Ministerial visit to the Dictionary of the Welsh Language

Posted on 19 July 2018

GeiriadurPC - Eluned Morgan & Andrew Hawke

On Friday, July 13, Eluned Morgan, Minister of Welsh and Lifelong Learning, was welcomed to the offices of Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, the University of Wales Dictionary of the Welsh Language at the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies in Aberystwyth. The project was established in 1921 to create a dictionary similar to the Oxford English Dictionary for the Welsh language, a task completed in 2002 in four large volumes containing almost 4,000 pages of small print. The staff continue to update the Dictionary.

The Minister saw the collection of 2.5 million paper slips that underpinned the original work. The slips were written mostly by volunteers and contain quotations from all types of books and manuscripts. The staff demonstrated the latest computer resources they now use to collect material for the Dictionary. New words are only considered for inclusion in the Dictionary once they have become established in the language, with several examples from a number of different authors.

The staff explained that the Dictionary is based on sound evidence and is therefore considered as a standard for the spelling of the Welsh language and on the gender of nouns, plural forms, and so on. It is now used extensively, especially after the work became available free online in 2014 (at, with over 12,000 lookups each workday. It is now also available free of charge for Apple and Android phones, thanks to a grant from the Welsh Government – the only large historical dictionary kind available as an app in any language.

Since 2015 the Welsh Government has been giving a grant to the Dictionary, recognizing the importance of its work in recording the vocabulary of Welsh to the Government’s policy of creating a million Welsh speakers by 2050. Professor Medwin Hughes, Vice-Chancellor of the University Wales, thanked the Minister for the grant, ensuring the future of the project which will be celebrating its centenary in 2021. For a statement by the Welsh Government, see


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