Jan 9, 2012

Welch or Welsh? Never Welch With the Welsh

I was typing a response to a friend on facebook a bit ago and wanted to use the word welch, i.e., welch on a bet, but second-guessed myself as I was typing it.

Was the correct word welch, or welsh?

I typed welch, but thought I'd best double check before posting, and was happy to see confirmation from online dictionaries that my initial use was correct.  As I dug further, I wasn't so sure.

When describing the nationality of people from the country of Wales (or the breed of pony originating there), Welsh is the proper spelling and it is capitalized since it's a proper noun.  The verb, as I used it above, is welch, according to every online dictionary I checked.  Thumbing through the pages of my bound and printed copy of Webster's New World Dictionary, however, the only listing for welch is that of a variant spelling of the word welsh.

Variant or no, since that dictionary was printed in 1970 and every other source I was able to put my finger cursor on says welch, I think the latter is now accepted as proper when used as a verb.  Perhaps the variant is used more today so as not to perpetuate a derogatory connotation of our friends across the pond?

So never welch on a bet, with the Welsh or anyone else.


  1. Language changes and develops over time, so the version you used is probably correct. Interesting post. :)

  2. I am almost certain that welch is correct in this case, but it's not a word that you hear used very much these days.

    People spelling things like they are pronounced really can agravate at times, and a classic one for me is "potty", which I see so often written in the USA as "poddy", because "t" is often pronounced like a "d".

    When I first moved to the USA I used to get fun made of me because of how I pronounced the word "Saturday". I didn't pronounce it "Sadderday" like everyone else.

    Then there was the Chinese Buffet in Indiana where the waitress could never understand what I wanted to drink when I asked for "Water". Once I figured it out, I just asked for "Warder" and it worked like a gem :)

    Got to love language, grammar and pronounciation...