Irish Language Blog

The Irish for “Pygmy Hedgehog” without “Pygmy” as such (gráinneog — hedgehog) Posted by on Oct 18, 2018 in Irish Language

(le Róislín) ; “Potato”, Photographed by Alex Huck[; 3 May 2006 (original up-load date); Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Sreejithk2000 using CommonsHelper. Alex Huck at English Wikipedia; public domain; téacs Gaeilge le Róislín, 2018

Having found the adorable picture of a pygmy hedgehog (thuas sa ghrafaic), I figured I’d write this blog about hedgehogs, pygmy and otherwise.

Let’s start with the basics – “gráinneog” is the Irish for “hedgehog.” Here are some of the basic forms of the word:

an ghráinneog, the hedgehog

na gráinneoige, of the hedgehog

na gráinneoga, the hedgehogs

na ngráinneog, of the hedgehogs.


As for the “pygmy” type of hedgehog, much as I love the Irish word for “pygmy,” which is “pigmí,” I find no trace online of it being used for pygmy hedgehogs. In fact, most the “pygmy” versions of animals I have found online use the prefix “mion-“ (mini-), instead.   So we can say “mionghráinneog” and some of its basic forms would be:

an mhionghráinneog, the pygmy hedgehog

na mionghráinneoige, of the pygmy hedgehog

na mionghráinneoga, the pygmy hedgehogs

na mionghráinneog, of the pygmy hedgehogs


Gráinneoga are “feithiditeoirí,” a compound word based on “feithid” and “iteoir.” “Iteoir” is an “eater,” and can also equate to the “-ivore” part of words like “carnivore” (feoiliteoir) and “herbivore” (luibhiteoir). So a “feithiditeoir” would be an __________.  (Freagra thíos)

Well, if you don’t recall “feithid,” the following list of the typical foods, at least for Irish hedgehogs, should make it clear. To add to the challenge, please match the Irish on the left with the English on the right. BTW, I can’t vouch for what exactly the African pygmy hedgehogs eat in their natural habitat, but I imagine it’s similar, although some of the larger insects might not be applicable. Can you match the Irish with the English? (Freagraí thíos)

  1. bolb             a.. beetle
  2. ciaróg             b.. caterpillar
  3. damhán alla             c.. earthworm
  4. drúchtín             d.. earwig
  5. gailseach             e.. harvestman
  6. larbha leamhain   f.. moth larva
  7. Pilib an Fhómhair g.. slug
  8. péist talún (cuiteog) h.. spider


And a final bit of vocabulary for talking about hedgehogs, their habitats, again, at least the Irish ones. Can you match up the Gaeilge and the Béarla? Yes, “gairdín” is a bit of a give-away, but the others might present some challenge. Freagraí thíos.

Gaeilge: 1. coillearnach, 2. fál sceach, 3. gairdín, 4. móinéar

Béarla: a. hedgerow, b. garden, c. meadow, d. woodland

Hope you enjoyed the photo, the vocabulary, and the entomological challenge!  For real “gráinneog” enthusiasts, there are a few interesting links below the answers.  Slán go fóill – Róislín


A.. Feithiditeoir, insectivore (see also the BTW note below for more types of “-ivores”)

B.. Feithidí (agus moileasc amháin!)

1.. bolb, b. caterpillar

2.. ciaróg, a. beetle

3.. damhán alla, h. spider

4.. drúchtín, g. slug

5.. gailseach, d. earwig

6.. larbha leamhain, f. moth larva

7.. Pilib an Fhómhair, e. harvestman (see also the second BTW note for more Irish phrases)

8.. péist talún (= cuiteog), c. earthworm

C.. 1. coillearnach, woodland; 2. fál sceach, hedgerow; 3. gairdín, garden; 4. móinéar, meadow

And BTW, more terms for “-ivores”: “carnabhóir” and “heirbeabhóir.” And while we’re on the topic, there’s also “uiliteoir” (omnivore).

Another BTW, among the insects, the harvestman has a huge number of alternate names in Irish, none of which say anything further about harvesting. The harvestman is also know as the “daddy long-legs” and I think the list bears further investigation, since different dictionaries seem to match these terms up as if they were separate insects. Barúlacha ó aon fheithideolaithe?   Seo na téarmaí eile: ruamann na gcoinnealsnáthaid an diabhailsnáthaid phúcapilibín eitretuirne Mháiregalánsnáthadánfíodóir.


Cúpla nasc shuimiúla: , “Hedgehog / Gráinneog”. Although I’d love to see more Irish in this slideshow, at least there’s Irish in the title. It gives an interesting, nicely illustrated account of the Western European Hedgehog, the type that lives in Ireland.

And there’s a fun story about “Gráinne Gráinneog” in the Céim ar Chéim series, Jan Maguiness a scríobh; Janet Cawood a mhaisigh; ISBN 07901329752; An tÁisaonad Coláiste Naomh Muire 2002, available from websites such as the following: (in a bundle of 5 separate titles)

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