From an older, obsolete verb cilt (“to rise”), or perhaps, via ablaut, from celt (“to raise, to lift, to build”). The meaning of cilt, “to rise,” is linked to that of “to appear, to originate, to be born;” the original being thus changed from “(where) one rises, is born” to “tribe.” Cognates include Lithuanian kiltìs.
cilts f (6th declension)
- tribe (group of people with a primitive type of social organization)
- pirmatnējās ciltis — primitive tribes
- klejotāju ciltis — nomadic tribes
- mednieku ciltis — hunter tribes
- sena cilts — ancient tribe
- cilts virsaitis — tribal chieftain
- a group of relatives with a common origin or ancestor, a clan, family
- viena asins... viena cilts — one blood... one clan
- sena zvejnieku cilts — an old clan/family of fishermen
- (poetic) a group of people united by common ideals, activities, goals
- cilvēku cilts — the human tribe, humankind
- ^ “cilts” in Konstantīns Karulis (1992, 2001), Latviešu Etimoloģijas Vārdnīca (Rīga: AVOTS) ISBN: 9984-700-12-7.