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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 1999-2004 » 2002 (January-June) » Gaelic words that are used in the english language « Previous Next »

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cummings (spider-mtc-tf022.proxy.aol.com - 64.12.103.27)
Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 - 09:14 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

my daughter is doing a project in school and needs to know any gaelic words that the americans have adopted. any help would be appreciated. thank you

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Fintan (neta.lisp.com.au - 203.21.133.124)
Posted on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 - 09:31 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A chara [Dear friend],

Seo duit. Here you go.

Smithereens - smidiríní [little pieces].

Galore - go leor [plenty, enough].

Kybosh - caidhp báis [cap of death, worn by judges passing death sentences].

Whisk(e)y - uisce bheatha [water of life, like Latin 'aqua vitae].

Will post more in a tick. Off to research some more.

Le meas [Yours]
Fintan

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rath (bg-tc-ppp1613.monmouth.com - 64.19.130.39)
Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 12:06 am:   Edit Post Print Post

A chara -
Here's a short list for you from a flyer that Daltaí gives out at festivals to spark interest in the Irish language - I hope it will help your daughter.

You already probably know
shamrock from "seamróg" meaning clover

leprechaun - originally from "leipreachán" which comes from "lucharachán" meaning small body

Banshee - from "bean-sídh" meaning a fairy woman

Bard - in ancient Ireland this word meant one who wrote and performed songs

Bog - the word for the mushy land you sink into when you walk comes from the Irish for soft

Brogue - shoe in Irish is "bróg" & the English once described the Irish, as speaking as if they had a shoe in their mouth

Colleen - it’s a girl’s name today, but "cailín" actually means girl in Irish

Galore - pronounced precisely the same in Irish where "go léor" means plenty

Glen - from the Irish "gleann", meaning valley

Jockey - coming directly from "eachaí" for horseman or jockey & English simply added the ‘j’ sound

Keen - comes from "caoine" a lamentful cry

Pet - has its roots in "peata", the Irish for tamed animal

Plaid - our word for the colorful patterns on tartans, once used as blankets, comes from the Irish "plaid" or "pluid" for blanket

Shanty - directly from the Irish "sean tithe" or old house
Slew - another word that retains its Irish pronunciation & meaning from "sluagh" meaning a large number

Slogan - this comes from "gairm slógaidh", meaning an army cry

Smithereens - from "smidirín" meaning small fragments

Trousers - "tríusas" is actually an Irish word for a pair of trousers

Truant - from "truaghan" meaning wretch

Whiskey - in Irish is called "uisce beatha", meaning water of life, sometimes shortened to "fuisce"


So Long - we’ve all actually been speaking Irish all along every time we say good-bye from the Irish "slán"

There are certainly more to be found if you have time - I can offer you a few more this weekend.

Slán (so long)
Rath

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Seosamh Mac Bhl. (nyf-ny3-190.rasserver.net - 207.93.59.190)
Posted on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 01:43 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

A couple of those are not so certain. Dictionaries usually say that "shanty" comes from the Canadian French "chantier", a rough hut in a lumber camp. I'd give this one a 55/45 chance of coming from French.

Kybosh (the British spelling of kibosh), as in "they put the kibosh on that" (i.e., they put a stop to it) is regarded as uncertain but I'm fairly certain it came from Irish Gaelic.

Also, some of these words entered English through Scots rather than Irish Gaelic. A good reason to keep it vague with the term "Gaelic".

A couple of others:

The British term "smashing" MIGHT come from "Is maith sin" -- That's good. Probably through Scots Gaelic, if true.

Ptarmigan, now in the news (Operation Ptarmigan in Afghanistan) comes from Scots Gaelic "tarmagan". A ptarmigan is a seabird of northern lands, a type of grouse, that blends in with its background well because of its coloration, hence its adoption for the military campaign by British, American and Afghan forces.

Claymore as in the two-edged plow and probably also in the sense of a claymore mine comes from "claíomh mór" (large sword).

Phony (or phoney) comes from the Irish word "fáinne" or ring. It evidently came into English from its use in a confidence game (the "fawney ring"): "Keep your eye on the fáinne"?

Also, you will see the word "carrageen" or "carrageenan" on the list of ingredients on packages of ice cream and the like. It refers to the emulsifying agent (or colloid) used in those foods. It comes from red algae, especially Irish moss. It literally means "little rock" ("carraigín") and comes from a specific place by than name in Co. Waterford in Ireland.

Notice that galore does something very unusual for an adjective in English -- It follows the noun: money galore, time galore. That comes from Irish, where an adjective usually follows the noun. (It's an exceptional creature in Irish too, for that matter, being a phrase based on an adjective and often behaving like as a noun.)

Ádh mór. Good luck.

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Fiach (p7.as1.cra.dublin.eircom.net - 159.134.176.7)
Posted on Sunday, April 28, 2002 - 09:49 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Níl mé cinnte faoi seo ach chuala mé gur tháinig an focal Meiriceánach "longshoreman" ón focal Ghaeilge "loingseoir" ón tréimhse nuair a bhí go leor fir as Chonamara ag obair ar duganna Nua Eabhroc.

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Dennis King (12-228-30-223.client.attbi.com - 12.228.30.223)
Posted on Sunday, April 28, 2002 - 12:57 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

"Along-shore-man" an míniú a fhaightear sna foclóirí, agus creidim é -- cé gur bhreá liom do scéalsa a chreidiúint.

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Seosamh Mac Bhloscaidh (nyf-ny4-118.rasserver.net - 206.216.93.118)
Posted on Sunday, April 28, 2002 - 08:19 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Chuala mé an scéal céanna. Is dóigh liomsa go bhfuil an ceart ag Dennis (agus na foclóirí).

Scéal eile a chluinim ná gur tháinig "dig" sa chiall "tuigbheáil" ón Ghaeilge: An *dtuig*eann tú? Deirtear gur tháinig an úsáid faoi leith seo den bhriathar "dig" isteach sa Bhéarla i saol na n-oirfidí insan tseanam agus -- dála na nAfraiceach -- bhí áit faoi leith ag na hÉireannaigh sa tsaol úd. Scéal suimiúil -- Níl barúil agam an fíor nó bréag é.

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Seosamh (nyf-ny4-118.rasserver.net - 206.216.93.118)
Posted on Sunday, April 28, 2002 - 08:23 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Insan an leagan den scéal a chuala mise, dála an scéil, tháinig an focal loingseoir isteach ón Ghaeilge ar na dugaí i bhPhiladelphia.

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James (wcs3.norfolk.nipr.mil - 198.26.132.99)
Posted on Monday, May 06, 2002 - 02:48 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

Gillie (as in fishing guide) from Giolla (Helper)

Brogans (a heavy leather work boot popular in the rural Appalachian area of the U.S.) from Bróg (Shoe)

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John L. Osullivan (208-39-151-131.isp.comcastbusiness.net - 208.39.151.131)
Posted on Thursday, May 09, 2002 - 09:43 am:   Edit Post Print Post

Just to add my bit to the dialog:
We shouldn't forget the English word "spree" which seems to come from "spraoi", Irish for "fun"

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Seosamh (nyf-ny1-40.rasserver.net - 207.221.74.40)
Posted on Thursday, May 09, 2002 - 03:06 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

GRMA as an cheann sin, John. Thanks for that one. Suimiúil. Interesting.

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Dan Holden (208.26.194.126)
Posted on Thursday, May 09, 2002 - 05:53 pm:   Edit Post Print Post

I always thought the word "shenanigan" had a gaelic origin. However, I did check Websters, and they said the origin was unknown. But I'm not sure that really rules out an Irish origin....

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