From French Gaule (“Gaul”), from Middle French Gaule (“Gaul”), from Old French Gaule, Waulle (“Gaul”), a word used as a translation of Latin Gallia (“Gaul”), from Frankish *Walholant (“Gaul, Land of the Romans, foreigners”), from Frankish *Walha (“foreigners, Romans, Celts”), from Proto-Germanic *walhaz (“an outlander, foreigner, Celt”), probably of Celtic origin, from the same source as Latin Volcae (“name of a Celtic tribe in South Germany, which later emmigrated to Gaul”). Akin to Old High German Walh, Walah (“a Celt, Roman, Gaul”), Old English Wealh, Walh (“a non-Germanic foreigner, Celt/Briton/Welshman”), Old Norse Valir (“Gauls, Frenchmen”). More at Wales, Cornwall, Walloon.
Despite their similar appearance, Latin Gallia is probably not the origin of French Gaul; the similarity is purely coincidental. According to regular sound changes in the development of Old French, Latin g before a becomes j (compare gamba, whence jambe), and the i of terminal -ia transpositions to the preceding syllable (compare gloire from gloria). Thus, the regular outcome of Latin Gallia is Jaille, a component still seen in several French placenames (e.g. La Jaille-Yvon, Saint-Mars-la-Jaille, etc).
Gaul (plural Gauls)
- A person from Gaul.
Gaul m (plural Gäule)
- Gaul in Duden online