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Old Irish[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


Once thought to be a loanword from Latin vocābulum (appellation, designation), but more likely a native word from Proto-Celtic *woxtlom (compare Welsh gwaethl (argument)), from Proto-Indo-European *wokʷtlom (compare Sanskrit वक्त्र (vaktrá, mouth)), from *wekʷ- (to speak).[1] The older theory was defended in the print edition of Matasović’s dictionary,[2] but the online Addenda et Corrigenda reflect the newer theory.[3]



focul n or m

  1. word


Neuter o-stem
Singular Dual Plural
Nominative foculN foculN foculL, focula
Vocative foculN foculN foculL, focula
Accusative foculN foculN foculL, focula
Genitive focuilL focul foculN
Dative foculL foculaib foculaib
Initial mutations of a following adjective:
  • H = triggers aspiration
  • L = triggers lenition
  • N = triggers nasalization


  • Irish: focal
  • Manx: fockle
  • Scottish Gaelic: facal


Old Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Nasalization
focul ḟocul focul
pronounced with /β(ʲ)-/
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.


  1. ^ Stüber, Karin (1998) The Historical Morphology of n-Stems in Celtic, Maynooth: Department of Old Irish, National University of Ireland, →ISBN, page 70.
  2. ^ Matasović, Ranko (2009) Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 9), Leiden: Brill, →ISBN, page 429
  3. ^ Matasović, Ranko (2011 December) “Addenda et corrigenda to Ranko Matasović’s Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic (Brill, Leiden 2009)”, in Homepage of Ranko Matasović[1], Zagreb, page 43




  1. definite nominative/accusative singular of foc