Cite this: eDIL s.v. O or dil.ie/33363


Forms: gobaind

the twelfth letter of the Irish alphabet, stood second in the vowel-group of the Ogham alphabet and was known by the name onn `furze' (? `ash').

O.Ir. ŏ in accented syllables generally represents Indogerm. o. In declension it freq. interchanges with u according to the nature of the vowel in the syll. originally following: mug, g s. moga; sruth, gs. srotha; cú, gs. con. In Mid.Ir. o often > a: bos(s), bas(s) `hand'; for `your', far; fota `long', mod. fada; goba, gaba `smith' (O.Ir. d s. gobaind); ocus `and', acus, mod. agus. In bardic poetry o and a are freq. interchanged to secure rhyme; fola `grudge' beside fala; rogu `choice' beside rag(h)a.

O.Ir. ō generally results from the contraction of an orig. diphth. au, eu, or ou. Later it freq. gives way to the diphth. ua: ó, úa `grandson'; lóg, lúach `price'; slóg, slúag `host'; tróg, Mid.Ir. trúag `wretched'.

In Latin loan-words o generally remains (corn, corp < Lat. cornu, corpus); ō becomes ó, later ua (hóre, (h)úare, úaire < Lat. hōra); au also gives ó (ór, Pól < Lat. aurum, Paulus).

In Irish notation o also appears in combination with a follg. vowel: (a) oi (palatal o), denoted in the Ogham alphabet by a single character called oir `spindle-tree'. In Mid.Ir. oi is freq. replaced by ai (esp. after f, see Thurn. Hdb. 77 ): foil `pigsty', later fail; fairend, foirenn `company', O.Ir. foirinn, Ml. 33a8 ; foil(l)sigid `makes manifest', failsigid; O.Ir. clainde gs. of cland `children', Mid.Ir. clainne, cloinne; glaine `purity', gloine ( Corm. 900 ). Conversely orig. ai is somet. replaced by oi; Mid. oile `other' beside aile; ail `blame', later oil; oire `burden' beside aire. Such changes are freq. in bardic poetry. (b) ói = palatal ō. (c) oí (diphth.) in Mid.Ir. generally oe, ae, mod. ao, aoi (a single vowel-sound); O.Ir. noíb, Mid.Ir. noeb (noem), naeb (naem), mod. naomh. The diphths. oí and aí freq. fall together: áis `people', Ml. 94b18 , 19 , Wb. 21b12 , beside oís, Wb. 21c4 , óis, 28d30 ; táis `dough', Ml. 140b4 (mod. taos), beside tóis-renn, Wb. 9b11 ; see also `sheep', oíbell, oíbind, oígi.