Start - dechrau or cychwyn

All through the course i have known start to be Dechrau. At the Cardiff Half yesterday, the start line had ‘Start’ and ‘Cychwyn’, no mention of dechrau. At Welsh parkruns I have done, there is a sign with Dechrau to indicate the start, and throughout the course its been all dechrau.

Where does Cychwyn fit into this? Thanks in advance.

They are interchangeable and which is used can come down to either regional preference or personal preference - there’s not really any rule as when each is used.

The geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru gives the definitions as:
Dechrau - beginning, commencement, first or earliest part; origin, source; act of beginning or starting; design, undertaking
Cychwyn - a beginning, commencement, first part, starting-place or starting-point (in time); start, move, stir, go, initiative; leap; rising (of the sun); movable goods .

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Thanks Sharon - I have never seen the word Cychwyn before, only Dechrau. I spent the whole of the half marathon wondering about it (and it took my mind off the pain in my legs!!).


I get a sense of a slight meaning difference in that cychwyn is used when setting out or starting off on a journey more than dechrau.


I was thinking that from the actual phrases that spring to mind. Not guaranteeing that to be totally reliable. For verbs, Cychwyn an engine. Dechrau singing, worshipping, reading, Prob some actions can use either?

Theres a similar topic from June 2017, mentioning that cychwyn used to mean to start something moving and that there is some regional preference, although they are not really dialect words.

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Do you know, I had exactly the same question today! I have got to the stage in Welsh learning where I’m trying to learn the nuances of how different words (that seem to mean the same thing) work. Thanks for asking.