Literally, could this be translated -- every man -- and what is the origin of this word --

2 years ago


No, fearg means "anger", and the -ach suffix makes it an adjective, "angry".

The noun feargacht though, does mean "Manhood, masculinity". Interestingly, it's a feminine noun!

2 years ago
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I wouldn’t consider ‘manhood’ being feminine really surprising. ;-)

In Slavic languages it is very similar: Polish męskość, Russian мужественность (mužestvjennost’), Serbo-Croatian muževnost, muškost, Czech mužnost are all also feminine (although, Czech more often uses mužství, which for a change is… neuter, and is morphologically equivalent to Polish męstwo, which for a contrast means ‘bravery’).

Also Germanic has that: German Männlichkeit is feminine, just as is Dutch mannelijkheid. And AFAIK Dutch -heid and German -heit (-keit comes from -k + -heit) are etymologically the same as English -hood, so I believe that actually English manhood was also a feminine noun before the English language lost grammatical genders. ;-)

And judging from Wiktionary, even little bit more remote languages like Urdu and Hindi all have a feminine noun for manhood, which suggests that it is very deeply rooted in Indo-European languages to have a feminine suffix to make abstract nouns (like -(e)acht, -hood, -heid, -keit, -ost, -ość), and that all of them use it also for masculinity-related stuff. ;-)

2 years ago

The whole idea of the feminine gender in Indo-European originated with suffixes to mark collectives and abstracts, which happened to end the same way as the word for 'woman'. Many of those abstracts turned into concrete nouns, while some concrete nouns were treated as feminine when they started to sound like collectives - but as you say, it's the general case still that these suffixes are still feminine.

2 years ago

Go raibh maith agat -- Knocksedan again! By the way, are you from the Sligo area? The word "Knock" (+ suffix) comes up quite a bit in travel promotions to that part of Ireland. Someday I'll be able to go. Until then .. thanks again.

2 years ago

No, Knock turns up in placenames that have Cnoc (hill) in the original Irish. Looking at the glossary on, it looks like Cnoc was a little bit more more likely to be translated to Hill in Dublin (though there are a number of places with "knock" in the name), whereas it was transliterated as Knock in Sligo (and the West generally).

Knocksedan is a literary reference, but it is a real place, near Dublin Airport.

2 years ago
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