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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AS 'shoe, slipper'. In Classical Irish verse, a single (usually golden) sandal denotes a person of high rank. A 16th-century poem describes Aodh Ó Broin, chief of Gabhal Raghnaill, for example, as 'fear scéith óir is aonasa' (a man with a golden shield and a single sandal). Seeking to explain the reference, scholars have called attention to works of art such as the depiction of Dionysus in a fresco at the Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii (below), in which a central character is depicted as wearing only one sandal.

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CIÏD 'cries, weeps' could be used of crying for joy but was more usually associated with grief or repentance. One of the most memorable occurrences of this verb in medieval Irish literature is in what seems to be a proverbial statement roughly equivalent to 'ignorance is bliss': ni ciat súli ní nach aiccet 'eyes do not weep for what they do not see' LL 13853

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FID means 'tree' and also 'wood, timber'. It combines with other nouns to indicate that these are made of wood. So FIDLESTAR is a wooden vessel (LESTAR) and FIDCHAT, literally 'a wooden cat', is actually a mouse trap. A Middle-Irish religious commentary on the Commandments observes that the covetous man pursues wealth 'amal charas in luch biad in ḟidchait' (just as the mouse loves the food in the trap) PH 7738

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CAINDELBÁTHAD 'excommunication' (modern Irish 'coinnealbhá') is made up of CAINDEL 'candle' and BÁDUD 'drowning; extinguishing'. The word arises from the ritual of major excommunication whereby a candle which represents the anathematised person's light of life is extinguished. According to the Annals of Connacht, 1236 was a year of storm, war, hunger and 'meic mallachtan n-a connelbathad do lamaib espoc' (evil-doers excommunicated at the hands of bishops) Ann. Conn. 1236.16

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