1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. Help with word Flashcard word…


Help with word Flashcard word choice: gaelach vs. ré, ciaróg vs. daol etc.

I'm making some flashcards that I plan to put online and getting a little confused by certain words and their sometimes close definitions or possible different nuances when I look in dictionaries. Having multiple definitions is nice, but when you're a beginner it can be confusing trying to pick the most-used word.

Family - taeghlach, muirín, muintir, clann, or cúram?

Table - bord vs. tábla?

Moon - gealach vs. ré?

Earth - domhan vs. cruinne?

Forest - coill vs. foraois?

Beetle - ciaróg vs. daol?

Brother-in-law - deartháir céile vs. deartháir cleamhnais

Sister-in-law - deirfiúr chéile vs. deirfiúr chleamhnais?

Daughter-in-law - banchliamhain vs. bean mhic?

Son-in-law - cliamhain vs. comhchliamhain?

May 8, 2015



Teaghlach, muirín, muintir, clann and cúram have different meanings:

Teaghlach = Household

Muirín = Little burden = One's children or others you have to take care, those you support.

Clann = One's Children

Muintir = Your extended family, roughly your mother and father's extended families

Cúram = (not very common) Those you take care of.

Bord vs Tábla is dialectal

Coill is a wood (also the verb to castrate), Foraois is forest, although it was originally an Ulster word.

Gealach is the moon as a physical object or giver of light. Ré is the moon as a timekeeper, if that makes sense. Like "Tá an ré ag éirigh = The moon is rising".

Tá an ré san aer = "The moon is in the air" = i.e. It's that time of night when the moon is high in the sky.

Tá an ghealach san aer = "The moon is in the air" = The moon is out and bright, I can see the moon.

Ciaróg is the common word for bettle. Daol is more used in fixed phrases, no longer really an active word for beetle.

"céile" is far more common for in-laws.

I've only ever heard "cliamhain" for son-in-law. Either of your options are fine for daughter in law


If you prefer to pick the most-used words, then you should wait for the input of native speakers; we learners aren’t likely to find that information in dictionaries. Dictionaries can be useful in deriving shades of meaning, particularly for words like those in your “family” set above, when the English word has multiple closely related meanings that are rendered by different words in Irish.


Thanks. I guess I will wait. My guesses for the native vs. anglicised is that they are often just personal choices, but some cases may be different.


I would disagree that they're personal choices. They're generally consistent throughout a speech community, like how tábla is used more in Ulster whereas bord is used elsewhere.


That's the problem! A lot of references do not tell you these details. I guess it's just that self-defeating fear of a beginner that you're constantly getting things wrong. How well do speakers of the dialects know the words of other dialects? Tábla and bord are basic, so I can understand there wouldn't be trouble with that word.


With the advent of RnaG, pretty well. Also, a lot of them have different shades of nuance, especially among the words for 'family' you listed. Nuances that don't exist in the English translation, so you're not likely to find it in a dictionary.


Coill would largely mean wood, with foraois the common term for forest. As for table, bórd would be the original term, with tábla just an anglicism, and "gealach" is in much greater use for moon. The other words just list common synonyms, so down to your personal preference there!


Míle buíochas!


Domhan means World/Earth whereas Cruinne would mean Universe Source (And my Irish teacher) Taeghlach and Clann would be far more common than the others (except for Muintir which usually used to refer to the people of a country e.g: Muintir na hÉireann The people of Ireland, though can be used to mean family)


Go raibh maith agaibh for all the answers y'all!

Learn Irish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.