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]

DANT-MÍR

DANT-MÍR is obviously a combination of DANT 'tooth' + MÍR 'morsel' but the concept of the 'dant-mír' is poorly understood. The few attestations we have suggest that the term refers to a piece of food which was put between the teeth of the dead. In a fragment of text on the death of Finn mac Cumaill, for example, a 'fer dubh' (dark/gloomy man) insists that a piece of fish is given as a 'dant-mír' to Finn's decapitated head.

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26/05/2016
CRANNCHOR

CRANNCHOR is probably best known from the modern Irish phrase 'An Crannchur Náisiúnta' (the National Lottery). The word is made up of CRANN 'a wooden piece' and the verbal noun COR 'throwing' and there are references in early Irish law to adjudication by means of 'casting lots'. In the poems attributed to the eighth-century Irish monk Blathmac mac Con Brettan, the phrase 'fo cres crandcor' (lots were cast) is also used for the method of dividing up Christ's garments after the Crucifixion.

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19/05/2016
ORDU

ORDU 'a piece or morsel' is often found in passages on medieval Irish food − 'ordu éisc', for example, is a piece of fish. The word has a more gruesome application also, in describing human bodies hacked to bits in battle. This is how the 12th/13th-century Acallam na Senórach (Colloquy of the Ancients) reports Caílte's dispatch of a troublesome giant: doríne trí hoirdne dhe ┐ ba hí in treas ordu dhíbh a chenn 'he made three pieces of him and one of those three pieces was his head' Acall. 1920

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11/05/2016
GLÚN

GLÚN is 'knee'. The expression 'do-fúargaib glún' (raises the knee) seems to describe an act of respect or homage. In English we refer to 'going down on bended knee'; in the Irish expression, the focus is on the knee which is raised. Críth Gablach, a legal text, gives us some idea of the parties involved in this kind of ritual: tuargaib espuc a glún ria ríg (a bishop raises his knee before the king).

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05/05/2016

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