eDIL - Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language

The electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language (eDIL) is a digital dictionary of medieval Irish. It is based on the ROYAL IRISH ACADEMY’S Dictionary of the Irish Language based mainly on Old and Middle Irish materials (1913-1976) which covers the period c.700-c.1700. The current site contains revisions to c.4000 entries and further corrections and additions will be added in the coming years.

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Word of the Week[See More]

BUIDE

BUIDE CHONNAILL is based on BUIDE ‘yellow’ and CONDALL ‘stalk; straw’. It might seem like an appealing phrase drawn from nature, but this was actually a disease which is said to have caused ‘mortalitas magna’ (great mortality) in Ireland in the early 550s. The name suggests that the disease in question was characterised by a yellow, straw-like colour and it is thought that BUIDE CHONNAILL referred to relapsing fever, which is spread by lice or ticks, and is often accompanied by jaundice.

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18/01/2019
DAMÁN

DAMÁN ALLAID (Modern Irish DAMHÁN ALLA) seems to translate literally as ‘wild little ox’ – which is very odd as this refers to a spider. In a 17th-century source, and still sometimes today, the first word is given as DUBHÁN ‘little black thing’, which is similar in pronunciation to DAMHÁN and makes a lot more sense! Despite Middle-Irish references to insects called CERNDUBÁN and SPECDUBÁN, however, there do not seem to be any early uses of this word to refer to a spider, and the form DAMÁN ALLAID is attested from the early 9th century onwards…

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06/01/2019
CITH

CITH and FRAS both mean ‘shower’ and were often used in medieval Ireland to refer to the falling of rain or snow. In the early 17th century, however, Tadhg Ó Cianáin used both in his attempt to find appropriate words for what seems to be the first description in Irish of fireworks. Of a display which he witnessed in Rome, Tadhg says: gur choimhlinatar meid airighthi don aer etaruas uassan gcaislen do na cethoibh ┐do na frossoibh teinntidhe ro leicset ‘they filled a portion of the atmosphere over the castle with the showers and fiery flames they sent forth’ (Fl. Earls 188). Happy New Year/Athbhliain Faoi Shéan 's Faoi Mhaise/Bliadhna Mhath Ùr to all our followers!

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31/12/2018
ÍSSUCÁN

ÍSSUCÁN is sometimes translated as ‘Jesukin’. It is a diminutive form of the name ÍSSU ‘Jesus’ and serves as a term of affection, just like MACCUCÁN, which comes from MACC ‘boy’ and means roughly ‘little lad’, and CÚCUCÁN, which was a pet name given to the Ulster warrior CÚ CHULAINN!

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21/12/2018

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