Instructions from the print dictionary

The section on how to use the original printed dictionary is reproduced here in full. It includes a great deal of information which is also useful for the on-line version.


This dictionary is based, with the kind permission of Messrs Harrap, on the English-French half of their Shorter English and French Dictionary (1975 and subsequent revisions) and in the main has adopted the format and conventions of that work, with necessary adaptations. The scope of the vocabulary has been immensely increased after consulting many other standard general dictionaries, British and American, as well as many specialized works of reference. As a rule, British spellings of English words are used throughout, following those used in the 1976 and subsequent editions of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. In the case of words having the alternative suffixes -ise/-ize, -isation/-ization, the spellings -ize, -ization have been used throughout.

American users should take note of the following differences in spelling:

(a) the use of -our where American usage has -or (e.g. colour, American color).

(b) the use of -re where American usage has -er (e.g. theatre, American theater).

(c) the doubling of -l- before a vowel in an ending, regardless of accentuation (e.g. woollen, American woolen; travelling, American traveling).

(d) the single -l- before a final syllable beginning with a consonant, where American usage has -11- (e.g. skilful, American skillful; enrolment, American enrollment).

(e) the use of -c- in certain words where American usage has -s- (e.g. defence, American defense).

(f) the use of ae, oe in certain words where American usage has e (e.g. aesthete, American esthete; oedema, American edema).

The spelling of Welsh words follows, as a rule, that adopted in Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, supplemented by Spurrell’s English-Welsh Dictionary (1937), Y Geiriadur Mawr (1958 and subsequent editions) and the Geiriadur Termau (1973), following the principles laid down in Orgraff yr laith Gymraeg (1928).

Form of entries: Each entry is introduced by a headword in bold type; when this is repeated in the entry in exactly the same form, it is replaced by the swung dash or tilde, ~, though plural nouns and inflected forms of verbs are printed in full. If in some senses it is written with a capital letter, then this is indicated by the capital letter and a tilde, e.g. crown n. coron (-au) f the C~, y Goron. Conversely, a proper noun or adjective, if used with a lower-case letter in some senses, is repeated with a lower-case letter. An asterisk (*) indicates that the form following it is a neologism; a bracketed asterisk (*) indicates a neologistic sense of the form following it. Headwords written thus: elliptic[al] should be taken to read elliptic/elliptical, alternative spellings with exactly the same sense.

Adverbs in -ly are listed in their alphabetical order. The vast majority of adverbs in Welsh are formed simply by writing yn + soft mutation + adjective, thus: brave a. dewr, gwrol, eofn. bravely adv. yn ddewr &c.: the &c. is an instruction to refer back to the adjective, implying that a full entry would read yn ddewr, yn wrol, yn eofn, or yn ddewr/wrol/eofn. N.B. when the adverb qualifies a verb, participle or verbal noun, lenition (the soft mutation) does not occur, thus: gradually decreasing, yn graddol leihau or yn lleihau’n raddol.

Nouns ending in -ization are often linked with the corresponding verb ending in -ize in a single entry, since such nouns, indicating a process and having verbal force, are best translated by a verb-noun in Welsh e.g. politicization n., politicize v. gwleidyddoli.

Hyphenated words, and loose compounds (i.e. without hyphen) are normally listed under the headword forming the first element e.g. orange n. is followed by ~ -peel n., ~ -squash n.

Completely fused compounds (i.e. written as one word) will be found in alphabetical order. However this principle has not been adhered to in the case of compounds beginning with a prefix which has no independent existence as a word (e.g. pre-, ex-, un-), and in some other cases of highly productive headwords (e.g. over-, sea-). As no two English dictionaries seem to agree whether or not any given compound is hyphenated, and as American usage tends to omit the hyphen and write hyphenated compounds as single words, all users of this dictionary should be prepared to look for a compound in any one of these possible forms, either following the headword or in strict alphabetical order. In the case of names of plants, birds, fishes &c. of the type field maple, mountain fern &c., see under maple, fern &c.

Phrasal verbs are similarly treated. The simple verb is dealt with first, followed by the compound verb and any noun formed from the compound verb, e.g. break, break down, break-down n. However breaking, broken, broken-down &c. will be found in strict alphabetical order.

Punctuation: Within the sub-headings (1., 2. (a) (b) &c.) indicating different senses of a word, a comma is taken to separate virtual synonyms, while a semi-colon indicates a different shade of meaning. An example shown in brackets e.g. to arouse (envy), achosi/peri (cenfigen) does not necessarily imply that the verbs achosi, peri can be used in no other context. The stroke / is used in two ways: (i) to separate interchangeable synonyms: thus achosi/peri (cenfigen) is the equivalent of writing achosi cenfigen or peri cenfigen; (ii) to separate, in the English text, a selection of possible objects of a verb thus: to gather nuts/berries, the stroke will then be found in the corresponding Welsh text, thus: casglu cnau/mwyar.

Abbreviations and field markers: As this is a translating, not in principle a defining dictionary, the greatest attention should be paid to the abbreviations and other field markers. The abbreviations immediately following the headword of course refer back to the headword, and not necessarily to the Welsh words that follow. Thus a headword may be marked as being, in English, F: (familiar), P: (popular, slangy), Hum: or Joe: (humorous, jocular), Pej: (pejorative), Dial: (dialectal), Lit: (literary), A: (archaic), and so on. While every effort has been made to supply a translation in the same linguistic register, it may be the case that, of some archaic or slangy expression, the Welsh equivalent is not itself archaic or slangy. Where necessary to distinguish between homographs, and in many other cases, virtual synonyms in English are given, e.g. for row, 1. n. (= line) . . .2. n. (= outing in a boat), or the sense is indicated by indicating a typical object (of a verb) or a typical noun (after an adjective) thus for row, 3. v. t. to ~ a boat; long a. hir(-ion); (hair, gown): llaes. Otherwise, the sense will be made clear by illustrative phrases or sentences.

Dialect and colloquialisms: While a printed dictionary is necessarily, in the first place, a dictionary of the written language, and cannot teach anyone the spoken language, nevertheless, as far as is possible, every attempt has been made to include colloquial words and expressions in both English and Welsh. Most users of a bilingual dictionary want to know ‘How do you say … in Welsh?’ We have striven to introduce the learner of Welsh to as much as possible of the wealth of Welsh vocabulary and idiom. In particular, no dictionary of Welsh can realistically afford to ignore the wealth of vocabulary and idioms in the spoken and written dialects. In Welsh, dialects do not have the lowly status of dialects in English. Welsh with some dialectal features will be found as the medium of dialogue in modern plays and novels, and in light poetry. The learner of Welsh living in the North will learn that the standard word for milk is llaeth, but will need to know that in the North llefrith is widely used. The greater mobility of Welsh speakers, and the influence of the media, have made it more difficult to delineate dialect areas very exactly. The geographic distribution of dialect words and phrases has been approximately indicated thus: N: North Wales; S: South Wales, indicating words widely distributed in the respective areas: N. W: North-West, approx. = Gwynedd; N.E: North-East, approx. = Clwyd; M.W: Mid-Wales = Merioneth and Montgomeryshire; S.W: South-West = Dyfed; S.E: South-East = Glamorgan, Gwent and Brecknock. The lexical differences between the dialects of North and Mid-Wales are in fact not numerous; many or most words shown as North-Western may indeed be current throughout the rest of the North. The Southern region is larger and more populous, and the majority of Welsh-speakers live there, thus the lexical differences between the Southern dialects are more numerous. The differences between all the varieties of spoken Welsh concern only a tiny proportion of the vocabulary; the differences have often been exaggerated, usually out of sheer ignorance or hostility.

English forms ending in -ing: These have been separately listed when they are purely adjectival (a charming girl) or are concrete nouns (a lofty building, a great gathering) but not as a rule when participial, i.e. having a verbal force (a girl gathering berries; a bird singing on a branch); nor when it is a verbal noun having the same force as an infinitive (building a house is costly = to build a house is costly). When the -ing form is participial, the equivalent construction in Welsh is yn + verb-noun, thus: a girl is gathering berries, mae geneth yn casglu mwyar. When the -ing form is a verbal noun, the equivalent in Welsh is the verb-noun, thus: building a house is costly, mae adeiladu tŷ yn ddrud or peth drud yw adeiladu tŷ or Lit: drud yw adeiladu tŷ. In sentences of the type, shouting loudly, the crowd rushed by, the -ing is to be translated by tan/gan + soft mutation + verb-noun or, less usually, by yn + verb-noun: tan/gan weiddi’n uchel, rhuthrodd y dyrfa heibio or yn gweiddi’n uchel … If the -ing form implies a condition, as in arriving early, you’ll be surer of a seat, then the Welsh equivalent would be, os cyrhaeddwch yn gynnar . . . or o gyrraedd yn gynnar . . . or trwy/gan gyrraedd yn gynnar . . . The -ing form with a negative is best rendered by heb + soft mutation + verb-noun, e.g., not knowing where she was, heb wybod pa le yr oedd hi or gan na wyddai… or a hithau heb wybod …

Past participles: We have not as a rule listed past participles (such as fainted, cried, &c.) except when they are adjectival (e.g. burnt, painted, &c.). Welsh verbs generally have a corresponding form, consisting of the verb-stem + edig, e.g., burnt, llosgedig; painted, paentiedig. N.B. the Welsh forms cannot be used to form any compound tenses nor used to convey the passive voice. Thus, she has fainted, mae hi wedi llewygu; the house was burned, llosgwyd y tŷ or cafodd y tŷ ei losgi. When a past participle heads a sentence, it must be preceded by yn + soft mutation: frightened, she screamed, yn ddychrynedig, fe sgrechodd or (more naturally) fe sgrechodd mewn dychryn; or it should be rendered by an adverbial phrase: deeply impressed, he returned, tan argraff ddofn, aeth yn ô1. A passive construction using a past participle + by is best translated by an active construction: pursued by the hounds, the fox disappeared, a’r cŵn yn ei hela, diflannodd y llwynog.

Genders, feminines, plurals: Each noun is followed by its plural, if any, in brackets, and by its gender. If the plural is formed simply by adding a suffix, then this is indicated thus: mother n. mam(-au) f, to be read as mam, plural mamau. Otherwise the plural is written out in full, thus: house n. tŷ (tai) m, cow n. buwch (buchod or gwartheg or da)/. Many nouns have more than one plural, some formed by suffixes, others by internal vowel or other changes, thus: pan n. padell(-i, -au, Lit: pedyll) f. In the case of entries printed thus: frying-pan n. padell(-i, -au) (f) ffrio, this is to be read as equivalent to: padell ffrio, plural padelli ffrio or padellau ffrio. In the case of compounds where the feminine noun causes the second component to mutate, the entry is presented thus: milking-stool n. stol (f) odro (stolion godro). Otherwise, for convenience, the gender is placed after the plural of the noun. Strictly speaking, however, gender differentiation operates only in the singular. Mutable feminine nouns mutate after the definite article in the singular, but not in the plural, thus: the mother, y fam; the mothers, y mamau. Singular feminine nouns are followed by the feminine form of the adjective (if any) and by the lenited form of any mutable adjective, thus: a good mother, mam dda; a green dress, gwisg werdd; but in the plural the adjectives do not lenite, and there are no plural forms of the feminine singular adjective. Instead, the singular or plural masculine form is used, thus: good mothers, mamau da; the good mothers, y mamau da; green dresses, gwisgoedd gwyrdd/gwyrddion. In short, feminine plural nouns behave exactly as if they were masculine singular nouns. The only exceptions to this rule are pobl(-oedd) f people, which lenites both in the singular and plural, thus: the people, y bobl; the peoples, y bobloedd, and low people, y boblach. Note that all plural nouns govern a singular verb.

All plural forms of adjectives are listed, but many adjectives are invariable and even in the case of those that have plurals, the use of the singular form with a plural noun is widely accepted as normal.

Nouns which may be of either gender are listed thus: edge n. ymyl(-on) mf. If we have thought a noun was more usually feminine, then it has been entered thus: side n. ochr(-au)fm. Nouns denoting human beings and other animates, and which may be of either gender depending on sex, are listed thus: Venetian n. Fenisiad (Fenisiaid) m&f. Names of languages are usually of the feminine gender, thus: (the) Welsh (language) is Cymraeg f, y Gymraeg. However, if the name of the language is qualified in any way, as by an adjective or otherwise, then it becomes masculine, thus: good English, Saesneg da. This rule applies to all names of languages and is indicated thus: French n. Ling: Ffrangeg f, m. The genders of

Welsh place-names have been given where ascertainable, based on the gender of the core component, thus: names beginning with Tre- are feminine and those beginning with Glyn- are masculine. To a large extent the question is academic, since all mutable adjectives lenite after all place-names as if they were all feminine; the distinction of gender can be clearly determined only by whether one says hwn or hon, hwnnw or honno – this/that – after the name, and whether the sense calls for an article before the name: y Bala hwnnw, y Ganada honno. Similarly, adjectives lenite after personal names, whether masculine or feminine, e.g. Llywelyn the Great, Llywelyn Fawr. (However, in the North, braf tends not to lenite, and bach is often not lenited after a feminine noun.)

Nouns ending in -wr/ydd in Welsh, corresponding generally to nouns in -or/-er in English, are always masculine, even when referring to women; likewise nouns such as meddyg, doctor, plentyn, child and so on. However, nouns in -ydd may have a corresponding feminine form in -yddes, plural -yddesau. Likewise for every noun ending in -wr there may be a corresponding feminine form in -wraig, plural -wragedd. While some are very commonly used, others are much less so, and some exist only in principle. They have been listed where considered to be in use. The plural forms in -wragedd are little used in practice, the masculine or neuter plural -wyr being far more usual; we have often not listed them, but the plural form can easily be made if really necessary. However, it must be reiterated, gender is a grammatical classification, not an indicator of sex; it is misleading and unfortunate that the labels masculine and feminine have to be used, according to tradition. It would be just as logical to classify nouns as red nouns and green nouns, or as round nouns and square nouns. There is no reason why nouns ending in -wr, -ydd should not refer equally well to a woman as to a man. To avoid repetition, a colon (:) is used to separate noun forms which are synonymous and which share the same plural and the same gender, e.g., peiriannwr: peiriannydd (peirianwyr) m.

Stress marks: In polysyllables in Welsh the main stress falls as a rule on the last syllable but one. If one or more syllables are suffixed, the rule still applies, i.e. the stress will automatically move forward to the last syllable but one, e.g. ffenestr, plural ffenestri. In this dictionary exceptions to the rule are indicated by a thin vertical line | before the stressed vowel, e.g. caraf|an, p|aragraff, |ambiwlans, ff|yrbilo. The line thus shown does not form part of the usual spelling of the word and is not repeated in the entry. Many such words conform to the general rule in the plural, e.g. ac|ademi (academïau), t|estament (testam|entau). This vertical marker is not used where the stress is already normally indicated either by the circumflex, e.g. in achlân, or by the grave accent, e.g. carafàn. In general, borrowed words keep their original stress pattern.