Disputed. Generally believed[1] to be from Gaulish/Transalpine Gaulish caballos.[2]. This term is cognate to Welsh ceffyl,[3][1] Manx cabbyl,[1] Scottish Gaelic and Irish capall.[1]

Also proposed is Ancient Greek καβάλλης (kaballēs, nag), in turn possibly a borrowing from a Balkan, Anatolian, or north-east European language. Compare Serbo-Croatian кобила/kobila (mare).



caballus m (genitive caballī); second declension

  1. horse; nag
  2. pack-horse, jade, hack

Usage notesEdit

In Classical Latin, the word equus is used for a horse, and caballus is used only by the poets. It's only later, in Vulgar and Late Latin, that caballus appears in prose.


Derived termsEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Origins, by Eric Partridge, page 85
  2. ^ Delamare 2003 p.96
  3. ^ The Origin of Language and Nations, by Rowland Jones page 151
  • Delamarre, X. & Lambert, P. -Y. (2003). Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise : Une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental (2nd ed.). Paris: Errance. ISBN 978 2 87772 369 5, ISBN 2 87772 237 6
Last modified on 17 April 2014, at 12:39