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]


DÍLECHTAE (Modern Irish DÍLLEACHTA) was a common medieval word for ‘an orphan’. In Early Modern Irish medical texts, it refers to the centre of the eye. This is in keeping with the use of Latin ‘pupilla’ and English ‘pupil’ to mean both ‘orphan’ and ‘the centre of the eye’, the latter sense deriving from the tiny image of ourselves – the orphan – that is reflected in the eye of the person looking at us.

View Entry »


DEBUITH ‘a difference of opinion’ occurs on several occasions in medieval Irish literature as part of what seems to be a proverbial saying. To express the idea that a dispute has no long-term implications for the relationship between the parties involved, Irish poets and story-tellers say: IS DEABUIDH MEIC REA MHÁTHAIR ‘it is [just] the disagreement of a son with his mother’ (Ériu iv 216 § 18)

View Entry »


CÍN ‘booklet, book’ forms part of the title of a now-lost medieval manscript, Cín Dromma Snechtai, which is associated with Drumsnaght, Co. Monaghan. It appears also in the phrase CÍN LAE 'diary', literally ‘book of the day’, and an account of the Eleven Years' War written by Tarlach Ó Mealláin in the 1640s is known today as Cín Lae Uí Mhealláin 'Ó Mealláin's Diary'. An alternative term, DIALANN (from DIA 'day'), is found in ‘Dialann Dúradáin’, the title under which the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series was published in Irish in 2016!

View Entry »


BOLG has many meanings. It can be a bag, a belly, a bubble, a blister or a berry. Actually, there are probably at least two separate words, but sometimes it is difficult to know which or what is intended. In an Old Irish text, the phrase CENN I MBOLG is used to sum up the condition of man after Creation when it was not known what the world looked like or who made it. Given that the phrase obviously refers to a state of ignorance, it seems to mean roughly ‘head in a bag’!

View Entry »


News & Events[See More]