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Disputed. Generally believed[1] to be from Gaulish/Transalpine Gaulish caballos.[2]. This term is cognate to Welsh ceffyl,[3][1] Manx cabbyl,[1] Scottish Gaelic and Irish capall.[1]

Also proposed is Ancient Greek καβάλλης (kabállēs, nag), in turn possibly a borrowing from a Balkan, Anatolian, or north-east European language. Compare Russian кобыла (kobyla), and Serbo-Croatian кобила/kobila (mare).



caballus m (genitive caballī); second declension

  1. horse; nag
  2. pack-horse, jade, hack

Usage notes[edit]

In Classical Latin, the word equus is used for a horse, and caballus is used only by the poets. It's only later, in Vulgar and Late Latin, that caballus appears in prose.


Derived terms[edit]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Origins, by Eric Partridge, page 85
  2. ^ Delamare 2003 p.96
  3. ^ The Origin of Language and Nations, by Rowland Jones page 151
  • Delamarre, X. & Lambert, P. -Y. (2003). Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise : Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental (2nd ed.). Paris: Errance. ISBN

978 2 87772 369 5, ISBN 2 87772 237 6