24 Welsh words and sayings that make it the best language in the world

Welsh words

The Welsh language is a beautiful collection of words -an abundance of melodic sayings and evocative phrases that make you want to ‘cwtch’ the person talking.

There’s a reason Wales is known as the land of song, and it’s because our winning words literally make it sound like we're singing when we speak.

In celebration of our poetic language, we’ve chosen our favourite words, sayings, phrases and proverbs to share and learn. Some are full of wisdom, some warmth, some wonder - and some just make us smile when we say them. 

1. Cwtch

Having a cwtch
Maybe the most famous and our favourite "cwtch" is widely used in Wales by both Welsh and English speakers. The word has two meanings and most people will know the first - a hug or a cuddle. But it also means so much more than that - love, embrace, warmth and affection. The second meaning means a safe place to store things - like a cubbyhole in English. The two meanings sort of tie together - an embrace that feels like a safe place. You’ll find the word cwtch around Bluestone - including small play areas for children in our Skomer lodges and welcome room at the Well Spa.

2. Ling di long

Walking ling di long
If the Welsh language is a song, then this word should be first on the songsheet! It means lackadaisical - aimless wandering, lack of enthusiasm or direction: “Let’s walk ling di long along to the nature trail.”

3. Hiraeth

A sad cat feeling hiraeth

Hiraeth is often translated to homesickness but it means a lot more - a longing, yearning, wistfulness and a nostalgia for the way things once were. It is often used to described a place you cannot return to.

4. Iechyd Da

Say Lechyd Da
Most commonly heard in South Wales, it essentially means ‘cheers’. One to use in the Knight’s Tafarn.

5. Hwyl

Having hwyl
A little like the Irish word ‘craic’, the Welsh word hwyl is used to express a stirring sensation, fervour, emotion, motivation and enthusiasm.

It can also mean ‘goodbye’ as a shortened version of ‘hwyl fawr’. 

6. Pili pala

Pili pala

A lovely one from the animal kingdom meaning ‘butterfly’ - pronounced 'pill-ee pall-ah’.

7. Bwbach

The Bwbach Parade

This is a phrase we have embraced at Bluestone and has inspired the Bwbach Festival that runs on site during the Autumn months.

The ‘Bw’ of Bwbach is pronounced ‘Boo’ with the closest translation being ‘little scare’ - like a playful prank. 

It’s also used to describe scarecrow or a playful hobgoblin who would help out around the house in return for cream and occasionally play pranks on people. The word for scarecrow is a bit more grown up - Bwgan brain, pronounced ‘boo-gan braen’.

8. Dwt

A dwt baby on the grass

Dwt means a little person or just a 'dinky thing'. If you are dwt (rhymes with ‘put’) you are cute, sweet and small. We have a lot of dwt fairies and hobbits living in the secret village at Bluestone.

9. Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon

Wales has plenty of heart

This is one of Wales’ most famous proverbs and means ‘a nation without a language is a nation without a heart’. It is pronounced phonetically as ‘ken-edl heb yayth, kenedl heb gal-on’.

10. Rhoi'r ffidil yn y tô

This phrase means to give up on something and is pronounced ‘roy'r fiddil un uh tor’ and means ‘putting the fiddle in the roof’. A bit like throwing in the towel in English.

11. Coracle

A Coracle on the lake

Not normally found much outside of Wales, a coracle is a small round wicker boat that you propel yourself over water with using a wooden paddle. It’s a rather serene experience - you can commonly find people bobbing about on them at Bluestone’s lake.

12. Ych-af-i

Disgusted woman
Meaning utterly disgusting, repulsive or gross - ych-af-i  is an effective way of telling someone something is really not to your taste.

13. Pikelet

Pikelets
A Pikelet is a type of small thick pancake commonly found in England but is originally a Welsh word derived from 'bara pyglyd', meaning ‘pitchy bread’. The word spread initially to the West Midlands of England, where it was anglicised to picklets and then to pikelets.

14. Ty Coffi

Ty Coffi at Bluestone
One of our favourites and one of those odd Welsh phrases that means exactly what you think it does but not in the way you think! Ty is pronounced 'tee' and actually means ‘house’ in English and coffi means, well, coffee. So although you might think Ty Coffi means ‘tea and coffee’ it actually means ‘coffee house’ - hence the name of our coffee house at the Bluestone resort!

15. Meicrodon

A microwave
Pronounced ‘micro-don’ it does not mean ‘small Italian gangster’ - it actually means microwave.

16. Wnco mwnco

Wnco mwnco
Literally meaning ‘him over there’ it’s pronounced ‘oon-core moon-core’. There’s a version for ‘her over there’ as well - ‘Onco fonco’ - which is pronounced ‘oncore von-core’ and is no less fun to say.

17. Chwyrligwgan

Chwyrligwgan
 This rather beauitful words means ‘merry go round’ but don’t be fooled by the ‘ch’. It’s the same ‘ch’ you get in ‘loch’ in Scotland. So do you best with how it’s pronounced - ‘choo-url-ee-goo-gan’. 

18. Sglodion

Chips
A nice simple one that’s fun to say: Sglod-yon. It means chips.

19. Bwci bo

Bwci bo
Another Bwbach-related word Bwci bo means ‘ghost’ and is pronounced ‘bookee bore'

20. Spigoglys

Spinach smoothie

Are you getting your greens? Then you’ll be familiar with spinach - which is pronounced ‘spig-ogg-liss’ in Welsh.

21. Dros ben llestri

Dros ben llestri

Another favourite of ours, this means ‘over the top’, as in excessive, exaggerated or beyond reasonable limits. The phrase ‘dros ben’ on its own means “residual, spare; extra, extremely, indeed, over”. Together the phrase actually literally translates to ‘over the dishes’. 

22. Buwch goch gota

A ladybird or buwch goch gota
How many 'buwch gosh gotas' did you see on your last walk in the countryside? It means lady bird in English, though the direct translation is a lot more amusing - literally meaning ‘little red cow’. Also a favourite - gwdihŵ, pronounced ‘good-ee-hoo’ – meaning owl. Yes, it sounds like an owl hoot!

23. Llond fy mol

Farmhouse Grill Entrance Logo
One to remember for after dinner at the Farmhouse Grill. Llond fy mol means ‘full’.

24. A fo ben, bid bont

A pretty bridge
A lovely wise proverb to finish our list, meaning ‘if you want to be a leader, be a bridge’. It literally translates to 'he who would be a leader, let him be a bridge’.

You can find out more about our autumn breaks during Bwbach here

Categories:Social Media, Pembrokeshire

Tags:Wales

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