SSi Forum

Omniglot list of Welsh idioms


I’m not sure how many of you know of Omniglot, a site all about languages and writing systems.

One of its features is lists of useful phrases in all sorts of languages, so you can look up how to say “Merry Christmas” in French or whatever – organised either by language (so you can see lots of useful phrases in French) or by phrase (so you can see how to say “Merry Christmas” in lots of languages).

One page they just added is a list of idioms in Welsh:

My favourite one is Mae e’n cadw draenog yn ei boced = “He’s tight with money” (“He keeps a hedgehog in his pocket”).

I got the mental image of a person putting his hand into his pocket to reach for his wallet, feeling the hedgehog, and withdrawing the hand again without being able to spend anything.

Incidentally, “they” as in Omniglot is mostly Simon Ager, a fluent Welsh speaker though not from birth. (His story of how he learned Welsh is here: .)


Good to know, thanks![quote=“philipnewton, post:1, topic:7181”]
Mae e’n cadw draenog yn ei boced

Love it!


In the latest issue of Lingo Newydd the idiom “Mae’n cadw draenog yn ei boced” is illustrated in a cartoon. However, the description seems to imply that the phrase means “He is ready for anything” rather than “He is tight with money”. Does anyone know which interpretation is correct?


I’ve only seen it on lists of idioms (including but not solely the omniglot site), but it has always been translated as ‘tight with money’. Mind you, if it were the other meaning, you probably wold be pretty much ready for some strange eventualities armed with a hedgehog! :wink:

I also saw rhoi halen ar ei gynffon, to put salt on his tail, which was given to mean to tell someone off. When I was small, we were told that you could catch pigeons by putting salt on their tails. We all thought the salt did something magic, but never got close enough to verify, which was, of course the point. :rolling_eyes:
Anyway, I associate the ‘salting of tails’ with being close enough to catch something, not telling someone off. I wonder if anyone knows where this idiom came from?
:bird::bird: (No pigeon emoji :joy:)


Thanks @cat-1. I think my confusion came from the difference between the comic and the text. The comic to me implies that “He is tight with money” as the man on the right will not pay £1 for an umbrella. However, the accompanying text is as follows.

“Dach chi’n barod am bopeth? Dach chi’n cario ymbarel sbar, er enghraifft? Os felly, dach chi’n cario draenog yn eich poced, fel dych chi’n gweld yn y cartwn yma gan Mumph.”


Confusing! :confounded:


A couple of phrases that have stuck with me lately, but haven’t said them myself are “fran i fran” or “fran i bob fran” literally a crow for a crow or theres someone out there for everyone. Mae fran i fran yn rhywle.

Another one I liked was “fel bwyta potsh â rhaw” - like eating “potsh” with a spade, where potsh is local for mash - usually mashed potatoes and swede. The context I read that one fitted with like a duck out of water or it just wasn’t right for me.


Update! Lingo Newydd has posted a correction in their latest edition confirming that there was a mistake. “Mae’n cadw draenog yn ei boced” does mean he’s tight with money. Mystery solved! Diolch pawb


Hi, This idiom is a humorous way of suggesting a person is tight with money. Nobody would want to put their hand in a pocket that contains a hedgehog. It has nothing to do with umbrellas. The umbrella has been used by the cartoonist (me) to illustrate that no matter how desperate the circumstances, some ppl are too tight to pay.


Tight with money. Absolutely. Mumph


Wha-hey, the Mumph himself! A very warm welcome to the forum, Prif Gartwnydd… :slight_smile: :star2:


Shwmai gyfaill :). Bechod gweld idioms yn cael eu camddihongli


All exposure is good exposure, and mistakes are the lifeblood of learning… :slight_smile: :heart:

Wrth fy modd efo dy gartŵns Cymraeg… :star: :star2: