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Disputed. Generally believed to be from Gaulish/Transalpine Gaulish caballos.. This term is cognate to Welsh ceffyl, Manx cabbyl, Scottish Gaelic and Irish capall.

Also compared is Ancient Greek καβάλλης (kabállēs, nag), in turn possibly a borrowing from a Balkan, Anatolian, or northeast European language. Compare Turkish kaval, adjunct of at (horse), Proto-Slavic *kobýla.