Sorry, some of the search forms are only available in Modern Irish at present (to save us having to maintain multiple versions of software which is under development). However, if you hover over a term, you should find in many cases that your browser will display a help text in English. If you read the text below and experiment, you should find it easy to guess your way around. Also see the vocabulary list at the bottom below.

Search strategies for In Dúil Bélrai English - Old-Irish glossary

Wildcard patterns

“?” represents a single letter (any letter)
“*” represents a string of letters (any letters)

For example, to search for words ending in “acht”, write


To search for words starting with “mor” and ending in “d”, write:


And to search for all two-letter words, write:


If you don't find a word, it is well worth trying again with ‘*’ added. For example, searching for “loaf*” finds:

loaf (small)  aircháelán
loaf (small)srubán

Tickboxes on the search form provide another way of placing a wildcard, “*”, before or after the search word.

Old-Irish spelling

The spelling used is that of the headword in the Dictionary of the Irish Language.

Learn to outsmart the vagaries of Old-Irish spelling. If you do not find your word with “áe”, try: ai, oi, oe, with and without accents. Here is a list of examples, most of them supplied by David Stifter:

ae :: ai, oi, oe, aei, ao, aoi [and vice-versa]

é :: éi, éa

-nd :: -nn

-th :: -d

f (lenited) :: 0 (e.g. nemfírinnech = nemírinnech)

éo :: éu (e.g. indéoin, indéuin)

°iCe, °iCi :: °Ce, °Ci (e.g. sétche, séitche)

°CaiC :: °CiC (e.g. Notlaic, Notlic)

tch :: tg (e.g. séitge, séitche)

euch :: eoch :: ech (e.g. Euchu, Eochu, Echu)

ld :: ll (e.g. acaldam, acallam)

mb :: mm (camb, camm)

m :: mm (cam)

Do not forget, when you are dealing with later MSS, that:

d, b, g may stand for t, p, c;
dh, bh, gh for d, b, g;
cc, tt at the beginning may stand for nasalised c, t /g, d/;
lenition may not be written in c, t = ch, th;

English spelling

British rather than US spelling is used - i.e. “plough, defence, labour” instead of “plow, defense, labor”, etc.

Grammatical abbreviations:

pp.prepositional pronoun

Further information on Old Irish Words

This glossary is primarily intended as an English-language access to Old Irish. Please refer to the Dictionary of the Irish Language and/or to the Lexique étymologique de l'irlandais ancien (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies) for detailed description and analysis of the words contained herein.

Irish vocabulary list

A few words to help you find your way round the search forms:

2009-02-16 CPD