'boar' (Modern English galt)


Always derived from ON, cp. OIcel galti (wk. masc.) ‘boar’ and gǫltr ( ‘boar; wild animal'; cp. also OHG galza 'sow', supposing a PGmc *galt-. The absence of initial palatalization of /g/ is therefore not a secure test of loan in Anglian dialects (Angl *galt-). The only possible attestation in OE is however in the place-name Gealtborgsteal (cited by AEW, BT; see also EPNE s.v. *gealt), and so some ON input is always assumed in explaining the word's relative frequency in ME and later (especially given its predominantly N and E distribution).

PGmc Ancestor


Proposed ON Etymon (OIcel representative)

galti (wk. masc.) ‘boar’, gǫltr ( ‘boar; wild animal’
(ONP galti (sb.), gǫltr (sb.))

Other Scandinavian Reflexes

OE Cognate

?*gealt; cp. Gealtborgsteal

Phonological and morphological markers

Summary category



N and E texts are prominent among MED’s citations, which begin in the 15c, but some occur further afield. Attestations as an element in personal and place-names, e.g. Galteford, occur from the 12c and 13c. Predominantly N in MnE dial (see EDD).

Occurrences in the Gersum Corpus

WA 4743


MED galt (n.1) , OED galt (n.) , HTOED , EDD galt (sb.), Bj. 210, de Vries galti, gǫltr, Orel *ʒaltaz ~ *ʒaltuz, AEW gealt-borg, EPNE gǫltr