Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday , a weekly meme, is kindly hosted by Bermuda Onion.

My words this week are also taken from Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly. These words I did not find in the glossary:

Clachan : A small traditional settlement.

Meitheal : (mɛhəl) is the Irish name for a work group[1], conveying the idea of 'connection with neighbour.' Traditionally, the term referred to rural agricultural groups. The practice was, and is, for a group of neighbours to come together to help each other in tasks such as preparing the hay, or gathering the harvest. Each person would help their neighbour who would in turn reciprocate.

The term is used in various writings of Irish language authors. It is used to convey the idea of a 'spirit of community' within which neighbours will respond to the needs of each other. It is used in modern parlance, for example a Meitheal could be a party where neighbours and friends are invited to help decorate a house in exchange for food and drink.[Taken from Wikipedia]

Piseog : pishogue, piseog, pishrogue n. charm, spell, superstitious practice (e.g., puttin eggs in haycocks, clothes on bushes, counting magpies, throwing salt over the shoulder, etc.); anything connected with sorcery; a tall tale, something untrue < Ir. piseog, pisreog; piseogaí n. one who practises piseogs. 'She was full of piseogs, like hanging a St. Brigid's cross near where she was doing the churning to ward off anyone stealing the butter', 'He told me not to carry anything into the house over my left shoulder in case of bad luck, but that's only an old piseog!'; Griffin, The Collegians, 104: "Mr. Enright's dairyman, Bill Noonan made a pishog, and took away our butter' (a footnote explains: "A mystic rite, by which one person is enabled to make a supernatural transfer of his neighbour's butter into his own churns. The failure and diminution of butter at different times, from the poverty of the cream, appears so unaccountable that the country people can only attribute it to witchcraft"), Joyce, U., 319.25-26: "'A pishogue, if you know what that is'". [Taken from the Hiberno-English Archive]


  1. Great words! I love how we're getting to know so many ethnic words in this meme.

    Be sure to come back and tell me what word you adopt!

  2. I agree with Lisa, these are great words! I particularly like "meitheal," though even with your pronunciation guide, I'm not sure how to say it!

  3. Your words from this book are great teasers. I definitely want to read this book. Thanks for sharing a portion of the book with us.

  4. Those are some nice words you found!

  5. I found lots of words in Galway Bay, too. I didn't discover the glossary until I was almost through with the book. Thanks for playing along.

  6. Thank goodness for the glossary. Here's mine:

  7. I had originally passed on this book, but now, after all the great reviews and these wonderful words, I regretting it---a lot!

  8. Those are some pretty obscure-sounding words (if, like me, you're not Irish). I'm surprised they weren't included in the glossary.

  9. great words, from a great language

    I am also intrigued by this book, I'll put it on my list


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