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See also: imb' and imb-


Alternative forms[edit]


Univerbation of ma’ +‎ b’, fossilised in fixed impressions.




  1. Alternative form of b’ used in a few expressions.
    wiċċ imb wiċċface to face
    ras imb rashead to head
    mparof the same age
    mbilliinasmuch as

Old Irish[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

  • imm (both etymologies)


Etymology 1[edit]

From Proto-Celtic *amban (compare Welsh ymenyn), from Proto-Indo-European *h₃engʷen- (compare Latin unguen (grease), Old High German ancho (butter)), from *h₃engʷ- (anoint).[1]


imb n or m (genitive imme, no plural)

  1. butter
Neuter n-stem
Singular Dual Plural
Nominative imbN
Vocative imbN
Accusative imbN
Genitive imme
Dative immimL
Initial mutations of a following adjective:
  • H = triggers aspiration
  • L = triggers lenition
  • N = triggers nasalization
  • Irish: im
  • Manx: eeym
  • Scottish Gaelic: ìm

Etymology 2[edit]

From Proto-Celtic *ambi (compare Welsh am), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂m̥bʰi (round about, around). Cognate with Latin ambi-, Sanskrit अभि (abhí, towards, over, upon), Old Persian 𐎠𐎲𐎡𐎹 (a-b-i-y /⁠abiy⁠/, towards, against, upon), Old High German umbi, Ancient Greek ἀμφί (amphí, about, around) and the first part of Old Armenian ամբ-ողջ (amb-ołǰ, whole).



  1. around
    • c. 800, Würzburg Glosses on the Pauline Epistles, published in Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus (reprinted 1987, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies), edited and with translations by Whitley Stokes and John Strachan, vol. I, pp. 499–712, Wb. 27b16
      Gaibid immib a n‑étach macc coím-sa, amal nondad maicc coím-a, .i. uiscera is hé in dechellt as·beir.
      Put on (literally, put around you) this raiment of servants, as you all are servants, i.e. viscera is the garment that he mentions.

Forms with a definite article:

  • immin, immun (around the (masculine/feminine accusative singular))

Forms with a possessive determiner:

  • imdu (around your sg)
  • imma, imme (around his/her/its/their)

Forms with a relative pronoun:

  • Irish: um
  • Scottish Gaelic: mu
  • Manx: mysh


Old Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Nasalization
imb unchanged n-imb
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.


  1. ^ Matasović, Ranko (2009), “*amben-”, in Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 9), Leiden: Brill, →ISBN, page 69

Further reading[edit]