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Did you know that there are ten words for survey in early Irish?

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Introduction to the Concise Edition

The concise edition of the electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language, which is aimed at the non-specialist user, is a dictionary of early Irish covering the period c.700 CE- c.1700 CE. It draws on the larger, scholarly edition, also available on this site.

The concise edition gives just the dictionary headword and associated definitions without the grammatical information and historical citations that accompany the full edition. Typing in a search term in English will produce a list of all entries in which that word appears in a definition. This includes entries in which it appears in the definition of compound words and phrases, so be wary that not all results will be a direct equivalent of your search term. You should also note that we do not display any entries where there is some doubt about the existence of the word (preceded by a query in the full dictionary).

You can view the full, scholarly entry at any stage by clicking on the headword or by clicking on the 'Switch Edition' button.

The Dictionary contains much information on words relating to agriculture, medicine, law, music, religion and society that will be of particular interest to historians and archaeologists, and it traces the origin and development of words over a period of a thousand years. The rich vocabulary of the Dictionary is also ripe for exploitation by creative writers and thinkers in the modern languages, and by making it available now in a concise edition we hope to make it more accessible to the general user with no knowledge of Irish in the medieval period.

To read a brief explanation of the spelling and pronunciation of early Irish, and for further reading, see here.

Word of the Week[See More]


LEPAID is the early Irish word which gave us Modern Irish LEABA and Scottish Gaelic LEAPAIDH, both of which mean ‘bed’. In medieval times, however, the word was commonly used in a legal sense to refer to harbouring or offering shelter. If the person being harboured had committed some offence, then the host could incur FÍACH LEPTHA ‘the fine of harbourage’. That this was not confined to idea of supplying a bed can be seen from examples in which FÍACH LEPTHA is said to be due for providing a criminal with food!

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TAÍDLECH means ‘shining’ or ‘glittering’. The word appears as the epithet of a man named Eogan Taídlech who is said to have possessed a magnificent cloak. According to medieval Irish tradition, the garment was made for him by the daughter of the king of Spain and it consisted of multicoloured ‘wool’ collected from a salmon. Eogan returned to Ireland, resplendent and glittering in that cloak, and from then on he was known as Eogan Taídlech.

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