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Bram: Gaelic speakers please advise - what does it REALLY mean?

(32 Posts)
PallasCat Fri 23-Oct-15 14:48:47

I like Bram, so does DH. It's not top of our list for a boy, but lead contender for middle name, or was until a few minutes ago...

Here's the thing: several baby name websites (MN included) give raven as a meaning for Bram, usually attributing it to Gaelic (Lovely! We like ravens). I wanted to test this with a Gaelic dictionary, and have tried a few online (Scots and Irish). None have given me raven. Some gave me nothing. Two have given me fart.

Does Bram mean fart in Gaelic?

If so, I think it's off our list.

We're definitely talking Bram: Abraham is not on our list. Bram is an established and popular Dutch name, and I have (now somewhat distant) Dutch heritage, if that matters to anyone. We both, but especially DH, are Bram Stoker fans. But I don't think I want to call my child fart.

On the other hand, can anyone give me a credible source that it actually does mean raven? I'm reluctant to trust name websites alone.

TyrionLannistersShadow Fri 23-Oct-15 14:56:57

I speak some Irish and there's no such word as Bram in Irish (modern irish anyway ). Raven in Irish is fiach dubh (fee-oc duv). Scots gaelic is different though so I know nothing about that

MyFavouriteClintonisGeorge Fri 23-Oct-15 14:59:53

It is ^Bran^ that means raven, not Bram. The pronunciation is a long 'a' as in bra, i.e. 'Brahn'. Apparently it is Welsh in origin.

I've only ever heard of Bram as a nn for Abraham.

florascotianew Fri 23-Oct-15 15:03:00

Bran = Raven (not Bram, which was popularised by Bram (Abraham) Stoker, author of Dracula)

Bran the Blessed is the hero of Welsh legends preserved in collection of stories known as The Mabinogion

Highly-praised translation of The Mabinogion by Sioned Davies publ. Oxford University Press 2007 (World's Classics Series)

stinanordenstram Fri 23-Oct-15 15:03:38

Braim or breim is Scots Gaelic for fart.

Bram is an alternative spelling.

So yep probably best avoided!

PallasCat Fri 23-Oct-15 15:10:00

Thanks folks!

Bran = Raven yup, it's when I saw this as the derivation for how Bram meant raven that I started thinking I needed to dig deeper and switched from name databases to dictionaries!

As I said, we're Stoker fans, I know he was really an Abraham, but Bram is an established, stand-alone name in the Netherlands, where I have roots. (Derived from Abraham, but given as a name in its own right: I believe it's about 16th in the boys' chart there.)

Any further intel on the Bram = fart connection?

PallasCat Fri 23-Oct-15 15:12:41

Damn! But grudging thanks, Stina. We're in England but have a more than passing long-term dream of running away to the Highlands. Darling little Fart, I suspect, would not thank us.

florascotianew Fri 23-Oct-15 15:35:55

This might also be of interest -it has good references. It's about a different Bran (from Ireland)

You might also like to look at Miranda J Green Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend Thames and Hudson 1997

Am not an expert, but SFAIK modern Scottish Gaelic for raven is fitheach (I hope I have the spelling correct).

PallasCat Fri 23-Oct-15 15:40:17

Ace references - thank you Flora I shall check them out.

This'll teach us for smugly thinking last night we had a boy's name totally sorted!

myotherusernameisbetter Fri 23-Oct-15 20:07:36

There is also Brahan in SCotland as in the Brahan Seer:

florascotianew Fri 23-Oct-15 20:40:48

Brahan is really a place name/the name of a castle, not a personal name.

The seer's name -if he existed (and it is doubted, though possible) - was Kenneth MacKenzie/Coinneach Odhar.
This thesis explores the creation of the legend:
So does this BBc site:

myotherusernameisbetter Fri 23-Oct-15 20:48:22

Doh! so it was flora - i never thought that through - i blame Friday night tiredness smile

florascotianew Sat 24-Oct-15 10:53:15

smile in return, MyOther. Thank you! I was worried that I'd been too blunt and was blaming Friday night tiredness, as well!!

myotherusernameisbetter Sat 24-Oct-15 11:02:41

I blame Explorers smile I have to pick up at half 9 on a Friday night so no longer get to have a wee unwinding "welcome to the weekend" wine with dinner on a Friday.

MaisieDotes Sat 24-Oct-15 14:36:58

I'm Irish and speak some Irish and never heard of the word "Bram".

Bran is the name of Spot the Dog in the Irish versions of the Spot books <helpful>

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Sun 25-Oct-15 13:08:53

No idea what it means, but it's a brilliant name.

chrome100 Mon 26-Oct-15 15:06:46

I know a Bram but he's Belgian.

I really wouldn't worry what a word means in Gaelic. It's not exactly a massively spoken global language.

PallasCat Mon 26-Oct-15 17:08:49

Thank you Remus!

That's true Chrome, but DH and I have the long-term aim of moving to the Highlands, where it is spoken. No doubt thousands of names mean something embarrassing in some language somewhere, but since we're hoping one day to live in the one place people will know this one means fart, it just seems a bad idea!

Thank you everyone for your input, Bran is now on our mn shortlist, with a few others... 6 months to go (and it may not be a boy anyway) but I'm glad I checked this before DH and I set our hearts on Bram!

Bardolino Mon 26-Oct-15 17:24:28

Don't want to be too cynical, but not that many folk actually speak Gaelic in the Highlands, so don't assume everyone will know what it means! As you say, Bram is a recognised name from an area you personally have connections with and you have the Bram Stoker reference, which I would suspect would be more recognisable than the Gaelic meaning. Plus, if it's a middle name, how often will it actually be used?

PallasCat Mon 26-Oct-15 17:45:40

Maybe Bardolino, but since we have a few other options that we're equally happy with now, including Bran, there's no great motivation for sticking with Bram. We had a few options already, so it's more a case of Bram having been knocked off the top spot because of the meaning... we're already down to another three favourite mn candidates. smile

mathanxiety Tue 27-Oct-15 04:02:25

Bran is the equivalent of Spot/Fido/Rover, etc. in children's textbooks in Irish.

Blueturquoise Tue 27-Oct-15 04:08:29

If you re looking for a Celtic name Braoc (I think meaning badger) one I have heard recently that sounds slightly similar to Bram,

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 27-Oct-15 15:43:22

Bran is Welsh.

Bram can be short for Bramwell, which is also Welsh, incidentally.

mathanxiety Wed 28-Oct-15 04:20:04

Broc is badger in Irish. Pronounced Bruck.

hebihebi Wed 28-Oct-15 04:25:47

Bran is a character from Game of Thrones so you might get a lot of people asking about that. Unless you are planning on living in the Outer Hebrides then I think Bram is a great name. I'm also a fan of Bram Stoker.

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