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Cite this: eDIL s.v. fomóir or
Last Revised: 2019


Forms: fomórach, fomoire, fomra, fomaire, fomoire, fomaire, fomóre, fomóir, ḟomorach, fFomór, fFomhóir, fomórach, -aig, fomóir, ḟomhoraich, fomóraig, fomarca, fomorach, fomórach, fomórach, fomórchaib, fomhóir, omhóir, -óir, -óra, -órach, -óire, -óraigh, fodh-, foghmóir, fodhmóra, foghmóra

n i, and guttural, m., fomórach o, m. a `Fomorian ', the name of a mythical people entering largely into the legendary history of Ireland, see O'Rahilly's EIHM, 523 - 525 . They were said to have reached Ireland in the time of Partholón: cetchath Herend robriss Partholón ... for Cichol ṅGricenchos d'Fomórchaib ┐ fir co n-oenlámaib ┐ co n-oenchossaib roḟersat friss in cath LL 5a21 (cf. BB 372a42 = Dinds. 41 ). Elsewhere in early lit. they appear as two-legged and two-handed beings, but generally of great stature and evil nature; Christian writers traced their descent to Ham son of Noah, see LU 124 . where they are classed with `luchrupāin' and `goborchind.' In later Mid. Ir. and Early Mod. period the word signifies variously a giant or pirate; Giraldus Cambrensis calls the opponents of Partholón gigantes ( Top. Hib. III cap. ii ). The word is by Irish writers commonly associated with muir `sea' (see BB 253a29 and Keat. i p. 182 cited below), a view adopted by K. Meyer and by Rhys, Hibbert Lect. 1885, p. 591 ; but by Stokes, Ling. Val. Ir. Ann. 63 , and Thurneysen, Heldensage 64 , with A.S. mara, Germ. Mahr `phantom' (cf. Engl. night-mare, Fr. cauchemar); by A. De Jubainville, Cycle Myth. ch. V 3 with mór, már `great.'

(a) Acc. to Meyer, Ält. Ir. Dicht. ii 6 , Wortk. 86 , the oldest form of the word is perhaps fomoire, a derivative of *fomuir `land lying towards the sea,' `shore-land,' of which the gen. fomra occurs ( fine Fomhra, BB 32a45 ; Fen. 258.17 ; co sluagh ... Fomra, Leb. Gab.(i) 106.4 ), this etym. is rejected by Thurneysen, Heldensage 64 , see also O'Rahilly, EIHM 524ff . n s. in fomaire fir (: Conaire) LL 195a34 ( Metr. Dinds. iii 128 ; of Macc Cécht, cf. IGT, 111 ex. 318 , cited below). g p. selaig srathu fomoire , LL 311b35 = fomaire, Rawl. 118a33 ( Ält. Ir. Dicht. ii 6 ). for féin fomoire, BB 28b26 , cf. Leb. Gab.(i) 102.10 = fomóre, LL 7a16 .

(b) The common Mid. Ir. form is fomóir : metithir ra f.¤ na ra fer mara, TBC-LL¹ 3805 . fa f.¤ e i farrad Eisirt a giant compared with E. SG 241z . co tarcomlat-sim trénfiru an tṡídho .i. na Fomore, RC xii 72 § 41 . a tirib na Fomóre LU 7283 ( BDD 94 ). do Fomórib, LU 7284 (ib.). ferge Fomóra fairge (: comōla), LL 7a31 . g s. co Carraic ind ḟomorach , Acall. 6545 . g p. mac righ na fFomór (: mór), Duan. F. ii 222 . na fFomhóir (: cóir), 224 .

(c) The form fomórach (g s. -aig) is found in Mid. Ir. and later generally replaces fomóir in pl.: cnoc in ḟomhoraich , Acall. 1881 . d'ingantaib ... itir duine ┐ énlaith ┐ ḟomhórach ┐ bethadach ` sea-monsters (?)' Ériu ii 146.1 . n p. conid húad [viz. Ham] ro genatar luchrupain ┐ fomóraig ... ┐ cech ecosc dodelbda archena fil for doinib, LU 124 . na fomāraig (: háraib), LL 206a22 . fomoraig .i. fomuiridi .i. lucht bidis ag sladaigecht ... ar fairrgi, BB 253a29 (= Cóir Anm. 234 . Cf. is aire do gairthí Fomhóraigh dhíobh ... óna mbeith ag déanamh fóghla ar muir: Fomhóraigh .i. fomhuiribh, Keat. i p. 182 ). a p. fri fomarca , TBC St. 2983 . g p. na fomorach , LU 113 . fomórach, 7271 ( BDD 93 ). triar ... a finib fomórach , LL 254b5 . d p. cet laech d'fomórchaib is d'arsaidib, 198a16 . ra fomorchaib, TBC-LL¹ 3625 . fomhóir omhóir (g s. -óir, -óra, -órach, n p. -óire, -óraigh) IGT, Decl. § 50 ; ón omhóir easbaig, III ex. 318 . In later MSS. often misspelt fodh-, foghmóir: g s. fodhmóra, Stair Erc. 2278 . foghmóra, 603 . In romances the word seems synonymous with athach `giant' (see St. Ercuil glossary): fomor firgrána, Acall. 1884 = int athach, 1903 . fodhmhoir milita. Ériu iii 166 § 23 (called athach later in the text). co facaidh in fomoir feramail fírgranna ┐ in t-athach, ZCP vi 288.23 . Of Cerberus: fodmoir foirtill, Stair Erc. 638 . Of centaurs: ced fomoir ... ferrda, 571 , 2570 . fomhoir uathmhur (of Goliath), Carswell 9 . Golias .i. in fomoir , ZCP ix 176.30 .