Useful Gaelic word: cèilidh

The Highland Wedding <em>Picture: David Allan, 1744–96</em>
The Highland Wedding Picture: David Allan, 1744–96
cèilidh – party/gathering

Listen to the pronunciation guide

This is one of the Gaelic words which has come into English. In older books it is spelt céilidh, with an acute accent, and this older spelling is used often among Gaels in Canada.

In Gaelic, cèilidh encompasses more meanings than in English. It can mean anything from a “traditional” kilts and Dashing White Sergeant event, to a few friends singing a few songs, to a chat over a cup of tea.

Television is often blamed for killing off old-style cèilidhs, which would involve most people in a village gathering to hear songs and stories. In addition to being a noun, cèilidh is also used as a verb. Chaidh mi a chèilidh oirre means “I went to visit her”.

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