What is the Welsh for,,,

What would be my best word for ‘gentle’?
For example if I want my daughter to have gentle hands or be gentle with the cat or be gentle with smaller children. Also gentle with a book.

Can you also give me a clue how to pronounce chosen word.
I’m learning southern welsh if that makes a difference.


I think ‘ysgafn’ (us-gav-n) might be the word you’re after? I think it means delicate (to touch), I’m only a learner myself though so I’ll leave it to someone more fluent to confirm!

There’s a line in the song Arglwydd Dyma Fi: Mi glywaf dyner lais which means I hear your gentle voice and I’ve also seen tyner in the song Englynnion Coffa Hedd Wyn, so I think one word for gentle is tyner or dyner if mutated. My dictionary doesn’t have an entry for this, it’s just me absorbing what I’m coming across so hopefully someone more advanced can confirm. It sounds just as you’d think from the spelling: tuh-nair

If you wanted to say someone had a gentle nature, you’d say ‘natur addfwyn’ - but in the situations you describe, where you’re telling someone how to be, we’d be more likely to say something like ‘gofal pia hi!’ or ‘bydd yn ofalus’ - literally ‘be careful’ for the second…:smile:

Another version of “be careful!” – which I’ve heard Iestyn call after his boys! – is gan bwyll! The emphasis is on the second word, which has the same “wy” sound as in mwy.

Diolch Diane! Pwyll is such a brilliant, flexible word.

Pwyllo is, more or less, to think before you act, but it has a definite quality of “slow down”, “be sensible” etc. So the bilingual speeding vans in Wales say “Pwyll” on the side to go with the English “Think”.

Where Aran uses “gofal pia hi” above, I would use “pwyll pia hi” - take it easy!

There’s also the rather sweet “gan bwyll bach”, which means something like “little by little” or “slowly but surely”, so Cat is getting better “gan bwyll bach”…

Hope that helps!

1 Like

Iestyn: so Cat is getting better “gan bwyll bach”…

Really happy to hear that. :slight_smile: