• Paul Anthony Jones


(n.) a lament for someone who is alive, but who has gone away or is dearly missed

Apologies, @christut8, for blowing your phone up earlier this week. It all began on Tuesday, when we posted the Irish word beochaoineadh over on Twitter.

Alas, Irish isn’t an HH strong point (check out @theirishfor for Twitter brilliance along that front). But this was a word too good to ignore: a beochaoineadh is an “elegy for the living”, as we put it on Twitter. “A sorrowful lament or toast for someone who is alive, but who has gone away or is dearly missed.”

Again, Irish isn’t an HH strong point. We’ve tried. Honestly, we have. But Irish—wow, seriously, leave some vowel clusters for someone else. And since when is mh pronounced “w”? And uío pronounced “ee”?! Oh, we need a lie down.

But thanks to some lovely people in the Twitter comments, we now know beochaoineadh is pronounced “byoh-kwee-new”. And etymologically, its origins lie in the Irish beo, meaning “alive”, and caoineadh, meaning “lamentation” or “weeping”.

But back to @christut8. On Wednesday, he quote tweeted our beochaoineadh tweet with nothing more than these two words:

Never a truer word, indeed, so we gave Chris a retweet. But then, so did JK Rowling. And once 14 million people get hold of something—well, Chris, we apologise. Your Twitter mentions will never be the same again. Nor will your phone’s battery power. RIP Chris’s phone. Let’s organize a beochaoineadh for it.

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