Need help naming a banjo

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    HI All
    I hope that you might all be able to help me out with something. I need to get a name for a banjo that my company will be bringing into the country to sell. Its a great opportunity as we have carte blanch on what it can be called! And I’d really like to put a genuine Irish name to it, as opposed to an Irish sounding name. (if you get me).

    To give a little background, its a short scale (17 fret) tenor banjo, that will mainly be used by traditional Irish musicians.

    I was thinking along the lines of something to do with ‘beag’, obviously as its a smaller than normal banjo. But ‘Banjo Beag’ seems a little plain, and I’m sure I’m missing a lenition or something!!

    So if you have any ideas, or suggestions. It doesn’t even have to be ‘banjo XX’ it can just be XX – and that’s what we’ll market the banjo as. I was thinking along the lines of – ‘the small one’ but not sure how this would be written? An beagan? AS you can tell, I’m lost.

    Let me know if any more info is needed. Looking forward to seeing some replies!




    an bainseó beag = the little banjo
    an ceann beag = the little one

    Héilics Órbhuí

    Not trying to be a naysayer here, but I tend to offer this perspective when I see people looking to use Irish words in their company name (and this isn’t the first time). When it comes to marketing something, memorability and the way something flows off the tongue is important. The “problem” with using Irish words in this regard is that most people may not know how to even say your product name correctly. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it, but it’s something to genuinely consider. Even something like “an bainseó beag” will probably produce humorous results if left to non-Irish speakers to try to pronounce. Of course it depends on where you plan to sell it. When you say “the country” is that country Ireland? You have a better chance there of people at least knowing how to say “beag”, whereas if you’re selling this in the U.S., most people will probably say something like the first half of the word “beagle”. So I hope I’m not sounding negative here, as I definitely encourage you to follow your inspiration, but it’s something I think one should at least consider.
    Good luck with your project!


    Your best bet for pithiness and authenticity would be to head out to Conamara or the like and ask a real live Irish-speaking banjo player what he/she might call such a banjo 🙂

    Off the top of my head I myself can only think of something like an banjóín, but I’m sure there’s something better out there.


    How about “Bean Joe”? 😀 (Joe’s wife, pronounced like banjo)
    Sorry but I can not resist bad puns. That’s not much help to you.


    Wait, what about “ceolán”? It has the word ceol in it, music, and the ending usually means little, though this word means incessant. I’ve only heard it used in a negative way, but a small banjo can be quite incessant. Does anyone with more knowledge have more information about this word and whether it might be suitable? (I think it may be, considering the sound a small banjo makes when played relentlessly.)

    Héilics Órbhuí

    Ceolán means an incessant talker, not incessant as an adjective. It also means a little bell or a small tinkling sound. It doesn’t seem to be a terrible choice given what the OP is looking for. It’s hard to find a word in Irish that doesn’t have multiple, often radically different, meanings. The word that sprung to my mind was “gligín”, which means several things, including little bell, tinkler, rattler, a jingle (like a piece of music you’d hear in advertisement), and rattle-brained person.

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