Cite this: eDIL s.v. pólaire or dil.ie/34451
Last Revised: 2013

n a loan-word through British or Vulgar Latin ( Ériu xxxiv 37-38 ) from Lat. pugillare, -ia, Pedersen Vgl. Gr. i 222 , Thurn. Hdb. 517 , cf. Mid.W. peullawr; meaning doubtful, apparently some article forming part of the equipment of a bishop (or priest?) in early Christian times; generally by edd. transld. writing-tablet(s), a sense borne by Lat. pugillarius and Lat. pugillares (see Du Cange, who also gives exx. of the latter word used for tubes for imbibing the sacrificial wine).

(1) dubbert Pátricc cumtach du Fíacc. idon clocc ┐ menstir ┐ bachall ┐ poolire, Thes. ii 241.17 ( Ardm. 18a1 ) = dobert P. cumdach do Ḟ. .i. clocc, meinistir, bachall, pólairi, Trip. 190.14 ( Rawl. B 512, f. 22b1 ); transld. tablets in both texts. Acc. to McCarthy, AU iv p. cvii fg. , the ` polaire' referred to here was `the native equivalent of pugillare in the sense of Paschal Table', the pl. ` polairi' being used in the sense of writing-tablets.

(2) iarndóe inna ndegaid ┐ gaile fora gúalaind . . . Benen ina ndegaidh ┐ a ḟolaire fora muin `tablets', Trip. 46.33 (< Eg. 93 f. 3b1 ); Bénen in the rear of Patrick and his company appears to Loegaire's men as a fawn and the ` polaire' as a spot (gaile = O.Ir. caile) on its shoulder. In the extract from this text in H. 3.18 the word is glossed .i. ainm do tēig liubair, i.e. a book-satchel ( ACL iii 16.9 , Trip. p. li ), but in ex. 4 below, polaire is distinguished from tiag lebuir. The corresp. passage in LB gives: ēnloeg allaid ina ndiaid ┐ én find fora gualaind .i. Binen sin ┐ polire Patraic fora muin, LB 27a43 ( Trip. 458.4 ).

(3) sood a pólaire ina etun, iss é comartha bías fair, RC xxi 386.11 ( LU 1424 = soud a pholaire, YBL 121a34 ); the sign by which Antichrist, who will come in the guise of a messenger of the Gospel, will be known; Dottin translates: une inscription qui tourne dans son front, voilà le signe qui sera sur lui (?). The sense may be `the turning of his p. to front of him', i.e. his carrying it in front of him instead of on his back, as in ex. 2; but cf. tomm liath hi certmedón a édain (of Antichrist), PH 7270 .

(4) ba bés dosum [sc. Colum C.] crossa ┐ polaire ┐ tiaga lebor ┐ aídme eclastacda do dénum, LB 32b50 , cf. Lism. L. 969 (` writing-tablets '). g p. cét polaire, LB 32b53 .

(5) doarfaidh doib iarsin pollere Brenaind . . . ro-do-slechtatur-som uile don pollaire `tablet', RC x 72.10 (polaire v.l.).

(6) polaire .i. comhardha a sign, token , O'Cl.; perh. due to misunderstanding of ex. 3 above, or a different word (< pol); cf. polaire .i. comhartha `a mark or sign, i.e. the polar constellation', P. O'C.