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. The current site contains revisions to c.4000 entries and further corrections and additions will be added in the coming years.

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CRANNCHOR is probably best known from the modern Irish phrase 'An Crannchur Náisiúnta' (the National Lottery). The word is made up of CRANN 'a wooden piece' and the verbal noun COR 'throwing' and there are references in early Irish law to adjudication by means of 'casting lots'. In the poems attributed to the eight-century Irish monk Blathmac mac Con Brettan, the phrase 'fo cres crandcor' (lots were cast) is also used for the method of dividing up Christ's garments after the Crucifixion.

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ORDU 'a piece or morsel' is often found in passages on medieval Irish food − 'ordu éisc', for example, is a piece of fish. The word has a more gruesome application also, in describing human bodies hacked to bits in battle. This is how the 12th/13th-century Acallam na Senórach (Colloquy of the Ancients) reports Caílte's dispatch of a troublesome giant: doríne trí hoirdne dhe ┐ ba hí in treas ordu dhíbh a chenn 'he made three pieces of him and one of those three pieces was his head' Acall. 1920

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GLÚN is 'knee'. The expression 'do-fúargaib glún' (raises the knee) seems to describe an act of respect or homage. In English we refer to 'going down on bended knee'; in the Irish expression, the focus is on the knee which is raised. Críth Gablach, a legal text, gives us some idea of the parties involved in this kind of ritual: tuargaib espuc a glún ria ríg (a bishop raises his knee before the king).

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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 centre of something, and so can occur 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', is the sole!

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