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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SÁL 'the heel of the foot' continues in Modern Irish as 'sáil' (Scottish Gaelic 'sàil'). In a medieval account of various recognised types of baldness or tonsure, Sanas Cormaic (Cormac's Glossary) preserves for us a memorable image of someone who lacked hair on the crown of his head: a mullach amail sāil duine tria assa 'the crown of his head is like someone's heel sticking out through his shoe' Corm. Y 1091

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LADAR, the space between the fingers or between the thumb and the rest of the hand, is a word for which English has no direct equivalent. An 11th-century poem attributed to Gilla Cóemáin uses the phrase 'tria ladraib' (through the spaces between my fingers) to suggest that the speaker received the love of God when his hands were held over his face in prayer: tria ladraib mo lám rolass a grád imm anmain attas 'his love, which swells in my soul, shone through the spaces between my fingers', LL 15405

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COLUMA 'column, pillar' occurs in a Middle-Irish reference to the Pillars of Hercules (colomna Herccail) and the phrase 'colamna áis' (the columns of life) is the early Irish equivalent of 'the ages of man': colamna āis .i. naoidendacht ┐ macdacht, gillacht ┐ ōglachass, sendatu ┐dīblideta 'the columns of life: infancy and boyhood, youth and manhood, old age and decrepitude' Corm. Y 322

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CNÚ 'nut', 'cnú cáech', literally a 'blind nut', is one without a kernel and the same phrase is used to refer to people considered to lack substance. In a poem contained in the Book of Leinster, the devil, pretending to be Christ, says: is cnú chaech … cách na déni toil in Ríg 'anyone who does not do the will of the King (i.e. God) is an empty nut' LL v 36780.

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