The word "Cynwyddon" - any ideas, please?

I came across the word “Cynwyddon” recently while doing a little researching online, in the context of a Bardic name assumed by some head of an American society, with the translation of “Loremaster” offered by said society. Having done a quick ask-around of my first language speaker friends, I’ve drawn a blank, with online translators (such a reliable resource!) offering possibly “crops” or “conscience”.

Can anyone enlighten me, please?


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Its easy to go astray with guesses, but you might glean something from the following ideas:
Cyn- suggests “former” or a precursor.
(G)wydd - sometimes relates to knowledge or science.

Looking at it from another angle:
Cynwyd was believed to be a (post Roman) British King, circa AD 500, and his kingdom, Cynwydion, was believed to have been somewhere down the central area of what is now England.
EBK:King Cynwyd Cynwydion of Cynwydion (

Thanks very much for that - and so swiftly too! I wondered about the ‘cyn’ bit myself, but beyond that…

Looks rather like that old maxim about USA/UK being two nations divided by a common language can apply in Welsh too!

I knew someone amid the clever folk hereabouts would be able to point me in the right direction, so thanks again, I really appreciate your help.


I think that it’s likely to be a made up word. Google gives no hits, other than this thread, which seems unlikely if it’s a real Welsh word. The nearest I can find is cynwydd [cyn + gwŷdd*]

Coed; mangoed, prysgwydd; tanwydd, cynnud; gwellt:
wood, timber; shrubs, coppice; firewood, kindling; straw.

But that doesn’t make much sense as a name. Or there’s John’s suggestion of “gwydd” relating to knowledge, but I don’t know where the “–on” ending has come from. “Gwyddonydd” is a scientist. Occupations either have the “-wr” ending or the gender neutral “-ydd”.

It’s possible that in creating the name someone might add the “cyn” on the front to suggest former, thinking that might also mean old, so “old knowledge” and then just dropped the “-ydd” part because they liked the word better without. I mean that’s how I might make up a name for a fictional character in a fantasy world where I wanted the name to sound Welsh-ish without being accurate.

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I’m afraid I don’t have a definitive answer either.
The suffix -on usually denotes a plural. It could come from something as simple as having ancestors who came from Cynwydd, a village in Denbighshire!

That’s very plausible, though apparently the name was supposed to mean “Loremaster”, which the spell checker doesn’t like, so that isn’t even a proper English word. :smile:

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@ margarethall - thanks very much, too. I’m beginning to build a picture here!

Yes well, given the nature of the person and the society, made-up would be entirely fitting (if you get my drift!) and as for

absolutely! Which probably also fits too.

@ siaronjames, thanks to you also. Cynwydd village popped up in my initial search attempts to find out about this one (as margarethall points out, there’s a real dearth of Google hits (or any of the other search engines I’ve tried).

Looks like it’s a made-up word, possibly a scientific Denbighshire resident, with dillusions of post-Roman kinghood, who likes kindling? Sounds like something off “Call My Bluff” (if any of you are old enough to remember that venerable programme). I rather liked it, but then I am a bona fide old dinosaur!

Thanks again to one and all. This is a lovely place to learn things.


Are we absolutely sure it’s not a disease of sheep?


Another idea … could Cynwyddon simply be a plural grouping of awful people :smiley:

No idea (Dim clem!) myself


Using mental gymnastics for why a man called Cynwyddon was translated as a ‘loremaster’ … is it related to Cynwydd being woodland related…Druids loved their wooded groves … Groves - places where druids imparted their knowledge and stories/ lore to others. Hence “loremaster”…sounds like some epic Woodland wizard haha


Regarding the translation of Cynwyd (village near Y Bala) … even there it varies…someone is most definitely wrong! … one meaning is " a ridge"/ or foothill etc
Gwyd relates to something ascending. Yet others think its related to a place that the dead ascends to cause mischief! Very October vibes!

Thanks both, though I’m not sure I follow the sheep disease bit!

A mischievious woodland wizard (possibly dead), who may or may not be ascending the foothills, presumably towards a village of awful people. October vibes indeed brynie!

This has all become weirdly compelling…


It was always claimed (probably untruthfully) that someone on Call My Bluff - usually Alan Coren - would claim that almost any unfamiliar word was actually a term for a disease of sheep. I’m afraid I was merely riffing off your Call My Bluff reference, rather than offering any helpful suggestion.

Aah - thanks for that clarification,

Sorry, I didn’t get the reference, probably because my vintage of Call My Bluff was Robert Robinson, Frank Muir and Patrick Campell, so to my shame I had no idea Alan Coren featured.

Yes, well you could well be right, a disease of sheep seems as likely as just about anything else in this context!

As I said, amazing what you learn here.

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It looks like a compound word - two words joined together- like frogdoctor. Cyn means before/prior and gwyddon is on older form of the current word gwyddonydd. The archaic version meant wizard as well as scientist. gwyddon - Wiktionary, the free dictionary

In Welsh when forming a compound word the second usually has soft mutation so in the case of gwyddon it would become wyddon.

Thanks David 123 - looks like the “prior scientist/wizard” explanation that MrJohnYoung and margarethall suggested at the outset is going to get the most votes.

That said I rather like all of the offerings from siaronjames Cynwyydd villager, RichardBuck and his hitherto unknown disease of sheep and brynle and the awful people, on a ridge, rising up to do mischief! They are all brilliant; perhaps they’re all a bit true? I’d really like to think so, and I still think this would grace an episode of “Call My Bluff.”

All too familiar with compound nouns, but interestingly, I don’t think either English nor Welsh can hold a candle to German on that one!

Who would have thunk that my daft little query would generate so much fun? Thanks all…

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Very good, fair point! Added bonus points to you, too, since that one is as much a deliberate made-up word* as cynwyddon.

  • At least that’s the story I heard (something about railways and wanting to attract visitors, if I recall correctly).

That said, a quick Wiki search on said German compound nouns yielded "Donau­dampf­schiffahrts­elektrizitäten­haupt­betriebs­werk­bau­unter­beamten­gesellschaft* as the longest, so I suppose we’ll grudgingly have to allow them the win.

Good fun all this, eh?

Cynwyd, the village in North Wales, is about 3 miles away from where I live! There is no ‘dd’ at the end. Of course, given the previous information, their ‘name/title’ is probably nothing to do with real Welsh names or places. :joy: