Focal an Lae #18
The Word of the Day in Irish

Word: draoi (DREE)

Meaning: draoi = druid, wizard, magician

Usage: Here it is, folks: a word to conjure with. Heaven knows there has been plenty of conjuring with it over the last century, as it has been variously interpreted and appropriated. In translating “draoi” from Irish tales, “magician” or “sorcerer” would often be the most accurate equivalent. The work of a “draoi” is “draíocht” (DREE-uhxt):

History: Old Irish “druí” derives from the hypothetical Common Celtic word *dru-wid-, meaning “he who has firm knowledge”. “Dru-” can be traced back to the Indo-European root *deru- (to be firm, steadfast). “Wid-” goes back to *woid-e (he knows), from the root *weid- (to see). English cognates of *deru- are “true” and “tree”, and of *weid- are “wit” and “wise”. The English word “druid” comes not from Irish, but from the Latin version of the Gaulish word.

Scottish Gaelic: draoidh (alas, I have no idea how to convey in writing the sound of the diphthong)

2008-06-19 CPD