Irish Language Blog

Where the ‘fianna’ and the ‘antalóip’ play? Irish words for some quadrupeds! Posted by on Jan 31, 2019 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

nasc:; teideal: Head of an adult male [2006]; údar: MONGO [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain,]; téacs Gaeilge le Róislín, 2019

Remember the Irish for “unicorn” and “rhinoceros” from the last blog?  If not, freagraí thíos.  Last time we also included the Irish word “biorbheannach,” which refers to another horned quadruped (ceathairchosach).  Remember what that one was?  If not, freagra also thíos and a picture of it is thuas.

Having looked at those animals, I thought it would be useful to check out a few more, like the “deer” and the “antelope.”

Here are the Irish words for “deer” and “antelope,” and below, a quick review of aonbheannach, srónbheannach, and biorbheannach from last time.

fia, a deer

an fia, the deer (singular — which we should specify since “deer” doesn’t have a plural in English)

an fhia, of the deer (singular), dath an fhia (the color of the deer)

na fianna, the deer (plural)

na bhfianna, of the deer (plural); gnáthóga na bhfianna (the habitats of the deer)

Fia beannach,” by the way, means “antlered deer” or “stag,” which we can add to our “beannach/-bheannach” words from last time.

Fia” shows up in the Irish version of “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch” (the proverb): Ná maraigh an fia go bhfeice tú é (lit. Don’t kill the deer until you see it).


And then there’s the antelope.

antalóp, antelope

an t-antalóp, the antelope (singular, since it’s another “zero-plural” noun, like deer and sometimes fish)

an antalóip, of the antelope; beanna an antalóip, the antlers of the antelope

na hantalóip, the antelope (plural)

na n-antalóp, of the antelope (plural). gnáthóga na n-antalóp (the habitats of the antelope)

And here are a few more quadrupeds (ceathairchosaigh) that might have occurred to you, some domestic, some wild.  From here on, we’ll just give the primary singular and plural forms, not all four.

an gabhar, the goat; na gabhair, the goats

an t-antalóp ceithre-adharcach, the four-horned antelope, na hantalóip cheithre-adharcacha (note all the little changes for the plural: inserted h’s, inserted i, and suffixed a).

an ghasail chaoladharcach, the slender-horned gazelle, plural: na gasailí caoladharcacha

an chaora adharcach, the horned sheep, plural: na caoirigh adharcacha

As to why some horned animals are called “beannach,” like the aonbheannach, srónbheannach, and biorbheannach, and others are called “adharcach,” like the antalóp ceithre-adharcach, the gasail chaoladharcach, and the caora adharcach, I really don’t know.  Barúil ar bith ag duine ar bith amuigh ansin?

As for the continents mentioned in the graphic above, you’ve probably figured them out by now, but just in case:

Meiriceá Thuaidh, North America, possessive: Mheiriceá Thuaidh (muintir Mheiriceá Thuaidh, the residents of North America).  For pronunciation, remember the “t” of “thuaidh” is silent, and the “-aidh” part is all vowel sound, so we say “HOO-ee.”

Meiriceá Theas, South America, possessive: Mheiriceá Theas (muintir Mheiriceá Theas, the residents of South America).  For pronunciation, remember the “t” of “theas” is silent, so the word sounds like “hass” as in “hassle”

An Eoraip, Europe (lit. The Europe), possessive: na hEorpa (muintir na hEorpa, the residents of Europe).

Bhuel, sin roinnt focal suimiúil — tá súil agam go síleann tusa go bhfuil siad suimiúil freisin.  SGF – Róislín

Freagraí: aonbheannach, unicorn; srónbheannach, rhinoceros; biorbheannach, pronghorn (a bhfuil a ghnáthóg i Meiriceá Thuaidh/whose habitat is in North America)

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. thomas cahill:

    Rinne mé adharc agus beannach a Googlail agus sé an difear eadarthú ná, beannach , cosamhail le ionga, fásann siad rith do shaoghail is nach dtiteann diot (ceirtin atá ann), agus adharc, fásann is titeann siad diot (cnámh atá ann) agus athfhásann siad.

Leave a comment: