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Irish: [ˈʃeːməs]
Meaning"he supplanted" or "substitute"
Region of originIreland, Scotland, Irish diaspora, Scottish diaspora, Scottish Gaelic, Scottish Kings
Other names
Related namesHamish, James, Jamie, Seumas

Séamus (Irish pronunciation: [ˈʃeːməs]), is a Gaelic male first name of Latin origin. It is the Gaelic equivalent of the name James. The name James is the English New Testament variant for the Hebrew name Jacob. It entered the Irish and Scottish Gaelic languages from the French variation of the late Latin name for Jacob, Iacomus; a dialect variant of Iacobus, from the New Testament Greek Ἰάκωβος (Iákōvos), and ultimately from Hebrew word יעקב (Yaʻaqov), i.e. Jacob. Its meaning in Hebrew is "one who supplants" or more literally "one who grabs at the heel". When the Hebrew patriarch Jacob was born, he was grasping his twin brother Esau's heel.

Variant spellings include Seamus, Séamas, Seumas, Seumus, Shaymus, Sheamus and Shamus. Diminutives include Séimí, Séimín and Séamaisín.

In the United States, the word "Shamus" is a derogatory slang [1] misspelling of Séamus that arose during the 19th century as more than 4.5 million Irish immigrated to America, peaking at almost two million between 1845 and 1852 during "The Great Hunger" (Irish: An Gorta Mór). Irish immigrants found employment in the police departments, fire departments and other public services of major cities, largely in the Northeast and around the Great Lakes, and have been over represented in the New York police since then.[2] Though still used by some as a derogatory term, the great preponderance of Irish and Irish-American law enforcement officers led to a persisting stereotype, and the name "Shamus" continues to refer to Irish-American police and private detectives.

Given name[edit]


  1. ^ [0814752187 "Racism"] Check |url= value (help). 2008-03-31. Retrieved 2018-03-03.
  2. ^ Patterns of provocation : police and public disorder. Bessel, Richard., Emsley, Clive., European Centre for the Study of Policing. New York: Berghahn Books. 2000. ISBN 1571812288. OCLC 43114240.

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