7 Welsh Words and Phrases You’ll Love
Despite several attempts to extinguish it, the Welsh language is one of perseverance. The Welsh words spoken today are there because of a fight to maintain the ancient language.
The words of the Welsh language are fun to say and always sound cheerful. What an enthralling language! These Welsh words have nearly been wiped out more than once in our history.
We at the Celtic Croft have made it our life’s work to express and preserve our roots in the Welsh culture. Visit our site today to get your Welsh on and explore more ways to display your heritage proudly.
Welsh Words You’re Sure to Love
1. Buwch goch gota
Pronunciation: “Beoo-kh gor-kh got-tah”
This Welsh phrase is one of our very favorite terms, as it is as adorable as it is to say. The English translation for buwch goch gota is a ladybird. Literally translated, however, it means a little red cow.
Use this phrase as a term of endearment for wee ones or to point out a ladybug.
Example: “Look at the buwch goch gota over there” or “She’s our sweet buwch goch gota.” Either is acceptable, and both are adorable and very fun to say.
2. Ling di long
Pronunciation: “Ling di long.”
We may be cheating with this one, but ling di long is pronounced just as you would in English. Ling di long is translated to lackadaisical, often referring to walking. We think it was fitting that a term meaning easygoing shouldn’t have any real rules about its pronunciation.
Yes, our nerd is definitely showing on this one.
In day-to-day conversation, the term ling di long is spoken in a sing-song manner. You may be talking about how you’re going to go about something or point out someone.
Example: We’re late, and Mr. Fraser is just ling di long, not worried, and taking his time.
This phrase is also fun because you can use it in everyday conversation with ease.
3. Wnco mwnco / Onco fonco
Pronunciation: “oon-kaw moon-kaw” / “on-kaw von-kaw”
Another term that you can use in a daily setting is wnco mwnco. The translation of this term is him-over-there. Its female counterpart is onco fonco, meaning her-over-there.
Imagine being in a room with friends and directing their attention to someone across the room. You would point out the person and say, “Yeah, Dave with the car, wnco mwnco.” This phrase would direct you to whom you were speaking about.
When speaking about a woman, you would say, “ Shelly is wonderful at dancing, onco fonco in the blue shirt.”
Hiraeth is a term that tugs at our heartstrings some. The phrase describes a longing for nostalgia or feeling regret. It can also describe feeling a sincere, deep desire for something or yearning.
The feeling can be held for a place, a time in your life, or a person whom you long for. We love this term because it is so deep and emotional. It could also enhance a beautiful period piece.
In conversation, one may use the term like so: “When I think about my childhood, I feel hiraeth coming on.”
We do love our practical terms here at Celtic Croft. Su’mae is a term meaning how things are, and you guessed, can be used daily.
This term’s pronunciation can vary by region. Someone who speaks Southern Welsh would say shwmae instead, pronounced “shoo-mae.” Either way, it means the same thing.
Example: “Hey Sheamus, su’mae? We haven’t seen you in a while.”
Congratulations! You can say the Welsh word for congratulations!
This tongue twister of a word is pronounced like the phrase ling di long from earlier. It looks like it sounds.
It makes it easy to sound out but is admittedly a challenging term.
Example: “Llongyfarchiadau on your wedding! Oh, the kilt? I rented it from the Celtic Croft.”
7. Diolch Yn Fawr
Pronounced: “Dee-olch un vow-r-yown”
The literal translation for the term Diolch Yn Fawr is “thanks-big-very” or thank you very much. It is used when needing to profess significant gratitude.
Diolch Yn Fawr would be a great touch to a handwritten thank you note for a special occasion.
Those are Fighting Words
Several times over the centuries, the Welsh language has come close to being wiped out from use.
We enjoy looking at phrases that can be used daily and pronouncing fun-sounding words. It’s also essential to appreciate the effort put into saving this ancient language.
In fact, the Welsh language was spoken before the Roman occupation in the 600s.
Here are some highlights:
1536: Act of Union by King Henry VII
- Contained laws making Welsh an administrative language.
- Culturally, people were shifting to the English language as a way to unify the kingdom of Great Britain. This threatened the Welsh language by keeping it from being spoken in public.
1588: William Morgan’s Bible
- This is a win in the battle to keep the Welsh language alive.
- The Bible was printed in Welsh. The Welsh people benefitted from having access to the most important book of the time in their native language.
The Industrial Revolution brought a large influx of English speakers to Wales. This made English the most common language at work and school. With English being used in all of the public places, Welsh words were used less.
Diolch Yn Fawr Iawn
We have made it our family business to serve our Celtic community. Our products and services aim to keep the tradition of places like Wales alive.
Whether you are celebrating Burns Night or wanting a traditional kilt for a family celebration, we’re here for you. We’re also an official vendor for all of your Outlander needs if you are a fan of the show.
Our storefront is located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and we, of course, have our online store. Visit us at either for authentic Celtic gear.
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