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How To Say Horse In Irish

Saddle up and let’s take a bitesized look at how to say ‘horse’ in Irish!

The Irish word for horse is capall /koh-pul/.

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If you speak French, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese you will recognise that this word capall is similar to the words for horse in those languages. This is because they, and the Irish word, are all ultimately derived from a Latin word for horse, caballus.

Now let’s look at a few more horse related terms.

The Irish for pony is capaillín /koh-pil-een/.

The term for a mare is láir /law-irrj/. Notice the pronunciation of the slender r sound here!

The Irish word for filly is láireog /law-ir-owe-g/.

A foal, on the other hand, is searrach /sharr-okh/.

In the Connacht and Ulster dialects stress is placed on the first syllable of this word, while in Munster the second syllable is emphasised.

In Irish we call a stallion stail /stah-il/.

The term for colt is bromach /brum-ukh/.

Should you wish to speak of donkeys (and I often do!), the terms that we have been used so far can also be used to refer to donkeys of different genders and stages of maturity. The Irish word for donkey is asal /oss-ul/.

To use the terms above we simply add the genitive form of donkey, asail /oss-il/.

So, for instance, donkey foal is searrach asail /sharr-okh oss-il/.

Donkey mare is láir asail /law-irrj oss-il/.

Donkey stallion is stail asail /stah-il oss-il/.
Speaking figuratively we also use the term stail asail to refer to someone who is behaving in an idiotic or stubborn way (being a ‘jackass’).

Let’s finish up a horse-related seanfhocal (proverb):
Is capall gabhar más gá /Iss koh-pul gow-ur maw-ss gaw/.

A lesson in economy of expression, this seanfhocal translates as ‘A goat is a horse if necessary’. The advice is that in times of need we make do with what is available!

Did you enjoy this how-to-say Irish language video? Discover our Gaeilge Gach Lá approach to letting the Irish language into your everyday life:

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