The sow has gone through the shop

I just learnt a wonderful idiom from Un Bore Mercher.

Yr hwch wedi mynd drwy’r siop - the sow has gone through the shop

Which means you’re bankrupt!

Anyone else got some.colourful Welsh idioms to share?


How about;

Mae hi’n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn - It’s raining old ladies and sticks

equivalent of course to - ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’.


ar ben ei digon / on top of her plenty
she was delighted :slight_smile:


Sounds a bit naughty in translation. :thinking:

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On a similar note I hear this quite often on the radio:
“Wedi mynd i’r wall” or aeth hi i’r wall, etc.

Which is strange, as we dont tend to hear the English version (gone to the wall) much in the UK these days.

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can’t really better yours it’s a bit of a blinder. I do like “fel byta potsh a rhaw”-like eating mash with a spade. You can use it for almost anything ridiculous or things that just don’t work, but very colloquial and probably might not travel well.

I also like heb flewyn ar ei dafod - speaking direct, saying it as it is (without a hair on his tongue - or her tongue ei thafod) - also in the past meaning speaking without a hint of the Saes on the tongue.

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i’ll be careful how i use it…!

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I went on a ‘Creative Writing Weekend’ led by Bethan Gwanas and she said the ‘hen wragedd a ffyn’ marked you out as a learner, and not necessarily in a good way. And a fellow Welsh learner, but born and brought up in Wales, said that he had never heard the ‘rhoi ffidl ar y to’ either. There seem to be phrases learners get taught that must be really old fashioned, and they are two of them.

I think these are probably taught for a bit of fun and interest. In reality I would never use any of them - I am trying my best to be comfortable with the really basic and simple and I can’t imagine being confident enough to ever drop one in.

Thinking about it, I’ve never said raining cats and dogs to anyone in English or most of the other classic expressions either. Perhaps people should learn “I’m f… ing soaked, it’s pi.s ng down” or something similar - probably the more family friendly versions, but along the same lines.


Well I make no pretence to being other than a learner and I certainly am not proficient enough to dream of ever using any of these idioms myself - except maybe as a discussion topic, as now. I can only say that I’ve heard the ‘hen wragedd a ffyn’ mentioned as an idiom two or three times now, and seen it on several word-lists; but admittedly not actually used in speech. But languages change and modernise so rapidly today that phrases that might once have been used are now considered old hat. There’s a whole range of terms which I heard and used when much younger which I can’t imagine any young folk using today. If @Toffidil’s example is anything to go by, it only serves to show the paucity of language use now by comparison to the richness of what went before.

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I notice my wife and I often come out with “the heavens opened” (usually after sudden, unexpected rain). A bit old fashioned, perhaps.

I notice Gweiadur gives “teeming down” as a translation for “bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn”, with an alternative Welsh phrase of “arllwys y glaw” - to teem down. (I don’t think I say that very often in English).

My wife and her family lived in N.Wales from the mid-1950s to early 1960s, and she said they used to say “raining stair-rods”, but I’m not sure if that’s a translation of a Welsh expression, or what the English speakers said. (Google suggests it’s northern English, so maybe it was an import).
(Google has also reminded me of “raining buckets”, which I’m sure I’ve heard, and isn’t all that fanciful really).


These days people might use the Irish Crack or however its spelt to describe things like a day out watching the rugby in Cardiff etc. I read a book from about 1900, describing the area around Aberdare, Abercynon and Ynysybŵl etc and the expression used back then for days of drinking around market days was “ar y criws” -same sort of thing used today its just been updated a bit.

A Lancashire friend used to say raining stair-rods. I think what I actually say is probably “Blimey! It’s tipping (it) down!”

Does anyone know if the writers of Un Bore Marched are learners or first language speakers? Because they used rhoi fidil yn y to as well as the one that kicked off this thread.

Anyway, even if they are only of historical interest, they are still fascinating examples of how colourful language can be


I know that rhoi’r ffidil yn y to and hen wragedd a ffyn are taught in Welsh medium schools, by first language teachers to first language kids in Years 2 and 3, to enhance their writing styles and no-one has ever said to me their old fashioned.

My user name by the way, which I might change one day was my clumsy effort to use To and ffidil, based on that expression.

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Well that’s very interesting, and contradicts the claim made earlier that their use:

I have no idea which is the more correct, but they can’t both be.

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Some expressions may not travel well and may sound odd in some dialects maybe. There are lots of colourful agricultural idoms in rural Ceredigion and Camarthenshire that might sound odd and old fashioned if spoken by someone from Caernarfon or Caerdydd, but may very well be absolutely current and normal in others???

gwrando fel hwch mewn llafur (mewn sofl, mewn tatw), gwrando fel hwch yn yr haidd:

to listen as if on the alert (lit. to listen like a sow in a cornfield (in stubble, in a potato-field), listen like a sow in barley).

I’ve definitely heard “rhoi’r ffidl yn y to” on Radio Cymru many times though can’t recall hearing “hen wragedd a ffyn”. But that doesn’t mean it’s not used, only that it hasn’t impinged on my consciousness. :smile:

“Cyntaf i’r felin” (first to the mill) is one I’ve heard (equivalent to “first come, first served”).

:slight_smile: And come to think, we often say “it’s chucking it down”. :slight_smile:

Yes, I think first language, or at least, fluent. I seem to recall that the cast and directors etc (except for Eve Miles, who did such a great job) are.