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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MUIRCHRECH seems to have been used in early Irish to indicate a certain distance out to sea. The word appears in references to how people who had committed crimes and children born of incest were placed in small boats a MUIRCHRECH out to sea and provided only with enough food for one night and a weapon to defend themselves. Should the prevailing wind and tide bring them to shore, they were accepted back into the community, living afterwards as individuals of low status. A MUIRCHRECH is often defined as the distance from which a white shield could be seen from the shore.

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SLIGE is the medieval Irish word that gave us Modern Irish SLÍ ‘a road’. The original sense of SLIGE, however, was ‘cutting down’ or ‘clearing’, and the early term was often used with reference to slaughtering people. From uses associated with felling trees and clearing land, the term came to be applied to ‘something that is cleared or cut-out’ and hence to ‘a road, a path’!

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