Irish Language Blog

Terms for Family Relationships in Irish — Gaolta Teaghlaigh Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

By Tom Purves from Toronto, canada [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Tom Purves from Toronto, canada [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

As we approach two major holiday seasons, Lá an Altaithe (i Meiriceá) and An Nollaig (go hidirnáisiúnta), many people will be traveling great distances to spend time with their families (a dteaghlaigh).  So let’s take break from looking at leasghaolta (steprelationships), as we’ve done in the recent blogposts, and look at the broader picture  — téarmaí gaoil go ginearálta.

So here’s  fairly comprehensive list in Irish, with the English equivalents in the word bank (an banc focal).  I haven’t tried to include all the dialect terms for grandparents, as we’ve been discussing recently, partly since the list is already pretty long and partly since, in my experience, “seanmháthair” tends to be used more than “máthair mhór” or “máthair chríonna” for formal purposes, and “mamó” is more of a nickname.  I’m also not going to try to include all the numerous variations for the same term (“máthair mo chéile” for “mo mháthair chéile,” “mac mo mhic” for “mo gharmhac,” srl.).  Additionally, I’ve left out some terms which existed traditionally but for which there is a more specific word or phrase today, for example: using “deartháir leasghaolmhar” (step-related brother) for “leathdheartháir” (half-brother) seems unnecessarily confusing to me, especially when there’s a specific term, “leathdheartháir” available and the similar-looking word “leasdeartháir” means “step-brother.”    Adding all those variations would probably make this list at least twice as long.

Since a lot of these terms may be familiar, the “banc focal” comes second in the layout of today’s post.  You might like to see how many you can complete without checking the “banc focal.”  The freagraí, as usual, are thíos.

 Gaolta Teaghlaigh


1 aintín
2 athair
3 athair baistí
4 athair céile
5 athair uchtála
6 col ceathrair
7 col cúigir
8 col ochtair
9 col seisir
10 deartháir
11 deartháir céile
12 deartháir uchtála
13 deirfiúr
14 deirfiúr chéile
15 deirfiúr uchtála
16 gariníon
17 garmhac
18 garneacht
19 garnia
20 iníon
21 iníon bhaistí
22 iníon chéile
23 iníon uchtála
24 leasathair
25 leasdeartháir
26 leasdeirfiúr
27 leasiníon
28 leasmhac
29 leasmháthair
30 leathchúpla dearthár
31 leathchúpla deirféar
32 leathdheartháir
33 leathdheirfiúr
34 mac
35 mac baistí
36 mac céile
37 mac uchtála
38 máthair
39 máthair bhaistí
40 máthair chéile
41 máthair uchtála
42 neacht
43 nia
44 seanaintín
45 seanathair
46 seanmháthair
47 seanuncail
48 sin-seanathair
49 sin-seanmháthair
50 uncail


And finally, at least for Lá an Altaithe (i Meiriceá), we could list “Tom Turcaí” as our “aoi oinigh” (guest of honor).

Creating this list has also set me wondering how we would indicate our siblings if we were a triplet, a quadruplet, or a quintuplet, etc.  None of the English terms sound very familiar to me, although Googling them, I find they do exist, reasonably abundantly:  triplet sister, quadruplet brother, etc.  If we have “leathchúpla dearthár/deirféar” for “twin brother/sister” in Irish, then in theory we could have “trírín dearthár/deirféar,” for “triplet brother/sister.”  Or would we literally follow the pattern of “leathchúpla dearthár” (lit. half-of-twin brother) and have ” *triantrírín deirféar” (a third-of-triplet sister)?  Couldn’t find any answers by online searches.  Hmm, food for thought!  At any rate, we’d still be carefully using an tuiseal ginideach for the brother/sister part — that accounts for the “-ár” and “-féar” endings.  No escaping the genitive case, it seems!

Anyway, whether you’re celebrating with your “teaghlach núicléach” or your “teaghlach sínte,” or a “grúpa cairde,” bíodh am breá agat leo, fiú má bhíonn beagáinín allagair ann ó am go ham!  — SGF — Róislín

P.S.  If you notice any key terms that have been overlooked, please do let me know.  I didn’t try to include every last possibility, like step-great-great-grandmother, but hopefully the modern terms for the main relationships are all included.

Nuashonrúchán (8 Mí na Nollag 2016): Cleachtadh (Practice)

a) Titles, Quotes, and Sayings in Irish to Practice Terms for ‘Daoine Muinteartha’ (Family Members), Cuid/Part 1 Posted by on Nov 28, 2016 in Irish Language

b) Titles, Quotes, and Sayings in Irish to Practice Terms for ‘Daoine Muinteartha’ (Family Members), Cuid/Part 2Posted by on Nov 30, 2016 in Irish Language


1 aintín l) aunt
2 athair a) father
3 athair baistí w) godfather
4 athair céile pp) father-in-law
5 athair uchtála u) adoptive father
6 col ceathrair (nó: col ceathar) ii) cousin
7 col cúigir ll) 1st cousin once removed
8 col ochtair kk) 3rd cousin
9 col seisir jj) 2nd cousin
10 deartháir bb) brother
11 deartháir céile qq) brother-in-law
12 deartháir uchtála ww) adoptive brother
13 deirfiúr aa) sister
14 deirfiúr chéile rr) sister-in-law
15 deirfiúr uchtála xx) adoptive sister
16 gariníon s) granddaughter
17 garmhac q) grandson
18 garneacht t) grand-niece
19 garnia r) grand-nephew
20 iníon d) daughter
21 iníon bhaistí z) goddaughter
22 iníon chéile uu) daughter-in-law
23 iníon uchtála tt) adoptive daughter
24 leasathair g) stepfather
25 leasdeartháir dd) stepbrother
26 leasdeirfiúr cc) stepsister
27 leasiníon j) stepdaughter
28 leasmhac i) stepson
29 leasmháthair h) stepmother
30 leathchúpla dearthár mm) twin brother
31 leathchúpla deirféar nn) twin sister
32 leathdheartháir ff) half-brother
33 leathdheirfiúr ee) half-sister
34 mac c) son
35 mac baistí y) godson
36 mac céile vv) son-in-law
37 mac uchtála ss) adoptive son
38 máthair b) mother
39 máthair bhaistí x) godmother
40 máthair chéile oo) mother-in-law
41 máthair uchtála v) adoptive mother
42 neacht p) niece
43 nia o) nephew
44 seanaintín m) great-aunt
45 seanathair e) grandfather
46 seanmháthair f) grandmother
47 seanuncail n) great-uncle
48 sin-seanathair hh) great-grandfather
49 sin-seanmháthair gg) great-grandmother
50 uncail k) uncle
Tags: , , , , , ,
Keep learning Irish with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it


  1. Maureen Hanlon:

    Trying to match these terms with those used in the 1911 census returns in Gaelic which do not provide a translation. See returns for Monaghan with surnames beginning with Ua for puzzling results particularly for head of household/assume father. Thank you

Leave a comment: