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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Prydain (Middle Welsh: Prydein) is the modern Welsh name for Britain.


Prydain is the medieval Welsh term for the island of Britain (the name Albion was not used by the Welsh). More specifically, Prydain may refer to the Britonnic parts of the island; that is, the parts south of Caledonia. This distinction appears to derive from Roman times, when the island was divided into Roman Britain to the south and the land of the Caledonians to the North. The peoples north of the Roman borders eventually came to be known as the Picts (Welsh: Brithwyr); the Welsh term for Pictland was Prydyn, which caused some confusion in the texts with Prydain.

In Middle Welsh texts, the related term Ynys Prydein (Island of Britain), or Ynys Brydein, can also refer to the island (ynys) itself but more often is a name for the Brittonic territories south of Caledonia. It is in this context that the name of the collection of traditional material arranged in triads known as Trioedd Ynys Prydein should be understood. In modern Welsh ynys means 'island', but in Middle Welsh it can also mean 'land' or 'realm' (cf. Latin insula).[1]

There are numerous other instances of the term Prydain in medieval Welsh texts. One of the best known is found in the title of the 10th century vaticinatory poem Armes Prydein ('The Prophecy of Britain').[2]


  1. ^ Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, vol. IV, p. 3819.
  2. ^ Ifor Williams (ed.), Armes Prydein (University of Wales Press, 1955).

See also


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



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Proper noun

Prydain f.

  1. Britain.
    Maen nhw'n byw ym Mhrydain Fawr rwan - Now they live in Great Britain

Usage notes

In medieval texts, the term often refers to the northernmost part of the island, beyond the Forth and Clyde. Where the island as a whole is meant, the phrase Ynys Prydain (Isle of Prydain) is commonly used.


Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
Prydain Brydain Mhrydain Phrydain


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