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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GAEL, n. A Highlander. Orig. one of the Celtic-speaking inhabitants of Scotland. Now mainly liter. or hist. [ge:l]Sc. 1753 W. Maitland Hist. Edb. 3:
As is apparent by the Name of the said Wall, and our Highlanders still calling themselves Gael.
Sc. 1800 Highl. Soc. Report on Ossian (1805) 95:
The Gaelic character, which was anciently used by the Scotch and Irish Gaels.
Sc. 1828 Scott F.M. Perth xxvii.:
An appeal to the hospitality of the wildest Gael was never unsuccessful.
Sc. 1923 Trans. Gael. Soc. Inv. XXXI. 245:
Those Gaels who have held prominent positions in Edinburgh, as judges, soldiers, statesmen, professors, authors, and divines.
Sc. 1928 D. Coghill Elusive Gael 17:
To-day it must be admitted that the term “Gael” has always connoted in the public mind a “Celtic Scotsman,” and no one else.

Deriv. Gaeldom, The (Gaelic-speaking) Highlands and Islands.Hebr 1983 Norman Malcolm Macdonald Calum Tod 91:
..., but this may not be the place to speculate on the reasons for the high incidence of the illness [alcoholism] of Gaeldom, ...
Sc. 1988 Times 28 Aug :
Being a Highlander, he [Sir Fitzroy Maclean] understands Highland society, why the clan followed Charles into an expedition in which almost no chief believed, and how the rising turned into disaster for Gaeldom.
Sc. 1990 Times 21 Jan :
... a declared champion of Gaeldom and co-founder of Edinburgh university's school of Scottish studies, dismissed Inverness's claim to be 'capital of the Highlands' conferring that honour on Oban.
Sc. 1992 Herald 4 Sep 7:
To their basic manifesto of forming a musical bond between Gaeldom and Kinshasa have been added 57 varieties of rock influences, from the Beatles to David Byrne, plus a Gospelish tinge here, a jazzy keyboard lick there.
Sc. 1994 Scotsman 11 Oct :
It was a brilliant and subtle idea to create a film that would, obliquely, leave you thinking tartan Gaeldom is for wallies and that the purposeful Protestantism was the way forward.
Sc. 1997 Daily Record 10 May 20:
Maybe he was angry about the other big announcement that rocked Gaeldom this week - the news that Runrig are set to chuck it.
Sc. 2000 Dunoon Observer & Argyllshire Standard 1 Apr 19/6:
Gaeldom is a small world and it needs as much unity as it can get.

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"Gael n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Feb 2024 <>



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