eDIL - Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language

The electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language (eDIL) is a digital dictionary of medieval Irish. It is based on the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of the Irish Language based mainly on Old and Middle Irish materials (1913-1976) which covers the period c.700-c.1700 but incorporates corrections and additions to thousands of entries.

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Citing the Dictionary

There are two ways of citing the Dictionary. You can cite using the traditional method, for example, eDIL s.v. focal, or you can use the permanent URL displayed on the left-hand side of the page under the headword, for example, dil.ie/2345. Although the spelling of headwords may change in the light on new knowledge, these numbers will always remain the same and this link will always take you to the same entry.

In your bibliography, please cite as:

eDIL 2019: An Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language, based on the Contributions to a Dictionary of the Irish Language (Dublin: Royal Irish Academy, 1913-1976) (www.dil.ie 2019). Accessed on [access date].

Word of the Week[See More]


GABUL was used in early Irish for any structure which divided into two or more prongs or projecting parts − like a fork, the thighs of the body or a gibbet. It combined with RIND 'a point' to give us GABULRIND 'a pair of compasses'. Compasses were clearly used in early Ireland to draw accurate circles in manuscripts. The effect can be seen in the halo surrounding the head of an eagle in the 8th-century Book of Dimma (TCD MS 59) which was produced in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.

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NENUFAR 'water-lily'. When water-lilies first came to the attention of the Irish, around the fourteenth or fifteenth century, they were known either by a version of the Latin name, NENUFAR, or by the phrase BLÁTH UISCE, meaning 'water-blossom'. More recently, of course, the preferred term has been DUILLEOG BHÁITE, which translates literally as 'drowned leaf'!

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SOINMIGE means 'prosperity, affluence, happiness'. Like many other Irish words beginning with s-, its opposite begins with d-. DOINMIGE, then, is 'adversity, misfortune, misery'. The two occur together in a quote which seems especially fitting as we move into 2021: CUINGID TECHTA A DOINMIGI HI SOINMIGI 'seeking to pass from adversity to prosperity' (Ml. 102c5) Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh! Happy New Year!

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FUIDLECH meant 'remainder' or 'remnant' in medieval Irish. It could refer to leftover food and it could also be used of the latter part of winter. Saint Cóemgen, founder of the monastery of Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, was acclaimed for finding berries for the sick at that time of the year and for being able to pick apples from willow trees.

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