From: Old-Irish-L <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Dennis King
> If “crithir”, spark or quivering, were derived in OI from “crith”,
There is no evidence that crithir was derived in the OIr. period - in any case it is not, AFAIK, a productive derivational process in Old Irish.
> could “beithir” be a relatively late creation derived from “bith” and/or “betha”? Possibly with semantic leakage from “cethir”?
Strikes me as very unlikely. First of all, as I said before, "cethir" (domestic animal, cattle) is not semantically close to "bear" at all, apart from the fact that both are mammals. And why should "world" or "life" serve as the derivational base for "bear"?
> Maybe a portemaneau, a made-up name for a made-up creature?
I am not aware of portmanteaus in Old Irish. What we have are compounds or derivatives in various shapes, but nothing of the type of portmanteau as they are created nowadays. I am not even sure that portmanteaus of any sort are older than the 19th century. Maybe there are languages where they are a traditional device for word formation, but to my knowledge they are a modern, artificial type of word formation.