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  5. "It is a short hair."

"It is a short hair."

Translation:Is ribe gearr gruaige é.

June 25, 2015



Why is there such an odd word order? Why isn't it Is ribe gruaige gearr e?


Ribe is an individual hair, gearr is “short”, and gruaige is a genitive noun used as an adjective to describe hair coming from a head. If gruaige came before gearr, then gearr would describe gruaige rather than ribe, and gearr would thus also need to be feminine and genitive: Is ribe gruaige giorra é. The meaning would be a bit different, too — it would be a hair of the short-and-from-the-head variety rather than a short hair of the from-the-head variety. Since hairs aren’t usually distinguished as being short-and-from-the-head vs. long-and-from-the-head, the translation given above makes the most sense.


So, "a short strand of hair"?


The NEID uses gruaig for "body hair" (clúmh, gruaig choirp, fionnadh coirp), "facial hair" (gruaig aghaidhe, féasóg), and "underarm hair" (gruaig ascaille, fionnadh ascaille).


It looks as though compound words with gruaig can be used to describe hair from other places on the body, but to my knowledge, gruaig by itself only describes hair from a head. For example, see the FB definition:

gruaig bain2 na ribí a fhásann ar cheann duine

(Clúmh can also describe facial hair, but not hair from the scalp. Fionnadh could be used to describe hair/fur anywhere on an animal, but not hair on a human head.)


I never made the connection with the animal 'giorria' until I read this.


It was once spelled gerrfhíad — a compound word meaning “short” + “wild animal”.

[deactivated user]

    I always thought that giorria came from gearr + fia i.e a 'short deer'.
    Ó Dinneen gives both girrfhiadh and gearrfhiadh for 'hare' and fiadh for 'deer' which would support this.

    Also I thought that coinín for rabbit meant 'little hound' from coin which is related to for 'hound'.

    So we have:
    hare = short deer
    rabbit = little hound

    [deactivated user]

      @scilling. O'Reilly (1817) distinguishes fiadh and fiadha.
      fiadh = a lord, prince; land; food, meat, victuals; witness, testimony; a deer.
      fiadha = wildness, savageness
      fiadha (adj) = wild, savage
      He has both fiadhfhal and fiadhlann for a deer-park.
      fiadhfionn = a roebuck
      fiadhach = venison
      He gives gearrfhiadh = a hare.
      On the other hand he gives fiadh as a prefix (meaning wild but with the final 'a' dropped) in
      fiadhchullach = a wild boar
      fiadhmhuc = a wild hog
      fiadhghleanna = wild glens
      fiadhmhuin = a hare, a wild animal in a moor
      which supports your theory.


      Dinneen also gives the following compounds:

      • {@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}fiaḋ-ḃeaṫaiḋeaċ — “a wild beast”;
      • {@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}fiaḋ-ċapall — “a wild horse”;
      • {@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}fiaḋ-ċollaċ — “a wild boar”;
      • {@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}fiaḋ-ġé — “a wild goose”;
      • {@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}fiaḋ-laċa — “a wild duck”;
      • {@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}fiaḋ-ṁuc — “a wild pig”.

      Would you say that these uses of fiadh are associated with deer? ({@style=font-family: 'Bunchlo Arsa GC', 'BunchloArsaGC', serif; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 12pt}Fiaḋ-ḟeoil, “venison”, is undoubtedly associated with deer.) The etymological source of fiadh is fíad, as an adjective meaning “wild”, as a noun meaning “wild animal, game, esp. deer”.

      The etymology of coinín is thought to come either from or from Middle English cunin (which became “coney” in modern English). Coin- is a known prefix derived from , but since there’s no known standalone use of coin, the cunin source is in my view the likelier one.


      The NEID has fiadhúlra for "wildlife" though it also refers to fiabheatha.

      "this will be beneficial to wildlife" - beidh sé seo le leas na fiabheatha, rachaidh sé seo chun sochair don fhiabheatha


      Wow, that is a bit weird to me, but makes sense. Thanks for the explanation!

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