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.

See More ...

Word of the Week[See More]


DERMAT 'forgetting, forgetfulness' occurs in the genitive in the phrase INCHINN DERMAIT 'brain of forgetfulness'. Seemingly, this referred to the part of the brain which allowed one to forget information. According to medieval Irish tradition, in the course of the 7th-century Battle of Mag Rath, Cenn Fáelad mac Ailella had his 'brain of forgetfulness' dashed out and thereafter he demonstrated great capacity in learning and literature, becoming associated in particular with Auraicept na nÉces 'The Scholars' Primer'.

View Entry »


ETTE can be the wing of a bird or the fin of a fish, but its most interesting application is in the phrase CENN FO ETTE 'head under wing'. This phrase refers to a symbol drawn in manuscripts to indicate that the words which follow are actually a continuation from the line below − i.e. these words have been tucked into an unused space so as not to waste valuable vellum just as a bird might tuck its head under its wing. The image below shows a 'cenn fo ette' from RIA MS 1225 (the Book of Uí Maine), fo. 3vb4.

View Entry »


DO-ESTA 'is lacking' was the verb used in what seems today a long-winded system of medieval Irish computation. In this system, a number was indicated by subtraction from a larger one. Thus, 'I am 58' could be 'inge acht dī óenbliadain ni thesta dom thrī fichtib', literally 'except for two years I am not lacking 60' (Arch. iii 312)!

View Entry »


SOINMIGE 'prosperity, affluence, happiness'. Like many other Irish words beginning with s-, SOINMIGE has its opposite in a word beginning with d-. DOINMIGE, then, is 'adversity, misfortune, misery'. The Old-Irish Milan Glosses neatly illustrate this pair of words in a quote which seems especially fitting as we move into 2017: cuingid techta a doinmigi hi soinmigi 'seeking to pass from adversity to prosperity' (Ml. 102c5) Happy New Year/Athbhliain Faoi Shéan 's Faoi Mhaise/Bliadhna Mhath Ùr to all our followers!

View Entry »


News & Events[See More]