Mysterious appearance of gum resin

I have just come across this passage in Bethan Gwanas’s ‘Hi Yw Fy Ffrind’: ‘‘Sa rhywun yn taeru dy fod ti’n jelys’. Asiffeta. Roedd o’n dechrau swnio fel Nia.’ (’‘Anyone would think you were jealous’, Asafoetida. She was beginning to sound like Nia’)

Now, I can’t find ‘asiffeta’ in the dictionary as meaning any other than ‘asafoetida’, the gum resin, but as this makes no sense I am guessing from the context that here it is being used as some sort of expletive expressing exasperation. Am I right, and is this a Gwanas special or do a lot of Welsh people go around saying ‘Asiffeta’? I can see it has a certain ring to it!

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Asiffeta was originally a word for a foul-tasting medicine, but thanks to the charcter Mr Picton in the hugely popular Welsh comedy C’mon Midffîld, it has since become an exclamation (as you rightly spotted) - kind of a polite way of swearing. It’s a catchphrase that you do indeed hear Welsh speakers using from time to time!


Diolch. I have now added Asiffeta to my bank of swear words.