Talk:List of English words of Scottish Gaelic origin

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I assume that "cross" refers to the meaning "angry", since "cross" as in "X" comes by way of French, n'est-ce pas? Or did the Anglo-Saxons get it from the Celtic Christians when they came to England, and if so, wouldn't it be borrowed from a Brythonic language? It would be nice if this were cleared up.

the English word "cross" was definitely infulenced by the Irish monks. Had it not been, the English word would have been probably similar to "crutch". Personally, I think this list (as well as the article List_of_English_words_of_Irish_origin) should be subsumed under a title such as List_of_English_words_of_Celtic_origin...


It would be good if a distinction between words that originate from Irish and from Scottish could be made, rather than assuming a simultaneous adoption. For example, I'm not aware that the leprechaun makes an appearance in Scottish legends or stories. griff 18:04, 17 Jun 2005 (UTC)


"Crack" is actually of English origins, borrowed by Gaelic; the Gaelic spelling "craic" began to be used in English less than 20 years ago. See the Wickipedia pages on "crack"/"craic", especially the Discussion page.


I'm just an American, but shouldn't the word "glamour" (spelled "glamor" over here) be included on the list of English words of Scottish Gaelic origin?


Sorry to ask, but the article is about "scottish gaelic" words: Banshee is an irish gaelic word. Bean Nighe is the scottish form, is it not? -- 15:15, 23 August 2007 (UTC)


Seems to me that plaid in English must mention plaid in Ghaidlig which means blanket. The kilt used to be a blanket with about 12 square yards of cloth. One laid it down on the ground, and folded it over oneself, tying it with a pin. Seems to me that this is a much more logical origin than what is now in the entry. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wrmckinney (talkcontribs) 14:55, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Should this page exist?[edit]

Not only are some of the listed words dubious as regards to who borrowed from whom, not only are some of them ones that are cognates who share a common root, but aren't the root of each other, BUT some of them could have come from Gaelic, could have come from Irish, could have come from Welsh, could have come from Gallovidian, could have come from Cumbric, could have come from Cornish, could have come from Manx etc...

Wouldn't it be better to have a list of words of Celtic origin, stating (if possible) which Celtic languages are candidate sources?

Also, there's a missing "via Scots" on many of the entries. "Benn", for example, was borrowed into Scots from Gaelic, from where it has been incorporated into English. (Although even then, it's hardly English)Prof Wrong (talk) 18:56, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, I think a page *like* it should exist, there are some words which can be confirmed as loans from Goidelic, even if it cannot always be ascertained which Goidelic language; they can usually be distinguished from Brythnic loans. But I agree, as it stands it's a terrible page. With a terrible title. I might start a different page along the lines of Goidelic loanwords with a more scientific tone to it. Akerbeltz (talk) 23:39, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Ok, update. I've removed the cleanup tag because I've:
  • removed all the Irish loans
  • referenced all secure Scots Gaelic loans
  • moved the remaining few into a section for "words commonly believed to be derived from Gaelic"
I'll add a few missing ones later on, like Sassenach or Cairngorm. Akerbeltz (talk) 13:33, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

This page is just getting more and more confusing.

Why is it that bog is a Gaelic word, but inch is possibly Irish, possibly Gaelic? Both terms are used on both sides of the Irish Sea. In fact, I've only noticed inch used in the northern parts of Ireland, where the Scots speaking settlers went, whereas there's bogs all over the island.

But then again, inch in Scots may even originate in Brythonic.

It just seems to me that this topic is too messy to address adequately on a site like this. Prof Wrong (talk) 11:54, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Well, interesting question. I went by what Collins said for the origin. Usually establishing whether a word has come from one or the other sister language hinges on (if everything else is equal) where the word is first documented I think, so if bog is recorded in Scotland a lot earlier than in Ireland in (English) sources, then it's taken as coming from Scots Gaelic, not the other way round. Sometimes they crop up at the same time and with the same spelling in both areas and it's impossible to tell, hence the second category. But since we have a credible source (Collins/OED) we don't actually need to worry about attribution, they will have done due diligence to establish that. I think the list is fine as it is atm, I took out all the random one's where I could not find a source. Akerbeltz (talk) 12:08, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
The major dictionaries do seem to ignore the very real influence of Brythonic Celtic in Scotland.
Besides, what do we do when the OED and Collins disagree? The OED doesn't once mention Ireland under Inch[2]. Their earliest references appear to be in 15th century Scots, not English, and the DSL shows a quote in Scots from 1198/1199. What does Collins say for inch and when is their earliest reference relating to Ireland?
And given the relative continuity of the literary dialect over Gaeldom until the end of the "middle" period, is it even possible to make this distinction for a borrowing made anything more than three or four hundred years ago?
Prof Wrong (talk) 13:53, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
I don't blame them for ignoring it LOL it's there but very very hard to pin down. The only reliable bits of Brythonic in Celtic Scotland are place names.
Most of the time I checked Collins, and if Collins didn't say anything I checked the OEED (the etymological one, not the standard OED). I don't think there were many they disagreed on anyway. In the case of inch, the OEED gives xv century Scotland, Collins agrees on date, but doesn't specify Ireland OR Scotland.
I don't see how the written Gaelic tradition would affect borrowings into English, what exactly do you mean there? Akerbeltz (talk) 14:31, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Prof Wrong, Inch goes in English (certainly the form of it used in Lowland Scotland) from Scottish Gaelic, there are very early occurrences of it. As Scots is, for most academics around the world, clearly part of English, the artificial distinction between "Scots" and the bundled group of other varieties of English isn't important for an article like this. Given the topic is "Scottish Gaelic", then coming into English usage in Scotland first would be natural and expected. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 14:46, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

If there's an "artificial distinction" between Scots and English, then there's an "artificial distinction" between "Gaelic" and the "bundled group of other varieties of Goidelic", and this page shouldn't exist.
Prof Wrong (talk) 15:15, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Deac, most linguists who bundle Scots under English dialects that I've talked to have usually made the slightly embarrassing error of not defining the term first. The problem is that colloquially most Scots refer to their language as Scots and many linguistis do too when that's in actualy fact Scottish English, something very similar to Northern varieties of English. Real Scots on the other hand is a distinct from English as Swedish is from Norwegian, it's just that not many people speak that anymore. So, Scots is quite legit as a language as long as we're talking real Scots, not English with rolled r's (exaggerating!).
And the 3 Gaelics can't really be called dialects anymore either, not since the intermediate dialects have died off. So what *did* you mean though, Prof? Akerbeltz (talk) 17:29, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
To pilfer a few of your words, "any more" is a major part of my point. The borrowing of many of these words into Scots and/or English predates the death of these intermediate dialects. In the middle period, the Gaelics would have been at least as much a continuum as English/Scots and at the literary level there was less variation (unlike in Scots vs English where King James's writings were translated to English), so it's a bit incongruous for Deac to support a distinction in the Gaelics but not in the Anglics.
I'm not trying to do down Gaelic (idir idir), mind.
Prof Wrong (talk) 11:07, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
Prof, the distinction between Scottish and Irish Gaelic isn't artificial, the two forms are not mutually intelligible (though of course Ulster Gaelic was closer to Hebridean Gaelic than Munster Gaelic to Perthshire), more like Polish and Russian than "English" (what variety?) and "Scots". Aker, I wouldn't put too much faith in any "real Scots" versus "Scottish English", the two terms really aren't mutually exclusive. What you hear, really, is what you get, independently of artificial distinctions like that, though one meaningful distinction could be in regards to Scottish words acceptable in mainstream English writings (e.g. words such as "outwith" and "defamation" might be Scottish English but not Scots, though is that really the case even here?). Of course, most people know that continental Scandinavian is really one language, but there is a usage consensus derived from modern political set-ups to refer to three standardized varieties as distinct and complete components (as appears to be happening now with Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, etc), and that's not the case for Scots. In light of actual scholarly and common usage, it is a violation of a few wiki policies to refer to Scots and English as entirely separate as if it were a universally accepted fact. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 18:29, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I *know* English and Scots sit on a dialect continuum today with most speakers somewhere in the middle but that's the result of an ongoing language shift between two closely related languages. That does not change the fact that Scots in its "original" form (or whatever you want to call the language when it's not watered down with English) is a separate language. I agree, having a [x] in Loch Lomond does not make Scots a language, but having [gaŋg ɔn ə brixt muːnliçt niçt] does... Apologies for the cliché quote but I think it serves well to illustrate the point. And before anyone says anything, I'm not a member of any body promoting Scots, I sit on the Gaelic end which generally has an uneasy relationship with Scots but I like to be rational about these things. Akerbeltz (talk) 23:54, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Many forms of English could be called separate languages using obsolete cliches like that. This does not however detract from the realities of english usage. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 00:00, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

Maybe they could, we're not dealing with that issue here. The two main issues when dealing with Scots are the more or less universally accepted criterium of mutual intellegibility (whether one likes the outcome or not from a sociopolitical POV) and the issue of language shift/merger and I think you're kinda ignoring the second one. Most Scandinavian languages were moving massively towards adopting Danish features during the period of strong Danish influence - does that mean because Icelandic/Faroese/Norwegian were becoming more and more intelligible to a Dane, that at the stage before they started doing that they weren't seperate languages? Akerbeltz (talk) 08:13, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

One could argued that the "Anglicization" of Scots English varieties was merely part of the wider standardization of English varieties, a matter of perception. But all I'm saying here is that wikipedia can't go around deciding that Scots is a distinct language before there is a wider consensus in the discourse community. Wikipedia follows the discourse community, attempting to lead it is against WP:NOR and in this instance WP:UNDUE. Some consider it to have been a separate language, others not. Fairly simple. Unfair to Scots enthusiasts as it may be (vis-a-vis Macedonian and Bulgarian for instance), it is the reality. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 10:57, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
"One could argued that the "Anglicization" of Scots English varieties was merely part of the wider standardization of English varieties,"
One could. But then one would be ignoring the fact that the (pre-colonial) development of English has been one of gradual but continual convergence, while Scots took an observably divergent path during the middle period due to a vastly different social context and contact with different languages. Just because they are reconverging now doesn't negate that.
"Many forms of English could be called separate languages using obsolete cliches like that." Obsolete is an entirely inappropriate choice of term. Akerbeltz has already pointed out that the language that we (me and him) are refering to is the historical language Scots -- the language spoken pre-Union. It would be ludicrous to expect him to use an example from the modern half-breed SSE to demonstrate something about Middle Scots. If we were discussing the English of Shakespeare we wouldn't expect to quote Grant & Phil from Eastenders would we? Clearly the language is different.
Prof Wrong (talk) 11:07, 25 September 2008 (UTC)
And the existence of Scots is widely enough accepted to merit an ISO code, which is surely significant.
Prof Wrong (talk) 11:11, 25 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm proposing the following deletions[edit]

At the bottom of Wikipedia's List of Arabic loanwords in English you can find links to five whole books devoted to the etymology of English words. The books are freely downloadable. On the basis of what's in those books, I made the following notes about the current Scottish Gaelic origins page, and I'll soon be making the following changes:
DELETE Dig, Twig, Tinker -- Old English words of ultimate Germanic orign.
DELETE Glayva -- an invented proprietary trade name, and the Gaelic language doesn't use the letters 'y' or 'v'.
DELETE Drambuie -- an invented proprietary name, and the "dram" part is of Latin and Greek origin.
DELETE Glengarry bonnet -- Glengarry is already covered by glen and otherwise is a placename. Bonnet is from Old French, from Middle Latin.
DELETE Pet, Bunny -- originally Scots and Northern England dialect, of unknown origin. Probably not of Gaelic origin.
DELETE Brat -- Word appeared in late Old English as bratt meaning cloak, but a derivation of that from Gaelic is not well established, and furthermore the connection between bratt meaning cloak and the modern meaning of brat is not well established either (e.g., the OED says modern brat is perhaps from Old French brachet ‘hound, bitch’).
DELETE OR ELSE ELABORATE ON THE ORIGIN OF: Bard. In short, the English bard primarily comes from popular ancient Latin writings that use bardus = poet. Bard is an ancient Celtic word. Welsh bardd and Breton barz mean 'poet-singer'. Scottish Gaelic bard entered Scottish English in mid-15th century with the meaning of 'vagabond minstrel'. However the modern literary meaning of bard is 17th century and is derived from -- or at least strongly influenced by -- the ancient Greek bardos and Latin bardus (e.g. used by the poet Lucan, 1st century AD), which in turn come from the Gaulish language. The word bard appears in modern French, Spanish, Italian, German and other European languages and I believe this widespreadness is due to its presence in the Greek and Latin, not English.
DELETE OR ELSE MOVE TO THE SCOTS SECTION: Jessie, Slughorn -- not words in dictionary.
MOVE TO THE SCOTS SECTION: Airt, bothy, caird, caber, clachan, Doch-an-doris, Gillie, Inch, Kyle, Mod, Oe, Och, Quaich, Skean, Ingle
Ingle: "Whan I feel ma Muse beginnin tae jaud, I retire tae the solitar ingle-side o ma study, an there pit ma effuisions doun on paper". -- sco:Robert Burns, comedian
Seanwal111111 (talk) 20:39, 29 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't know what dictionary you have, but the Oxford English Dictionary defines "Jessie" as: noun (plural jessies) British informal , derogatory an effeminate, weak, or oversensitive man.
Although it does, predictably, give an incorrect origin. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:14, 8 December 2011 (UTC)
Shouldn't Sassenach have another translation as "asshole" Reference: Pog mo choin, Sassenach! Wrmckinney (talk) 06:49, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
No, sassenach doesn't mean asshole. It's just being used here as an insult. Joshua Lee talk softly, please 19:13, 11 December 2011 (UTC)