Useful Gaelic word: oir

Oirthir, Na Hearadh <em>Picture: Richard Webb</em>
Oirthir, Na Hearadh Picture: Richard Webb
oir – edge

Listen to the pronunciation guide

A nice simple word. Depending on dialect, it may pronounced as in the English word “or”, or with a slight lisp on the final r, as in the English th-sound.

The decline of the language means that many Gaelic speakers will acknowledge that they are air an oir, or “on the edge” of Scotland.

An older word for coast is oirthir, which comes from oir and tìr, which means land. Oirthir literally means “edge of land”.

One theory for the origin of the name Argyll, which is Earra-Ghàidheal in modern Gaelic, is that it comes from Oirthir Gàidheal, which means literally “edge of land of the Gaels”.

A nice expression to know is the Gaelic equivalent of “I couldn’t get a word in edgeways”, which is Cha d’ fhuair mi facal air an oir, literally “I did not get a word on the edge”.

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