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English words of Scottish Gaelic origin



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The following terms are used in American football and Canadian football, but see also the glossary of Canadian football.

This is a list of English words borrowed from Scottish Gaelic. Some of these are common in Scottish English and Scots but less so in other varieties of English.

Contents

Word of Gaelic origin

Airt[1] 
Point of the compass, from àird (pronounced [aːrˠtʲ]), point of the compass.
Bard[1]  
From bàrd (pronounced [paːrˠt̪]), a low ranking poet.
Ben[1] 
From beinn (pronounced [peiɲ]), mountain.
Bog[1] 
From bog (pronounced [pok]), soft (related to boglach swamp), from Old Irish bocc.[2] 14th century.[3]
Bothy[4] 
A hut, from bothan (pronounced [pɔhan]), a hut.
Bunny[1] 
From bun (pronounced [pun]), a now obsolete word for a rabbit warren.
Caird[1] 
A tinker, from ceaird (pronounced [kʰʲɛrˠtʲ]), the plural of ceàrd, tinkers.
Caber[1] 
From cabar (pronounced [kʰapəɾ]), pole.
Cailleach[1] 
From cailleach (pronounced [kʰaʎəx]), old woman.
Cairn[1] 
From càirn (pronounced [kʰɛːrˠn]), the plural of càrn.
Cairngorm[1] 
From An Càrn Gorm (pronounced [əŋ kʰaːrˠn kɔɾɔm]), after Cairn Gorm, a mountain in the area where these stones are found.
Caman[1] 
From caman (pronounced [kʰaman]), shinty stick. Also in use in Scotland the derived camanachd, shinty.
Capercaillie[1] 
From capall-coille (pronounced [kʰaʰpəlˠ̪ˈkʰɤʎə]).
Cateran[1] 
From ceatharn (pronounced [kʰʲɛhərˠn]), fighting troop.
Ceilidh[1] 
From céilidh (pronounced [kʰʲeːlɪ]), a social gathering.
Clachan[1] 
From clachan (pronounced [kʰlˠ̪axan]), a small settlement.
Clan[1] 
From the compound form clann (pronounced [kʰlˠ̪an̪ˠ], from clann, children or family. Old Irish cland.[2]
Clarsach[1] 
A harp, from clàrsach (pronounced [kʰlˠ̪aːrˠs̪əx]), a harp.
Claymore[1] 
A large broadsword, from claidheamh mór (pronounced [kʰlˠ̪ajəv moːɾ]), great sword.
Corrie[1] 
From coire (pronounced [kʰɤɾʲə]), kettle.
Dig 
see Twig.
Craig[1] 
From creag (pronounced [kʰʲɾʲekʲ]), a cliff.
Doch-an-doris[1] 
Stirrup cup, from deoch an dorais (pronounced [tʲɔx ən̪ˠ t̪ɔɾəʃ]), drink of the door.
Drambuie[1] 
A scotch whisky liqueur, from drama buidheach (pronounced [t̪ɾamə pujəx]), drink that satisfies.
Fillibeg[1] 
A kilt, from féileadh beag (pronounced [feːləɣ pek]), small kilt.
Ghillie[1] 
a type of servant, from gille (pronounced [kʲiʎə]), boy or servant.
Glayva[1] 
A type of liqueur, from glé mhath (pronounced [kleː vãh]), very good
Glen[1] 
From gleann (pronounced [klãũnˠ̪]), a valley.
Glengarry bonnet[1] 
From Gleanna Garadh (pronounced [klɛn̪ˠəˈkaɾəɣ]), Glengarry.
Ingle[1] 
From aingeal (pronounced [aiŋʲgʲəlˠ̪]), a now obsolete word for fire.
Jessie 
Soft insult, as in "you big jessie", from deasach, a person from the south.
Kyle[1] 
From caol (pronounced [kʰɯːlˠ̪]), narrow.
Loch[1] 
From loch (pronounced [lˠ̪ɔx]).
Lochaber axe 
From Loch Abar (pronounced [lˠ̪ɔxˈapəɾ]), Lochaber + axe.
Lochan[1] 
From lochan (pronounced [lˠ̪ɔxan]), a small loch.
Machair[1] 
From machair (pronounced [maxəɾʲ]), the fertile land behind dunes.
Mackintosh[1] 
After Charles Macintosh who invented it. From Mac an Tòisich (pronounced [maxk ən̪ˠ t̪ʰɔːʃɪç]), son of the chieftain.
Mod[1] 
A Gaelic festival, from mòd (pronounced [mɔːt̪]), assembly, court.
Pibroch[1] 
From pìobaireachd (pronounced [pʰiːpəɾʲəxk]), piping.
Pillion[1] 
From pillean (pronounced [pʰiʎan]), pack-saddle, cushion.
Plaid[1] 
From plaide (pronounced [pʰlˠ̪atʲə]), blanket. Alternatively a Lowland Scots loanword [1], from the past participle of ply, to fold, giving plied then plaid after the Scots pronunciation.
Ptarmigan[1] 
From tàrmachan (pronounced [tʰaːɾməxan]). 16th Century.
Quaich[1] 
From cuach (pronounced [kʰuəx]), a cup.
Skean[5] 
From sgian (pronounced [s̪kʲian]), a knife.
Slogan[1] 
From sluagh-ghairm (pronounced [s̪lˠ̪uəɣɤɾʲɤm]), battle-cry
Slughorn 
Also from sluagh-ghairm, but erroneously believed by Thomas Chatterton and Robert Browning to refer (apparently) to some kind of trumpet.[6]
Sporran[1] 
From sporan (pronounced [s̪pɔɾan]), purse.
Spunk[1] 
From spong (pronounced [s̪pɔŋg]), tinder and also sponge. From Early Irish sponge, from Latin spongia, from Greek σπογγιά, a sponge.[2]
Strontium[1] 
from Sròn an t-Sìthein (pronounced [s̪t̪ɾɔːn əɲ tʰʲiː.ɛɲ]), name of a mountain, near which the element was discovered.
Trousers[1] 
from triubhas (pronounced [t̪ʰɾu.əs̪]), via "trews".
Twig[1] 
to understand, catch on, from tuig (pronounced [t̪ɯkʲ]), understand.
Whisky[1] 
Short form of whiskybae, from uisge-beatha (pronounced [ɯʃkʲəˈpɛhə]), water of life.

Words of Gaelic or Irish origin

The following words are of Goidelic origin but it cannot be ascertained whether the source language was Old Irish or one of the modern Goidelic languages.

Brat[1] 
A disagreeable or spoiled child, Irish, or Scottish Gaelic brat (pronounced [b̊ɾaʰd̪̊]), mantle, from Old Irish bratt[2], cloth.
Brogue[1] 
An accent, Irish, or Scottish Gaelic bròg (pronounced [pɾɔːk]), shoe (of a particular kind worn by Irish and Gaelic peasants), Early Irish bróc, from Norse brókr[2]
Hubbub[1][3] 
Irish, or Scottish Gaelic ubub (pronounced [upup]), an exclamation of disapproval.
Inch[1] 
Irish, or Scottish Gaelic innis (pronounced [ˈiɲɪʃ]), an island.
Och[4] 
Irish, or Scottish Gaelic och (pronounced [ɔx]), exclamation of regret.
Oe[4] 
Grandchild, Irish, or Scottish Gaelic ogha (pronounced [o.ə]), grandchild.
Pet[3] 
Irish, or Scottish Gaelic peata (pronounced [pʰɛʰtə]), a spoilt child.
Samhain 
Irish, or Scottish Gaelic Samhain (pronounced [s̪ãũ.ɛɲ]), November and related to Oidhche Shamhna, Halloween.
Shennachie[4] 
Irish, or Scottish Gaelic seannachaidh (pronounced [ʃɛn̪ˠəxɪ]), storyteller.
Sassenach[1] 
Irish, or Scottish Gaelic Sassanach (pronounced [s̪as̪ən̪ˠəx]), a Saxon.
Smidgen 
Irish, or Scottish Gaelic smidean (pronounced [s̪mitʲan]), a very small bit (connected to Irish smidirín, smithereen), from smid, syllable or a small bit.
Strath[1] 
Irish, or Scottish Gaelic srath (pronounced [s̪t̪ɾah]), a wide valley.

Words popularly believed to be Gaelic

Smashin(g) 
From 's math sin (pronounced [s̪ma ʃin]), "that is good". Alternatively an extension of English smash.
Snazzy 
Possibly from snasail (pronounced [s̪n̪ˠas̪al]), elegant or neat. Perhaps a U.S. colloquial blend of snappy and jazzy.[1]

Words mostly used in Lowland Scots

Because of the wide overlap of Scottish English and Lowland Scots, it can be difficult to ascertain if a word should be considered Lowland Scots or Scottish English. These words tend to be more closely associated with Lowland Scots but can occur in Scottish English too.

Abthen (or Abthan[4]
jurisdiction and territory of pre-Benedictine Scottish monastery , from abdhaine (pronounced [ˈapɣəɲə]), abbacy.
Airie[4] 
shieling, from àiridh (pronounced [ˈaːɾʲɪ]), shieling.
Aiten[4] 
juniper, from aiteann (pronounced [ˈaʰtʲən̪ˠ]), juniper.
Bourach[4] 
A mess, from bùrach (pronounced [ˈpuːɾəx]), a mess.
Car, ker[4] 
Left-handed, from cearr (pronounced [kʰʲaːrˠ]), wrong, left.
Crine[4] 
To shrink, from crìon (pronounced [kʰɾʲiən]), to shrink.
Crottle[4] 
A type of lichen used as a dye, from crìon (pronounced [kʰɾɔʰt̪əlˠ̪]), lichen.
Golack[4] 
An insect, from gobhlag (pronounced [ˈkoːlˠ̪ak]), an earwig.
Keelie[4] 
A tough urban male, from gille (pronounced ['gʰi:ljə]), a lad, a young man.
Ketach[4] 
The left hand, from ciotach (pronounced [ˈkʰʲiʰt̪əx]), left-handed.
Sonse[4] 
From sonas (pronounced [s̪ɔnəs̪]), happiness, good fortune. Also the related sonsy.
Spleuchan[4] 
A pouch, from spliùchan (pronounced [ˈs̪pljuːxan]), a pouch, purse.
Toshach[4] 
Head of a clan, from toiseach (pronounced [ˈt̪ʰɔʃəx]), beginning, front.

Place-name terminology

There are numerous additional place-name elements in Scotland which are derived from Gaelic, but the majority of these has not entered the English or Scots language as productive nouns and often remain opaque to the average Scot. A few examples of such elements are:

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba Collins English Dictionary 21st Century Edition Harper Collins (2001) ISBN 0-00-472529-8
  2. ^ a b c d e MacBain, A. (1911) An Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language
  3. ^ a b c Hoad, T.F. (ed) (1986) Oxford Concise Dictionary of English Etymology Oxford ISBN 0-19-283098-8
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Robinson, M. (ed) The Concise Scots Dictionary Chambers 1985 ISBN 0-08-028491-4
  5. ^ McArthur. T. The Oxford Companion to the English Language Oxford University Press 1992 ISBN 0-19-214183-X
  6. ^ Simpson, J.A. and Weiner E.S.C. The Oxford English Dictionary Second Edition Vol XV





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Published - February 2009


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