Onn is the Irish name of the seventeenth letter of the Ogham alphabet, ᚑ, meaning "ash-tree", which is related to Welsh onn(en), from the root was *ōs-, *osen 'ash'. Its phonetic value is [o]. The letter's Bríatharogam kennings are the following:

  • congnaid ech "wounder of horses"
  • féthem soíre "smoothest of craftsmanship"
  • lúth fían "[equipment] of warrior bands"
Ogham letters ᚛ᚑᚌᚐᚋᚁᚂᚃᚓᚇᚐᚅ᚜
Aicme Beithe
᚛ᚐᚔᚉᚋᚓᚁᚂᚃᚄᚅ᚜
Aicme Muine
᚛ᚐᚔᚉᚋᚓᚋᚌᚎᚏ᚜
[b] Beith [m] Muin
[l] Luis [ɡ] Gort
[w] Fearn [ɡʷ] nGéadal
[s] Sail [st], [ts], [sw] Straif
[n] Nion [r] Ruis
Aicme hÚatha
᚛ᚐᚔᚉᚋᚓᚆᚇᚈᚉᚊ᚜
Aicme Ailme
᚛ᚐᚔᚉᚋᚓᚐᚑᚒᚓᚔ᚜
[j] Uath [a] Ailm
[d] Dair [o] Onn
[t] Tinne [u] Úr
[k] Coll [e] Eadhadh
[kʷ] Ceirt [i] Iodhadh
Forfeda ᚛ᚃᚑᚏᚃᚓᚇᚐ᚜
(rare, sounds uncertain)
᚛ᚕᚖᚗᚘᚚᚙ᚜
[ea], [k], [x], [eo] Éabhadh
[oi] Ór
[ui] Uilleann
[p], [io] Ifín [p] Peith
[x], [ai] Eamhancholl

These refer to different uses of ashwood as horsewhips, wood used by carpenters, and for spears. In the Old Irish period, onn "ash" was replaced by uinnius. McManus takes this as an indication that the Ogham letter names date to the Primitive Irish period.

ReferencesEdit

  • Damian McManus, Irish letter-names and their kennings, Ériu 39 (1988), 127-168.