Fearn (letter)

Fearn is the Irish name of the third letter of the Ogham alphabet, ᚃ, meaning "alder-tree". In Old Irish, the letter name was Fern, which is related to Welsh gwern(en). Its Primitive Irish root was *wernā and its phonetic value then was [w]. Its Old Irish and modern phonetic value is [f].

Aicme Beithe Aicme Muine
[b]Beith [m]Muin
[l]Luis [ɡ]Gort
[f]Fearn [ŋ]nGéadal
[s]Sail [z]Straif
[n]Nion [r]Ruis
Aicme hÚatha Aicme Ailme
[j]Uath [a]Ailm
[d]Dair [o]Onn
[t]Tinne [u]Úr
[k]Coll [e]Eadhadh
[kʷ]Ceirt [i]Iodhadh
Ifín [p]Peith


In the medieval kennings, called Bríatharogam or Word Ogham the verses associated with Fearn are:

airenach fían - "vanguard of warriors" in the Word Ogham of Morann mic Moín

comét lachta - "milk container" in the Word Ogham of Mac ind Óc (vessels were made of alder).

dín cridi - "protection of the heart" in the Word Ogham of Culainn.[1]


  1. Auraicept na n-Éces Calder, George, Edinburgh, John Grant (1917), reprint Four Courts Press (1995), ISBN 1-85182-181-3

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