Focal an Lae #85
The Word of the Day in Irish

Word: taoiseach (TEE-shuhkh) [tːs′əx]

Meaning: taoiseach = chieftain; leader; prime minister


History: Old Irish “toísech and Welsh “tywysog” (prince) both come from Common Celtic *towissākos, which comes from Indo-European *to-wed-tāko- (leader, forward-looker?) from the root *weid- (to see). The earliest record of this word is the genitive form “tovisaci” (= of a leader) found in Ogam script carved on stone in roughly the sixth century AD. Other Irish words cognate with “taoiseach” are “tús” (start, beginning), “tosach” (beginning) and “tosaigh” (begin). The “tosh” in Macintosh is our word in disguise: Macintosh is from Scottish Gaelic Mac an Tòisich and means “son of the leader”.

Scottish Gaelic: tòiseach

2008-06-19 CPD