If a person dyes their hair green, is it uaine or glas?

Fáilte (Welcome) Forums General Discussion (Irish and English) If a person dyes their hair green, is it uaine or glas?

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  • #36827
    Ruairí42
    Participant

    If someone dyes their hair green, would the word to describe it be uaine, or glas?

    I know glas can be used for grey hair on animals, like “fionnach glas” but could it be used to describe a person’s hair if their hair was not part of the grey/green/blue meaning, but just green? What if the hair was neon green? What if it was a dark, deep, natural green found it nature? Would one be “uaine” and the other “glas”? Since hair is natural, should they all be “glas” regardless of shade? Or all “uaine” since it’s not a natural human hair color?

    #45664
    Onuvanja
    Participant

    Dia dhuit, a Seinn! I’m not a native speaker, but I think that on the whole, both words should be acceptable. Perhaps “glas” has a more general meaning, as “uaine” refers to “vivid (artificial) green”. Given the fact that “grey hair” is “gruaig liath”, there is probably no danger of making people think you have grey hair if you say “gruaig ghlas”. 😉

    #45665
    Ruairí42
    Participant

    So I could use either? I guess I’m wondering if one word would be more accurate than the other.
    Perhaps it would depend on the shade of green, then? Maybe a dark, natural sort of hair would be “glas”, and bright neon electric green hair could be “glas” or “uaine”, but more likely “uaine”?

    I suppose I’d use either depending on the shade, and would be more likely to just use “glas”. What would come into a native or near-native speaker’s head first? Are the words interchangeable here, is it based on the shade, or would it be one word more than the other?

    #45666
    Onuvanja
    Participant

    I think your guess is as good as mine. But I would imagine that “uaine” is more specific than “glas” and therefore more likely to convey a brighter, electric type of shade of green. Still, I’m no authority on the subject.

    #45667
    Brus
    Participant

    Can anyone point me to a (fairly complete) summary of (traditional) Irish color-naming?

    Or post one, if there’s none to link to?

    #45668
    Héilics Órbhuí
    Participant

    I would say uaine for two reasons: 1. it’s not a “natural” color and 2. the disambiguation due to “glas” meaning any number of different colors (as you say, it can mean grey/green/ or even blue). But I’m not a native so my guess could be wrong.

    #45669
    Seáinín
    Participant

    A couple of online resources that might be useful:

    http://www.omniglot.com/language/colours/irish.php for a list of the basic colours, along with etymology of the name.

    http://www.focal.ie/Abc.aspx?&lang=3116659&extent=bydomain&domain=3116839&collection=0&page=1 for a list of 240 colours. (Use the >> button to see the 2nd page.)

    #45670
    Brus
    Participant

    A couple of online resources that might be useful:

    http://www.omniglot.com/language/colours/irish.php for a list of the basic colours, along with etymology of the name.

    http://www.focal.ie/Abc.aspx?&lang=3116659&extent=bydomain&domain=3116839&collection=0&page=1 for a list of 240 colours. (Use the >> button to see the 2nd page.)

    Very useful in their own way, but not exactly what I was looking for.

    The second simply lists “glas” as “green”, when I know the two don’t completely correspond. See the “Celtic” section of this Wikipedia article:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinction_of_blue_and_green_in_various_languages

    I guess my original question wasn’t as clear as it could be, so let me try this: is there a good explanation of traditional Irish (or other Celtic language) interpretation of the color spectrum?

    #45671
    Héilics Órbhuí
    Participant

    I’m not sure what you’re looking for exists. For the most part, the colors coincide fairly well with any other color spectrum. The main ambiguities lie with the word “glas” which is used for many different things, depending on context. Also, the distinction between “rua” and “dearg”, the former of which seems to be used exclusively for hair color and the latter for all other kinds of red. One might add to that the various uses of “dubh” which extend beyond simply “black”. Maybe someone will turn up something to prove me wrong though. The closest I can think of is simply looking up the Irish definitions in Foclóir Beag. For example “glas” (aside from the definition for the noun meaning “lock”) gives many of the shades (no pun in tended) of meaning:

    “ar dhath an fhéir nó an duilliúir ag fás; óg, neamhaibí (adhmad glas); gan taithí (tá an fear bocht glas air); neamhoilte (saighdiúirí glasa); lag i mbrí (deoch ghlas); dorcha liath (flainín glas); liathghorm (súile glasa); lonrach mar chruach (sceana glasa); fuar, gruama (aimsir ghlas); gan substaint (iasc glas).”

    “the color of grass or growing leaves”, “dark grey”, “grey blue”, “shining like steel” (ignoring the meanings that don’t specifically describe color, i.e. “lacking experience”, etc)

    I guess one could make the generalization that pretty much all colors in Irish are much more figurative or loosely defined than they are in English. That is to say dubh can describe anything dark, bán can mean literally white or more pallid, buí can be literally yellow or other kinds of paleness or sickliness that one might not describe as distinctly white, etc. Dearg can mean literally red or raw or bloody, ill-favored, or even fortune (“an t-ádh dearg”).

    #45672
    Onuvanja
    Participant

    There’s also an interesting discussion of “glas” on Dennis King’s blog.
    http://nimill.blogspot.com/2010/10/gorm-glas-uaine.html

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