Old IrishEdit



From Proto-Celtic *knāmis, from Proto-Indo-European *kónh₂m (leg). Cognate with Ancient Greek κνήμη (knḗmē, tibia) and English ham.



cnáim m (genitive cnámo or cnáma, nominative plural cnámai)

  1. bone
    • c. 800, Würzburg Glosses on the Pauline Epistles, published in Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus (reprinted 1987, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies), edited and with translations by Whitley Stokes and John Strachan, vol. I, pp. 499–712, Wb. 4d15
      In Belzefuth: is béss didu ind lïacc benir il-béim friss, et intí do·thuit foir ɔ·boing a chnámi, intí fora tuit-som immurgu at·bail-side.
      The Beelzebub: it is the custom, then, of the stone that many blows are hit against it, and he who falls upon it breaks his bones; however, he whom it falls on perishes


Masculine i-stem
Singular Dual Plural
Nominative cnáim cnáimL cnámaiH, cnámi
Vocative cnáim cnáimL cnámaiH, cnámi
Accusative cnáimN cnáimL cnámaiH, cnámi
Genitive cnámoH, cnámaH cnámoH, cnámaH cnámaeN
Dative cnáimL cnámaib cnámaib
Initial mutations of a following adjective:
  • H = triggers aspiration
  • L = triggers lenition
  • N = triggers nasalization


  • Irish: cnámh
  • Manx: craue
  • Scottish Gaelic: cnàimh


Old Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Nasalization
cnáim chnáim cnáim
pronounced with /ɡ(ʲ)-/
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

Further readingEdit