Ar 8:40 PM +0200 6/24/98, scríobh Christian Chiarcos:

>e.g. Cybele was called "bona Dea" although she acted in a rather brutal way.
>(Remember Adonis who was castrated by her.)

More recently, the "aos sídhe" (fairy folk) have been called "na daoine
maithe" (the good people) precisely because they are so dangerous.

>Other words became changed for reasons of tabuism (cf. Gk. lykos with -k-
>instead of -p- in Lat. lupus, Eng. wulf). A possible example is the Persian
>and Indian God Indra, another one is the use of Eng. bear ("the brown one")
>instead of I.E. *rktos/rksos "bear" (< "destroyer").

Old Irish provides some good examples of "tabu" words replaced in
everyday use by "noa" (non-tabu) terms, so that every time a person said
the word, he didn't attract the unwanted attention of the animal.  For
example, "faol" (wolf) has been superseded almost entirely by "mac tíre"
(= son of (the) land).  The old names for bear and badger live on only
as the proper names Art and Tadhg.  And the common modern term for spider,
"damhán alla" (lit., "little wild ox") suggests a "noa" name replacement
for a small creature that many people fear.

Dennis King