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.

See More ...

News & Events[See More]

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]


NENUFAR 'water-lily'. When water-lilies first came to the attention of the Irish, around the fourteenth or fifteenth century, they were known either by a version of the Latin name, NENUFAR, or by the phrase BLÁTH UISCE, meaning 'water-blossom'. More recently, of course, the preferred term has been DUILLEOG BHÁITE, which translates literally as 'drowned leaf'!

View Entry »


SOINMIGE means 'prosperity, affluence, happiness'. Like many other Irish words beginning with s-, its opposite begins with d-. DOINMIGE, then, is 'adversity, misfortune, misery'. The two occur together in a quote which seems especially fitting as we move into 2021: CUINGID TECHTA A DOINMIGI HI SOINMIGI 'seeking to pass from adversity to prosperity' (Ml. 102c5) Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh! Happy New Year!

View Entry »


FUIDLECH meant 'remainder' or 'remnant' in medieval Irish. It could refer to leftover food and it could also be used of the latter part of winter. Saint Cóemgen, founder of the monastery of Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, was acclaimed for finding berries for the sick at that time of the year and for being able to pick apples from willow trees.

View Entry »


SPIDEÓG has been in use as a word for a robin since medieval times; in Modern Irish it is usually written SPIDEOG. Amongst the earliest references are notes written by a scribe of the 15th-century manuscript known as Leabhar Breac or the Speckled Book. This scribe sometimes mentions a young robin which seems to keep him company while he works. In one note, he says that the bird has acquired its red breast; in another, he comments that the cat has run off but the robin has stayed!

View Entry »