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List of Spanish words of Celtic origin

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Title: List of Spanish words of Celtic origin  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Celts, Lists of Spanish words of foreign origin, List of French words of Gaulish origin, Lists of etymologies, Battle of the Axona
Collection: Lists of Loanwords of Celtic Origin, Lists of Spanish Words of Foreign Origin
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

List of Spanish words of Celtic origin

This is a list of Spanish words of Celtic origin. It is further divided into words that are known (or thought) to have come from Gaulish and those that have come from an undetermined Celtic source. Some of these words existed in Latin as loanwords from a Celtic source. Some of these words have alternate etymologies and may also appear on a list of Spanish words from a different language. Any form with an asterisk (*) is unattested and therefore hypothetical.


  • List 1
  • Inherited Hispano-Celtic 2
  • Loanwords 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • Bibliography 6


From English:

From French:

  • bachiller "graduate", from French bachelier and this from late Latin baccalaureatus "bachelor".
  • batalla "battle". From bataille from battualia "military drill in fencing," from Latin battuere, see batir below.
  • billar "billiard".
  • brigada "brigade"
  • broche "brooch, clasp, clip". From Old French broche "a spit," from Vulgar Latin (*)brocca "a nail, spike," from Latin broccus, brocchus "a nail, projecting (adj.), buck-toothed (adj.)" from Celtic (*)brokko- "a pin, badger."
  • coñac "brandy"
  • crema "cream" from French crème
  • debate "dispute, quarrel". from Old French debat "discussion, controversy, contest" (Modern French débat, from debattre, debatre, "to fight, wrestle, struggle," from de- + battre, batre "to fight, strike," from Latin battere, battuere, see batir above.
  • dolmen from French dolmen
  • embajador "ambassador" and this from gaulish ambi-actos "who serves around".
  • jabalina, from Middle French javeline, diminutive of javelot; akin to Irish gabhla "spear", Welsh gaflach "dart", Breton gavelod
  • tenería "tannery", from French tannerie, from tan "tanbark"; akin to Breton tann "red oak", Old Cornish tannen, Old Irish teine "holly", Irish teine "furze, gorse".
  • pingüino "penguin" from fr. pingouin.
  • tonel "barrel" from French tonel and this from Celtic *tunna "skin"
  • tonelada "ton" see *tonel
  • truhán "buffoon, jester" from French truand

From Italian:

From Late or Vulgar Latin:

  • abedul "birch tree" from late Latin betula "birch", diminutive of Gaulish betuā "birch"; akin to Old Irish bethe, Irish/Scottish beith, Manx beih, Welsh bedw, Breton bezv. The a of abedul is by the influence of Spanish abeto "fir tree. See biezo.
  • álamo "white poplar"
  • alondra "lark" (OSp aloa) from gaulish alauda
  • alosa "shad"
  • ambuesta
  • amelga "plot of land marked for planting"
  • añicos "shards, smithereens"
  • arpende "arpent" (OSp arapende) from Latin arapennis "old measure"
  • banzo "cross-bar" from common Celtic wankios
  • baranda "railing, balustrade"
  • bazo "spleen" from Latin badios "red"
  • beleño "henbane" from gaulish beleniom "henbane"
  • belesa "leadwort"
  • berrendo "bicolor(ed) (animal); pronghorn bull"
  • berro "watercress" from commom Celtic *beruro "watercress"
  • berrueco, barrueco "granitic crag, irregular pearl, round nodule"
  • betún "tar" from Latin *bitumen
  • bezo "big lip"
  • biezo "birch" from common Celtic betio "birch".
  • bodollo "pruning hook"
  • boque/*buco "billy-goat, buck"
  • bosta "dung" from *boud-sta (PIE gwou- "excrement") Proto-Celtic: boud-ro "dirty"
  • breca "common pandora" from Celtic *brĭcco "spotted, speckled"
  • OSp bren "bran; filth"
  • breña "scrubland"
  • brezo "heather"
  • británico "British"
  • brizo "cradle, lap"
  • bruja "witch"
  • brusco
  • buco "billy goat" froma Celtic *bukko
  • bustar "cow pasture"
  • camba "standard, sheth (of plow)", cambija "water tower"
  • cambriano "Cambrian"
  • camino "way" from Celtic *camanos through lat. caminus
  • cantiga "song"
  • carro "cart"
  • cayo
  • centollo "spider crab"
  • colmado
  • colmena "beehive"
  • combleza "mistress, home-wrecker"
  • correa "belt"
  • corro "circle"
  • cresa "maggot"
  • cueto "hillock"
  • duerna "trough"
  • embarazar
  • engorar "to addle"
  • eranela
  • galga "large stone"
  • gallardo "gaillard" from French gaillard
  • gancho "hook"
  • garra "claw, talon"
  • garza "heron"
  • gavilla "handful, fagot"
  • germánico "Germanic"
  • gladíola/gladiola
  • greña "stubborn or tangled hair"
  • gubia through the Latin gulbia from Celtic *gulbia
  • güero ~ huero "vain, vacuous, without substance"
  • lama "silt"
  • landa "open field"
  • lanza "lance"
  • lanzar "to launch"
  • lata "tin, tin can"
  • légamo "slime, mud"
  • legua "league (unit)"
  • lía "dregs, lees"
  • llanta
  • loja, locha
  • losa "flagstone" from hisp-Celtic *lausa "flagstone"
  • mina "mine" through the Latin mina. However asturian mena 'vein' directly from Celtic *mena.
  • páramo "moorland"
  • pieza "piece" from Celtic *pĕttĭa through the Latin pĕtia.
  • pingüino "penguin"
  • pinzón "finch"
  • pote "pot"
  • quéjigo "Portuguese oak"
  • raya "line"
  • rodaballo "brill, seabass"
  • sábalo "shad"
  • sabueso "hound"
  • saya "tunic", *sayo "cloak" through the Latin sagium from Celtic *sagos
  • sel "mountain pasture, commons"
  • serna "ploughed or sown field"
  • soga "rope"
  • taladro "auger, drill"
  • tanino "tanine"
  • tarugo "wooden peg"
  • tejón "badger"
  • tenería
  • terco "stubborn"
  • tollo "mire, muddy place"
  • tona
  • tranca "cudgel, club"
  • trapo "rag"
  • varga "straw- or thatch-roofed hut"
  • varón "man"
  • vasallo "vassal" from Celtic *vassallos "servant" through the Latin vassallus
  • vereda "path" from Celtic *voretom through the Latin vereda "way"
  • yezgo, yiezgo "dwarf elder"

Inherited Hispano-Celtic

  • acarrear= to cart, to transport: from a- + carro (see carro below) + the verbal infinitive suffix -ar.
  • álamo "white poplar" (also Asturian llamera); akin to Irish leamhán "elm", Welsh llwyf, Cornish elow, Breton evlec'h "elm"
  • alondra "lark" (OSp aloa), from Gaulish alauda "crest lark", derivative of *ala "swan", akin to Ir eala, W alarch
  • ambuesta, (also Catalan embosta, almosta), from Gaulish ambostā "hands together"; akin to Old Irish imbas
  • amelga, from *ambelica, from ambi "around" + el- "to go" + -ica; akin to Old Irish adellaim "to visit, go to", Welsh elo "I went", Cornish ella "he was going"
  • añicos "smithereens" (also Old Galician anaco, Old Catalan anyoc), from *ann- + -acos
  • Old Spanish arapende "arpent"; akin to Old Irish airchenn "end, extremity", Welsh arbenn "chief", erbyn "against"
  • banzo "cross-bar", from *wankio "bar, beam"; akin to Irish féige "ridgepole"
  • baranda "railing, balustrade", (also Portuguese varanda, Catalan barana) from *varandā, from *rannā "part, portion"; Welsh rhan, Breton rann, Irish roinn
  • beleño "henbane", from belenion; akin to Welsh bele "henbane", Old Irish béal "sun"
  • belga= of Belgium, a Belgian: from Latin Belga, singular of Belgae, from Gaulish Belgae, possibly meaning "the threatening (ones), the swollen (ones)," the IE root (*)bhelgh-, extension of (*)bhel- "to swell" [1].
  • berrendo "bicolor; pronghorn", originally just "pronghorn", from *barrovindos "white-tipped", from *barros "tip, peak" + vindos "white"; akin to Irish/Breton barr "peak", Cornish/Welsh bar "id."; also Old Irish find, Ir/Sc fionn, Welsh gwyn, Breton gwenn
  • berro "watercress", from *beruro; akin to Welsh berwr, Breton/Cornish beler, Old Irish birar, Irish biolar, Scottish biolaire
  • berrueco "granite crag, cliff", from ver "over" and rocca "rock"
  • berzo (dial.) (also OSp brizo), from *bertium "load"; akin to Irish/Scottish beárt "load", bertaim "to rock"
  • bezo "big lip, lip blubber", from OSp beço "snout", from *beiccion "animal's mouth", from *baicciō "to yell"; akin to Old Irish béccim, Irish béic ‘yell, roar’, Scottish beuc, Welsh beichio ‘to low, sob’, Cornish begi ‘to bray’, Breton begiad ‘to bleat’
  • bodollo (Huesca) "pruning hook", from *vidubion (also French vouge, Occitan vezoig); akin to Welsh gwyddif "billhook", Cornish gwydhyv "id.", Irish fiodhbha "sickle", Breton gouzifiad "boar-spear"
  • breña "scrubland; rocky terrain", from *brigna, from briga "fortress"; akin to Middle Irish brí, g. brig "mountain", Scottish breaghe "fortified hill", Welsh bre "hill", bryn "id", Breton bre "hill", bern "brooch, prickles"
  • brezo "heather" (also Navarre beruezo, Galician breixo, asturian berezu) from *wroikio akin to Welsh grwug, Cornish grig, Middle Breton groegan, Old Irish froech, Irish fraoch. Nevertheless Catalan bruc, from Late Latin *brucca.
  • bruja "witch" (also Port bruxa, Arag broixa, Catal bruixa), from *bruxtia, from *brixta "magic"; akin to Middle Welsh brith-ron "magic wand", Breton bre "witch, magic", breoù "spells, charms", Old Irish brichtu "charms", brigim "to light up, illuminate", Brigit "shining one".
  • brusco is from Italian brusco "sharp, tart, rough" and has two possible etymologies:
    • either it is akin to Welsh brysg "nimble, lively", Irish/Scottish briosg "to be surprised, to jump for joy"
    • or it is from Medieval Latin bruscus "butcher's broom plant", a blend of Latin ruscus "butcher's broom" and Late Latin brucus "heather"
  • bustar "cow pasture" (OSp busto "meadow, cowfield", Portuguese bostar), from Celt-Iberian boustom "byre, cowshed" (Old Irish búas "wealth in cattle") and aro "field" (cf. Irish ár, Welsh âr, Breton ar)
  • canto "rim", from cantus (also French jante); akin to Welsh cant "felloe, wheel-rim", Breton kant "disk", Middle Irish céte "assembly circle, circus ring"
  • camba "standard, sheth (of a plow)", cambija "water tower" (also Portuguese canga "yoke", Galician camba "wheel rim"), from *camba "crooked, bent", feminine of *cambos; akin to Old Irish camm 'crooked', Irish/Scottish cam, Welsh cam, Cornish/Breton kam "curved, bent"; Welsh camedd "tire rim", Breton kammed, both from *camijo
  • cargar= to load, to charge, to charge with a crime, to carry: from Late Latin carricare "to load," from carrus, see carro below.
  • carril= a highway lane: from carro, see carro below.
  • carro= cart, cartload, car, streetcar, coach: from Latin carrus from Gaulish carros, from the IE root (*)kers- "to run" [2].
  • centollo "spider crab", from Celtic cintu "first" + ollos "large, big", referring to the fact it is larger than more common species of crabs; akin to Breton kent "before", Cornish kens "before, early", Welsh cynt "id.", Irish céad "first"; and Middle Irish oll "big, large", Welsh oll "all, entire"
  • colmena "beehive" (also Portuguese colmeia), from *colmēnā "made from straw", from *colmos "straw" (cf. Leonese cuelmo "straw"); akin to Breton kolo "stalk" (MBr koloff)
  • combleza "mistress, home-wrecker", from OSp comblueça ~ conborça, from *combortia, from *com-berō "to take"; akin to Welsh cymeryd, cymryd 'to take', Breton kemer, komer, Cornish kemeres 'to take', Irish cobirth 'help'
  • combo "bent", from *combos; akin to
  • correa= belt, from Gallo-Latin corrigia "strap"; akin to Old Irish cuimrech "fetter", Scottish cuibhreach "bond, chain", Welsh cyfrwy "saddle", Middle Welsh kyfreieu "leashes", Breton kevre "link, bond"
  • corro "circle"; akin to Middle Irish cor "circle", corrán "sickle", Welsh cor "circle", Cornish kor "hedge, boundary; turn, shift"
  • cresa "maggot", older queresa "maggot", from *carisia "decay"; akin to Old Irish doro-chair "to fall", Irish torchair, Scottish torchuir
  • cueto "hillock" (also Catalan cot "hill"); akin to Gaulish cotto "hillock, curved, humpbacked", Cornish koth "old", Breton coz "id"
  • duerna "trough" (also Galician dorna), from *durnos "hand"; akin to Irish dorn, Welsh dwrn, Breton dourn
  • engorar "to addle", in OSp "to brood" (also Galician gorar "to brood, sit on eggs"); akin to Old Irish gorid 'to warm', Welsh/Cornish gori 'to brood, sit (on eggs)', Breton goriñ
  • galga "large stone", from *gallicā, from *gallos; akin to Old Irish gall 'stone pillar', gallán 'standing stone'
  • gancho "hook" (also French jachère "fallow field"), from *ganscio "small curved branch"; akin to Old Irish gesca "branch"
  • garra "claw, talon"; akin to Welsh gar "leg", Corn/Bret garr "leg, stalk, stem", Old Irish gairri "calves of the leg", Ir cara
  • garza "heron" (also Portuguese garça), from *cárcia; akin to Welsh crychydd, Cornish kerghydh, Breton kerc'heiz
  • gavilla "handful", from gabella, from *gabali; akin to Irish gabhaim "to take", Welsh gafael "to grasp, hold", Cornish gavel; also Welsh gefel "tongs", Breton/Cornish gevel, Old Irish gabál
  • greña (OSp greñón "hair, beard"), from *grennos; akin to Old Irish grend "beard", Irish greann, Welsh grann "eyelid", Breton gourenn
  • gubia "gouge" (also Portuguese goiva, French gouge), from *gulbia; akin to Old Irish gulba "sting", Scottish gilb "chisel", Old Welsh gilb "piercer", Welsh gylf "beak", Old Breton golb "beak", Breton golv "tailess"
  • güero ~ huero "vain, vacuous, without substance", from dialectal gorar "to brood, sit on eggs" (see engorar above)
  • legua "league", from Late Latin leucas; akin to Old Irish líe (gen. líac) "stone", Irish liag
  • lía "dregs, lees", légamo "slime, mud" (liga ~ lidia ~ liria "birdlime", Basque lekeda), from *liga; Old Breton leh 'silt, deposit', Breton lec'hi 'dregs', Welsh llai 'silt, deposit'
  • mina "mine", from *mēna (also Asturian mena "vein"), from *meina "ore"; akin to Welsh mwyn "ore", Cornish moen, Irish míanach
  • páramo "moor", attested as parami, from *par- + -amus (superlative).[1]
  • pinzón "finch" (var. pinchón; also Catalan pinsà) from Gaulish pinciō(ne); akin to Welsh pinc, Breton pint
  • quejigo "Portuguese oak", from earlier cajigo, from Asturian caxigu (also Aragonese caxico, caixico "oak"), from *cass- + -ico; akin to Middle Irish cas "curly, gnarled", cassaim "to bend", Irish cas "to twist, turn, spin", Old Welsh cascord, Welsh cosgordd "twist"
  • rodaballo "brill, seabass", from *rota-ballos "round-limbed", from rota "wheel, circle" + ballos "limb"; akin to Old Irish roth, Welsh rhod, Cornish ros, Breton rod and Irish ball "limb", Welsh balleg ‘sack, purse’, Cornish ballek ‘bow-net’
  • sábalo "shad" (also Portuguese sável, Catalan saboga), from *sabolos; akin to Old Irish sam "summer", Welsh haf, Breton hañv, Cornish hav, with typical Celtic m > b lenition
  • sabueso (also Port sabuja, Ital segugio, Old Fr seüz), from *segūsiu; akin to Old Irish sechim "I follow", Irish seach "to follow", Middle Welsh -hei "seeker" (cf. cardotei "beggar"), Old Breton -heiat "searcher, gatherer" (cf. cnouheiat "nut gatherer")
  • saya; akin to Middle Irish sén "snare", semmen "rivet", Welsh hoenyn "snare", hemin "rivet"
  • sel, from *sedlon "seat"; akin to Old Welsh hadl
  • serna "tilled or sown field" (also Galician senra, Portuguese seara), from *senaro, from *sen "separate, apart" + *aro "field"; akin to Old Irish sain "alone", Welsh han "other", Cornish honan "self, one's own", and Irish ár, Welsh âr, Breton ar.
  • soga; akin to Welsh syg "chain", Breton sug "harness trace", Irish suag "rope", Scottish sùgan "straw rope"
  • taladro, from *taratron; akin to Welsh taradr "drill", Irish tarachair, Cornish tarder, Breton tarar
  • tarugo, from *tarūcon; akin to Scottish tarag, tarrag "nail, stud"
  • tejón "badger", from taxus; akin to Old Irish tadg "badger", Scottish taghan "marten"
  • terco "stubborn" (also Catalan enterch 'stiff, rigid', Béarnais terc 'cruel, treacherous', Italian terchio, tirchio 'miserly, crude'), from *tercos; akin to Middle Irish terc, Welsh taerc 'miserly, scarce'
  • tollo "mire, muddy place" (also Catalan toll "pool in a river"), from *tollos; akin to Irish toll "hole", Welsh twll, Breton toull
  • tona, from Galician tona "skin, bark", maybe from late Latim tunna,[2] and this from Celtic *tunna, "skin", "crust" (Old Irish tonn "skin, surface", Irish tonn "hide, skin", Welsh ton "skin", Cornish ton "surface", Breton tonnen "rind, surface".
  • tranca "club, cudgel" (also Portuguese tarenco), from *tarinca; akin to Old Irish tairinge "iron nail, tine", Irish tairne "metal nail", Scottish tairnge "nail"
  • truhán "jester, baffoon" (also Portuguese truhão, Galician trogo "sadness, pity"); akin to Old Irish tróg "miserable", Irish trogha, Scottish truagh, Welsh tru "wretched", Breton truc "beggar", Cornish troc "miser; wretched"
  • varga, (also Portuguese/Catalan barga), from barga (AD 2nd century); akin to Middle Irish barc "fort; woodhouse"
  • yezgo, yiezgo "elder" (also Asturian eldu, Occitan augué, êgou), from iedgo, from *edecus, from odocos (Marcellus, Med. Lib., 7.13)


See also


  1. ^ This word is known in the native lexicon of the Celtiberian region in Roman times in names and adjectives: PARAMI (CIL II 266), and the town Segontia Paramica. The word could belong to a Hispanic Celtic language which preserved the phoneme /p/ or to another Western Indo-European language as Lusitanian (X. Ballester "Páramo' o del problema de la */P/ en celtoide", Studi celtici 3, 2004, 45-56).
  2. ^ tonaDRAE s.v.


  • Cornelius Joseph Crowly, "New Linguistic Date for Hispano-Celtic: An Evaluation", Bono Homini Donum: Essays in Historical Linguistics in Memory of J. Alexander Kerns, vol. 1, ed., Yoël L. Arbeitman & Allan R. Bomhard (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1981), pp. 73–85.
  • Guido Gómez de Silva, Breve diccionario etimológico de la lengua española (ISBN 968-16-2812-8)
  • The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edn. (2000).
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