From Middle French Gaule, from Old French Gaule, Waulle (“Gaul”), from Frankish *Walha(land) (“Gaul”, literally “land of the Romans or foreigners”), from *Walha (“foreigners, Romans, Celts”), from Proto-Germanic *walhaz (“outlander, foreigner, Celt”), probably of Celtic origin, from the same source as Latin Volcae (name of a Celtic tribe in Southern Germany, which later emigrated to Gaul). Cognate with Old High German Walh, Walah (“Celt, Roman, Gaul”), Old English Wealh, Walh (“a non-germanic foreigner, Celt”), Old Norse Valir (“Gauls, Frenchmen”). More at Wales, Cornwall, Walloon.
Despite their similar appearance, Latin Gallia is probably not the origin of French Gaule. 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 transposes 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 (former name of France)
- French: Gaule
- plural of