Derivation of "Wales"

Christina Paulston paulston+ at
Tue Sep 27 16:54:33 UTC 2005

Here is my mea culpa.  Terry Kaufman agrees with the OED so then it 
must be correct.:
There is no possible relation between the words  "Wales" and "Galicia" 
(which in Latin was Gallaecia).
leaving not even wriggle room.  Now, of course, I wonder where I first 
read that piece of erroneous information.  Sorry, Ron, Christina
On Sep 23, 2005, at 11:12 AM, Richard J Senghas wrote:

> 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 
> Fusiliers.] 
> 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
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