The term SASANACH is a Scottish and Irish Gaelic term for the name Saxon. It is not a derogatory term. My English wife has the term Sasana listed against her place of birth in her Irish passport.
Who are you kidding... It is totally used as a derogatory phrase when spoken in Ireland
The word Sasanach when used by Irish people IS a derogatory term--184.108.40.206 09:18, 24 November 2007 (UTC)
In Ireland, we use the word Sasana for England, and the word Sasanach for and English person... but it can also be used with a definitive tone that is not only derogatory, more than that, it often invokes the hatred the Irish people have of English imperialism and our shared history.
- update*. Sasanach is Gaelic for Saxon Born .
It applies only to English and has no relation to Lowlanders...
And unfortunately applies to anyone that doesn't live in the Highlands. Irish Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic are very similair but since dialect has evolved over the centuries the original meaning of the word has been forgotten. It was the term for the Saxon invaders who all came from the 'Lowlands'. Nowadays most dictionaries will say that Sasanach means Englishman and the Scots do tend to use it in jest to refer to the English but usually only by people from the Lowlands of Scotland who have never spoken Gaelic in their lives and therefore have no idea that they are actually refering to themselves as well. I've never heard Highlanders use the phrase. How the Irish use it, I have no idea.
In Ireland it is considered a derogatory term for the English.When used by the Irish it isn't a case of them not realising that it refers to themselves because it does not refer to themselves. In Ireland the term originated as a term for the Saxons, who did not actually invade Ireland from the South , the lowlands or from anywhere else. The Normans invaded Ireland after having invaded England and after having subjugated the Saxons. A second wave of Norman invasion came from the Anglo Normans, descendents of the Normans who had originally invaded England. Ireland was not previously invaded by the Angles, Saxons or other Germanic tribes but had been subjected to Viking raids and to small territorial invasions by Vikings who established settlements in Dublin, Wexford etc.
As a gaelic speaking Highlander, I can confirm that we use the word too. Its a direct translation of "Englishman", and its use has derogatory undertones without actually being derogatory!
220.127.116.11 18:47, 19 July 2012 (UTC) Speaking as a Scottish person from the 'Borders' (aka not far from the Scottish / English border, but on the Scottish side), I can say that the term sasanach was used to to mean an English person; it was a curt distinction.
It is one of those words that definitely falls into the category of 'it's not what you say, but how you say it ...'