Kate Monk's Onomastikon

(Dictionary of Names)

Welsh Bynames

Before Norman systems were imposed, it was usual for people to have one given name followed by a byname, usually a patronym. It was also fairly common for people to be known by a name which identified them according to their appearance, character or occupation. Sometimes these names have a different initial letter from the word from which they are derived. This is due either to mutation (v to f, p to b) or to mistakes in transcriptions by scribes more familiar with Latin or English. Men usually used the mutated form and women always did. A woman might have a byname taken from her husband's given name or keep her own patronymic.


Annwyl dear/beloved
bach/vach little/endearment
balch proud
bongam/vongam bandy-legged
bras fat
brenin king
broch badger?
cadarn/gadarn strong
cam/gam lame/crooked/squinting
cethin/gethin/kethin swarthy/ugly
chwith/with/whith/wyth lefthanded/clumsy
crach/crak/grach scabby
cron round
cryg/crek/grek hoarse/stammering
cul narrow/thin
cwtta/cutta/coutta/gutta short/stingy
du/duy black
fychan/bychan/vachan little/young
glandeg handsome
glas/las blue/green
goch/coch red
grych curly
gwen fair/blessed
gwyllt wild
gwyn/wyn(m)/wen(f) white/fair
hagr ugly
hir/hyre/hire tall
ieunc junior
lleif smallest
llwyd/loyt grey
main/fain thin
mawr/fawr/maur big
melyn/felyn/velin/velyn yellow (hair)
moel/foel/voyl/voil bald
pen/ben head/chief
penbras/benbras fat-head
pengrych/pengrek/bengrek curly-head
rhwth/ruth greedy/wide
sais/seys/seis English (speaking)
teg/deg fair
tew/dew stout
Twp stupid


coedwr woodman
crythor/crouthor(m)/crouthores(f) crwth-player
cynydd/kennith/kenith/kynith huntsman
gof/of smith
Gwas servant
meddyg/feddyg/methig doctor
melinydd/velinith/melinnith/mal miller
offeiriad/offeriot priest
pannwr/bannwr fuller
Pobydd baker
Porthmon drover
Saer carpenter
ysginydd/skynith/skinnith/skinith tailor

This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.

Copies may be made for personal use only.

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