na mbrocairí teo

Immortal Hot Dogs, Dead Dirt, And Global Warming: The Dangers Of Not Composting Posted on November 19, 2013 by brandonlal  by: Anna Murynka,

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