Welsh: ridge


Senior Member
English, USA
Prynhawn da,

In a different thread, we were discussing the translations of "ridge" and "back" in various languages, and I decided to look up "ridge" in Geiriadur yr Academi.

Based on the entry in this dictionary, Welsh seems to have quite a few terms meaning "ridge": trum, crib, cefn, esgair.

Is there a distinction (semantic or regional) that you know of between these four terms?

I recognize crib and cefn as terms meaning "comb" and "back" (respectively), but I'm not sure exactly what kind of ridge they refer to.

Geiriadur yr Academi also lists several terms for "small ridge": cribyn, cefnen, Northern crimpyn, Northwest ponc/poncen/poncyn. In terms of size, where would the dividing line be (roughly speaking) between criben/cefnen/etc. and trum/crib/etc.?

Diolch yn fawr,
  • Well, I would say that 'Crib' is the best translation for 'ridge', with 'cefn' as the next best translation. I think I've heard esgair before, but it's not really used that often.

    You can see 'crib' in 'Crib Coch' in Snowdonia. Have look at pictures of it, and you'll see why it's called that. 'Crib' also means 'hair-comb' in Welsh.
    Oh, and 'cribyn' sounds more natural to me, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone said 'crib bach' either.
    Each of these words describes something different - they are not all synonyms.

    Crib is a ridge in the context of roofs and also mountains - you see it in the names of mountain ridges such as Crib Goch, as Cerinwen mentioned, and Crib y Ddysgl.

    Cefnen is used to describe ridges in meteorology – not in mountains, but rather as in a “high ridge area” i.e. high atmospheric pressure.

    Trum is used in to describe ridges in dentistry – as in the alveolar ridge.

    Esgair is what is called in English an “esker”, that is, a ridge of gravel and sediment which is deposited by a glacier.

    A ponc is a hummock, i.e. a low ridge of earth or a knoll.

    Hope that clarifies things.