Derivation of "Wales"

Richard J Senghas Richard.Senghas at
Fri Sep 23 15:12:28 UTC 2005

Here's what the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition, has for 
etymology of "welsh", as I didn't find an entry for "Wales":

[OE. (West Saxon) Wilisc, Wylisc, (Anglian and Kentish) Welisc, Wælisc, 
f. Wealh, Walh, Celt, Briton, = OHG. Walh, Walah (MHG. Walch, G. Wahle) 
Celt, Roman, etc., ON. *Valr (pl. Valir, Gauls, Frenchmen): see etym. 
note to WALNUT, and cf. WALACH and VLACH. To the English adj. 
correspond OHG. wal(a)hisc, walesc (MHG. walh-, wälhisch, walsch, etc., 
G. wälsch, welsch), Roman, Italian, French, Du. waalsch Walloon, ON. 
valskr Gaulish, French (MSw. valskr; Sw. välsk, Da. vælsk Italian, 
French, southern); cf. the note to WALSHNUT.
  In OE. the final h of the stem normally disappeared before the 
adjectival ending. The West Saxon type *Wielisc (from Wealh) did not 
survive beyond the OE. period; the two Anglian and Kentish types (from 
Walh) existed concurrently till the 16th cent., after which Welsh 
became the sole form in general use, Walsh remaining only as a surname. 
(The AF. Waleis, which is rarely employed in ME., also survives in the 
surname Wallace.)
  The spelling Welch is retained in the title of the Royal Welch 

On Sep 23, 2005, at 6:02 AM, Julia Pührer wrote:

> I can confirm this. I have only recently heard that in the Austrian 
> province of Carinthia, people who belong to the Slovene minority there 
> are sometimes referred to as "welsch" ("wösch").
> J. Puehrer
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Harold F. Schiffman" 
> <haroldfs at>
> To: <lgpolicy-list at>
> Sent: Friday, September 23, 2005 2:45 PM
> Subject: Re: Derivation of "Wales"
>> German also has the term Welsch, meaning something like "outlander" or
>> foreigner. (Now pejorative in "Kauderwelsch" meaning 'mish-mash',
>> jibberish, etc.)
>> Hal S.
>> On Fri, 23 Sep 2005, Kephart, Ronald wrote:
>>> >  I doubt Ron's derivation of Wales.  I understand it comes from
>>> >Galicia  of which there was one in old Anatolia, hardly a place
>>> >where Old English was spoken.
>>> >
>>> >  Christina Paulston
>>> Christina, I could be wrong. I'm going by my American Heritage
>>> Dictionary of the English Language, New College Edition (1980), which
>>> gives the etymology as:
>>> Middle English Wales, Old English Wealas, [...] plural of wealh,
>>> foreigner, Roman, Celt, Welshman.
>>> Ron
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: text/enriched
Size: 3188 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list