Cymraeg out & about in the Anglophile world's words

S’mai pawb!

Here is a new thing for me - my voice on the internet of things!

Please bear with me if it wasn’t 100% clear or correct, I also have the intended question below in writing.

Dw i wedi bod yn dysgu am tri wythnos…ond goro (dwi’n gorfod) ofyn: Ydy ‘twerp’ yn tarddu o ‘twp’?
I have been learning for 3 weeks…but I must ask: Is ‘twerp’ a derivative of ‘twp’/stupid?

It makes sense to me; but I was wondering if I am the only one to make the connection?


Helo, Sean-O

Honestly, I don’t know, but in my mind it sounds like a diminution of “stupid,” as in, “What a tup!” :smiley:

No you’re not the only one :smile:

Of uncertain origin. The Oxford English Dictionary writes that it may have been coined (perhaps by J. R. R. Tolkien) around 1910 from the name of T. W. Earp. However, the Dictionary of American Slang writes that it was in use in 1874. It may be a form of dwarf (compare Middle English dwerf , Low German Twarg ). It may derive from the onomatopoeia twirp . The word was used to denote a type of racing pigeon that flew between Antwerp and London c. 1870 [see “The Odd Facts of Life” – Bill Hooper, published in 1965].i. It may also be related to the Welsh twp , a fool.


In Y Geiriadur Mawr (Gomer publishing Christopher Davies, 1989) one of the variations listed under ‘toilet’ is twtiad I wonder if this could be the elusive source of the Australian vernacular (rare now) ‘toot’.

Does anyone want to tally the bill? I just made a possible connection with this word when my wife was listening too an old Catchphrase lesson.
DALU is from talaf so tallying the bill may actually have meant paying it, not totting it up. We may never know, but tally was first recorded in the 15th century.
Theorising is nice, but has anyone got some input on this one that they’d like to share?

Not really hard input, but I’ve always mentally conflated “talu” and “tally”. Even though they don’t mean the same, they are kind of related, so it helps me remember what “talu” means.

But thinking about this reminds me of old English tellan, to count, and American English has teller (e.g. bank teller).

I did, this time look at English dictionaries :face_with_raised_eyebrow: for a bit of investigation.
finedictionary - 7th entry
etymyonline noun and verb
collins dictionary - middle english Talye
merriam-webster - as per the above


Damp - a word that’s been in English a long time and then I noticed this comment:

First recorded use of damp in English meaning “slightly wet” was in 1706.

So I thought I’d look when Welsh first used it that way and low and behold - it’s recorded a century earlier.

1609 CRC 366, plant enwiredd oll or gamp / ir wernlle damp vffernddig.

So perhaps and maybe etc, the first recorded use of the English damp, as an adjective, in the wettish sense is actually evident in a Welsh text, well before a known record of it in an English one - or was it?


On another idea, Shakespeare was very creative and prolific in creating upto 1700 new words for the English language. He had several tricks - changing nouns to adjectives, verbs to nouns and nouns into verbs. He gave us the verb to elbow - a very creative use of the noun. Some say he simply, recorded words already in the vernacular and reflected general changes in Elizabethan times etc - maybe?

All of these tricks are pretty much inherent in Welsh anyway and I wonder if this shift was influenced by widespread language shift from Welsh to English in the current border counties of Cheshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, where after the demise of Owain Glyndŵr Welsh was effectively punished and banned - Welsh people weren’t allowed to marry English people, or occupy positions of power or influence etc.

As for “to elbow”. A new concept for English in Elizabethan times, but obviously not for Welsh. The Welsh for elbow is “Elin” and to elbow is historic in middle Welsh - several centuries before Shakespeare there was always the derived term “Golinio”, meaning “to elbow”

Who’s to say that this style of English wasn’t derived from an early form of Wenglish?


Somewhat flippant contribution to a fascinating thread, but I have been quietly chuckling to myself recently thinking that every time someone texts/tweets etc LOL, unbeknownst to them, they are speaking Welsh. The definition fits so nicely