From Scottish Gaelic Gàidheal and Irish Gael, from Old Irish Goídel (“Irishman”), from Proto-Celtic *wēdu- (“wild”), from Proto-Indo-European *weydʰ- (“wood, wilderness”) (compare Old English wāþ (“hunt”)).. This replaced older féni (“any free man”) and fénechas (“oral tradition of native custom”).
Medieval Irish traditions, including the Lebor Gabála Érenn, trace the origin of the Goídels to an eponymous ancestor, Goídel Glas, but this is no longer held to be the ultimate etymology of the word.
Gael (plural Gaels)
- A member of an ethnic group in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man, whose language is one that is Gaelic.
- 1911 The Great Gaels of Ireland
- are the men that God made mad,
- For all their wars are merry
- and all their songs are sad.
- The Ballad of the White Horse, G.K. Chesterton
- ^ Ranko Matasović, Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Celtic, Leiden: Brill, 2009, ISBN 978-90-04-17336-1, page 408
- Gaedheal (obsolete)
From Old Irish Goídel, from the Brythonic ancestor of Welsh gwyddel (“Irishman”), from Proto-Celtic *wēdu- (“wild”), from Proto-Indo-European *weydʰ- (“wood, wilderness”) (compare Old English wāþ (“hunt”)).
- Gael, Irish person
|Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.