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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ÍOTACH 'a thirsty person, a hard drinker' derives from Old Irish 'íttu' (thirst). We have no example of 'íotach' before the seventeeth century, but historian and priest Geoffrey Keating (Seathrún Céitinn) uses the word in a wonderful example of Early Modern alliterating Irish − 'íotaigh na hAlban, súmairidhe na Saxon, agus potairidhe na bPleimeanach' (Eochairsg. 3.8), which translates roughly as 'the sozzled of Scotland, the inebriated of England and the hard drinkers of Holland'!!

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AIRLIMM is a legal term which is sometimes translated as 'leaping-trespass'. It refers to animals straying onto neighbouring property and carries a fine, except in special circumstances such as cattle startled by a dog or trying to escape the heat of the sun. Bees can commit 'leaping-trespass' also, in which case the fine can be paid in honey.

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GELÁN 'brightness, whiteness' gave early Irish a number of useful phrases: 'tene geláin' (literally, fire of brightness) was lightning, 'gelán na súl' seems to have been the cornea of the eye and 'gelán uige' was the white of an egg. To stop warts bleeding, an Early Modern medical text advises: cuir lín an damhain alla riú no gelan uige 'apply cobwebs to them or white of egg' (Rosa Anglica § 61)!

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GRÁINNECH 'seeded, having seeds' is an adjective which seems to have been brought into being specifically to provide Irish with a term for a pomegranate. Early occurrences are confined to the phrase 'uball gráinnech', which corresponds to Latin 'pōmum grānātum', i.e. a seeded apple - or pomegranate!

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