Irish Language Blog

Speaking of ‘Na Cóid Phoist,’ How about ‘Letters’ and ‘Parcels’ in Irish Posted by on Aug 25, 2015 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

This summer saw the launch of the new Irish postal code system, kerfluffle and all, which we discussed in a previous blog.

So let’s get postal now with some other mail-related vocabulary.

  1. a) litir–this word is quite clearly related to “letter,” which is exactly what it means. It can be “letter” as in a portion of the alphabet or a “letter” referring to font type (e.g. litir dhubh or litreacha iodálacha–note the “litir bheag” for “iodálacha,” since here it means “italic,” not “Italian,” as such).  And it can also be a letter as in mail that one sends to someone.

Here are the basic forms:

an litir, the letter

na litreach, of the letter.  Sampla: dath na litreach, more likely referring to dath an dúigh, or these days, dath an tonóra, but I suppose it could also refer to dath an pháipéarachais, perhaps a nice “osbhuí éadrom” or a distinguished shade of “gloine na trá,” as we might see advertised by comhlachtaí stáiseanóireachta, Crane & Co., mar shampla, or by comhlachtaí péinte, Benjamin Moore, mar shampla (if they advertised in Irish, that is).  Cad iad na dathanna sin, ar aon chaoi?  Freagraí thíos.

na litreacha, the letters; Sampla: Ar chuir tú na litreacha sa phost?

na litreach, of the letters.  Sampla: Ní maith liom ciútaí na litreach sin sa chlófhoireann “Palace”.  Tá siad rófhruigiseáilte.

Here are a few combinations:

litir aitheantais, a letter of introduction

litreacha rómhánacha, roman letters

tréadlitir, a pastoral letter

b) Hmm, not much room left for “parcels,” but here’s the bare bones:

an beart, the parcel (also “the bundle”)

an bhirt, of the parcel

na bearta, the parcels

na mbeart, of the parcels

Since “beart” has many other meanings beside “parcel” and “bundle,” you might want to be more specific and use “beartán” (parcel, small bundle), as least when it applies, i.e. not if you’re mailing someone a printéir 3T (tríthoiseach) or a similarly big package.  So what else can “beart” mean, wearing its different semantic hats?  Freagraí thíos.

Bhuel, these days, most of us probably don’t send many litreacha as such, but, if you’re so inclined, a “nóta tráchta” is always appreciated.  Hope you’ve been enjoying the blog. — Róislín

Nasc: Cóid Phoist  – faoi dheireadh  ach cén costas don teanga?  (The New Irish Postal Codes) Posted on 22. Jul, 2015 by róislín in Irish Language (

Gluais: ciúta, flourish; clófhoireann, font, lit. type-team/set; fruigiseáilte, flourishy, affected; rómhánach, roman (traditionally, lower case was used for things not specifically of Rome, like letters or numbers; now you may see upper or lower case; for a “Roman” person, it’s always capitalized, “Rómhánach.”  And remember, in the middle, it’s “-mh-” with a “w” sound, not like the m” in “Roman” itself);

Maidir le “tréad”: herd, flock, congregation.  Can refer to animals, as in tréad caorach or tréadlia, or to people, as in “congregation.”  “Congregation,” however, can also be, and probably more typically is, “pobal.”  In a very figurative use, we can say, “an t-aoire agus a thréad” (the shepherd and his flock).  Sometimes “tréad” can refer to both animals and people, at least by implication, as in imdhíonacht tréada (herd immunity).


osbhuí éadrom, ecru; without the “éadrom” (light), we’d simply have “osbhuí” (fawn-colored).  “Os?”  Think “Oisín,” or, i mBéarla, Ossian.  Anyone remember the meaning of the this name or how it relates to the Fionn Mac Cumhail story?

gloine na trá, beach glass, and yes, that’s a color, and a very distinguished looking one at that, to judge by Crane’s páipéarachas gnó.  Roll over, gnáthliath!


covering, garment (coisbheart, bléinbheart, srl.)

move (in a game), plan, action (Is minic a chuaigh beart thar údar, i.e. Homer sometimes nods)

byte (gigibheart)

and there’s always the coincidentally similarly spelled

beart, a berth in a boat or ship (i mbeart, berthed)

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