The meaning of Welsh names

    From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

    Welsh words which appear as names on the F.R. (not an exhaustive list)

    Firstly a few words of explanation.

    It should be remembered that under certain circumstances Welsh words can mutate; i.e. the initial consonant can change to another specific letter. There are actually 3 types of mutation in the language, but only the soft mutation need be considered here.

    The most common causes of soft mutation in place names are;

    • in a compound word (two words put together) the second will invariably mutate.

    Many place names consist of several words (e.g. Tanygrisiau, Glan-y-pwll) but the hyphen is not actually native to Welsh - it was introduced by the English in order to make pronunciation easier.

    • feminine nouns mutate after 'y' (the). NB - The "y" may subsequently have been dropped, but often the mutation remains, e.g. (y) Fron Goch, (y) Dduallt
    • a feminine noun will cause a subsequent adjective to mutate
    • where an adjective comes before a noun (more common historically) it will invariably cause a mutation.

    For information, the 9 letters which soft mutate are as follows –

    b > f     c > g     d > dd     g > _    ll > l     m > f     p > b     rh > r     t > d
    Welsh English
    a and
    afon river
    allt / gallt hill
    bach / fach small, (in place names) Minor
    bagl shepherd’s crook, crutch
    beudy cowshed
    blaenau high inaccessible place*
    bleiddiau wolves
    bod in place names: residence of, place of
    bron small rounded hill, breast
    bryn hill
    buarth farmyard
    budr dirty
    bugail shepherd
    bwlch pass,gap
    cae field, enclosure
    capel chapel
    carnedd cairn, tumulus
    cei quay, embankment
    cefn ridge, back
    cigfran / gigfran raven
    coch / goch red
    coed wood
    corn handle, horn
    craig rock
    creuau hollows
    croesffordd crossroads
    cryddion cobblers, shoemakers
    cwm narrow valley
    cysgfa sleeping place (from cysgu ”to sleep”)
    dau / dwy / deu two
    duffws (diffws etc.) steep slope
    dinas (male noun) fort, fortified place
    dinas (female noun) city
    dol meadow
    du / ddu black
    dyffryn wider valley
    ewig (> wiog) hind
    fali valley (loanword)
    ffestin, ffestiniog fortification, fortifications
    fry above
    ffatri factory
    ffordd road
    ffridd upland pasture
    gallt / allt hill
    gatiau gates
    gelli grove
    glan bank, shore
    grisiau steps, stairs
    gweithdy workshop
    gwlyb wet
    gwyn white
    hafod summer dwelling
    hen old
    isaf lower
    llan originally church enclosure, now more like parish
    llechwedd hillside, slope
    lloc fold, pen
    llwyd (anglicised lloyd) grey
    llyn lake
    maen stone
    Mair Mary
    mawr / fawr big, (in place names) Major
    melyn yellow
    min edge, lip
    moel bare hill
    môr sea
    naddu to hew
    newydd new
    nyth nest
    offeryn (offeren) tool, instrument
    pant / bant hollow
    pen top, head, end
    penrhyn headland, promontory
    picyn noggin, pail
    plas large house, mansion
    pont / bont bridge
    porth harbour, gateway
    pwll pool, pit
    rhediad slope, gradient
    rhedyn bracken
    rhiw hill, slope, bank
    rhos moor, heath
    rhyn hill
    tafarn pub
    tan under
    traeth beach
    tro bend, curve
    trwyn nose, headland
    uchaf upper
    uffern hell
    y / yr / ’r the
    ychain oxen
    ynys island
    ystradau high wide valleys

    * Traditionally the meaning of "Blaenau Ffestiniog" has been given as "heads of Ffestiniog". "Blaen" has various meanings, including "front/point/end/head" but can also mean "source", as in Blaenrhondda & Blaenrheidol. In its plural form, however, it is used to mean a "high inaccessible place", as also in Blaenau Gwent. (source: Geiriadur Gomer)

    (feel free to add more, just the Welsh if 
     preferred, and we'll translate it)

    See also[edit]