Focal an Lae #32
The Word of the Day in Irish

Word: cailleach (KAL-yuhx)

Meaning: cailleach = old woman, hag, witch

Usage: Cailleach is NOT the polite way to refer to an old lady.

History: Old Irish “caillech” meant “nun” and derives from “caille” (veil), which was a very early borrowing of Latin “pallium” (veil). Early Irish did not have the sound “p” in its phonemic inventory and routinely substituted “c” for this sound in foreign words. The Latin word “pallium” comes from the Indo-European root *pel- (to cover; skin). Cognates in Engish include “pelt” and “film”.

Scottish Gaelic: cailleach (KAL-yuhx)

2008-06-19 CPD