Main definitions of welsh in US English:

: welsh1Welsh2


(also welch)


[no object]welsh on
  • Fail to honour (a debt or obligation incurred through a promise or agreement)

    ‘banks began welshing on their agreement not to convert dollar reserves into gold’
    • ‘He still owes me a housecleaning and babysitting from months back and anyone who welches on a promise isn't deserving of accolades.’
    • ‘Yesterday agreement was reached in the Business Committee to advance it quickly, and now today, that agreement was welshed on by some members of this House.’
    • ‘That's what you promised, don't welsh on a deal.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Adelaide believing Nathan to have welched on his promise to finally marry her, walks out on him.’
    • ‘When cases of dishonesty and those involving welshing on debts abound, it is worthwhile to ruminate on examples, such as the following.’
    • ‘It allows people to welsh on their debts, and it is telling that creditors who submitted were unanimously opposed to this.’
    • ‘If there was any way to get you out of this I really hate to welch on a debt.’
    • ‘Toni smiled, settling down, realizing Jared wasn't welching out on his promise.’


Mid 19th century: of uncertain origin; perhaps from Welsh, on account of the formerly alleged dishonesty of Welsh people.




Main definitions of welsh in US English:

: welsh1Welsh2



  • Relating to Wales, its people, or their Celtic language.

    • ‘A group of Welsh language enthusiasts has joined forces to do the bulk of the translation in their spare time.’
    • ‘In Wales there are 28 local authorities working with the Welsh assembly.’
    • ‘I wish my Welsh language skills were up to the job of reading the poems in the original.’
    • ‘The Welsh club are still expected to send a representative to the Minstermen's game but an immediate transfer now seems less likely.’
    • ‘No one begs in Wales… for the Welsh generosity and hospitality are the greatest of all virtues.’
    • ‘In the grounds stood The Little House, a gift from the people of Wales built of Welsh materials to perfect two-thirds scale.’
    • ‘The Welsh international cleverly chested it down into the path of Earnshaw who gleefully smashed the ball home with a flashing volley.’
    • ‘West Wales is leading the renaissance in Welsh farmhouse cheesemaking according to an influential cookery writer.’
    • ‘In Wales, the survival of the Welsh language gave a cultural focus to nationalism.’
    • ‘But it has managed to remain Welsh-managed with a clear Welsh identity in Wales.’
    • ‘Choral singing provides a consistent public venue for using the Welsh language.’
    • ‘The Welsh language, as with others, has regional variations, within five miles you can have a different lilt altogether.’
    • ‘I have Welsh parentage, Welsh ancestry, was taught the Welsh language at school, and indeed I have lived in Wales.’
    • ‘The Welsh actor is thrilled his latest movie character has been turned into an action figure - because he collected them as a child.’


  • 1The Celtic language of Wales, spoken by about 500,000 people (mainly bilingual in English). Descended from the Brythonic language spoken in most of Roman Britain, it has been strongly revived after a long decline.

    • ‘Gaelic began to eclipse Welsh, though Welsh was still spoken in some areas in the mid-12th cent.’
    • ‘Almost all the hymns will be sung in Welsh, with bi-lingual introduction.’
    • ‘Clever collies Bethan and Pip are man's best friend in two different languages after the pets learned to understand Welsh.’
    • ‘Cerys exchanged greetings in English and Welsh as she made her way quickly through the crowd.’
    • ‘He went so far as to write his autobiography in the third person and in Welsh - a language few of his admirers could read.’
    • ‘Welsh flags fly proudly everywhere, and Welsh as an official language is commonly spoken.’
    • ‘Children go to local schools, become acculturated in their turn and speak Welsh.’
    • ‘The words should be in Welsh, and if they are not the entrant's own, permission must be sought from the author.’
    • ‘Iris was brought up to speak Welsh as her first language and was able to switch from one language to the other with great ease.’
    • ‘If I wanted to find blogs written in Welsh, then I have a bit of a challenge ahead of me.’
    • ‘The reason is that the number of children speaking Welsh is increasing steadily.’
    • ‘In this instance we know that Baldwin usually preached in Latin and relied on local interpreters to translate into Welsh.’
    • ‘His early lessons were in Welsh, so he learned English as a second language.’
    • ‘A wrasse is a sea fish found around the British coasts; the English name may have come from Cornish rather than Welsh.’
    • ‘My mother could speak Welsh after reading the ‘Teach Yourself’ book.’
  • 2as plural noun the WelshThe people of Wales collectively.

    • ‘After all, Ireland's record in Cardiff should be a source of deep discomfort to the Welsh.’
    • ‘Bigger castles housed more troops so the threat to the Welsh in that region was very obvious.’
    • ‘Considerable vestiges of these remained among the Welsh in the time of the Saxon Heptarchy.’
    • ‘The castle stands high above a crossing point of the river Wye, an area taken from the Welsh by the Normans only in the late C11.’
    • ‘By now, this effectively repressed the Welsh in their own land.’
    • ‘Sadly, we will need to improve tenfold if we are to trouble the Welsh in two weeks' time.’
    • ‘Bon Dieu, they surely were not attempting to emulate the Welsh in far-flung outposts!’
    • ‘Northumbrian expansion westwards led Mercia to make common cause with the Welsh.’
    • ‘They want British national identity to be extended to them on the same basis that it is to the English, the Scots and the Welsh.’
    • ‘You know they always used to take the mick out of the Welsh for having relatives all round the world.’
    • ‘If a measure of devolution is good enough for the Scots, Welsh and Londoners, then it's good enough for us as well.’
    • ‘While we go into the match unencumbered by expectation, the same is not true of the Welsh.’


Old English Welisc, Wælisc, from a Germanic word meaning ‘foreigner’, from Latin Volcae, the name of a Celtic people.