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]


BODAR (Modern Irish BODHAR) means ‘deaf’ but the word is used also to describe an indistinct or hollow sound and it is the latter sense which lies behind BODHRÁN, the name of a traditional Irish frame drum generally made of goatskin. What seems to be the earliest mention of the BODHRÁN actually occurs in a late copy of the medical text Rosa Anglica. Here, it is claimed that one of the signs of tympanites (the swelling of the abdomen with air or gas) is that, on being struck, the belly makes a sound ‘mar bhodhrán’ (like a drum)!

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CRIDE 'heart' indicates the physical heart of a living thing, but it can be used figuratively also to refer to the middle. In the latter sense, CRIDE is often used along with words for other parts of the body. CRIDE LÁIME, for example, is 'the palm of the hand' (the phrase 'heart of the hand' is used in the same way in Hiberno-English) and CRIDE COISE, literally 'the heart of the foot', denotes the centre of the sole.

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SECAL 'rye' and TAES SECAIL 'rye dough' are mentioned often in medieval Irish texts, but the most remarkable references are not to rye as a crop or food-stuff but to people rubbing rye-dough on their skin in order to disguise themselves as lepers. One tale tells how a character named Rón Cerr had calf's blood and rye-dough (FUIL LÆIG ┐ TÁES SECAIL) rubbed on himself so that he might be mistaken for a leper. Another text says that a woman called Macha once rubbed rye dough and bog water (TÁES SECAIL ┐ ROTA) on herself to achieve the same effect.

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