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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.[1]




cilts f (6th declension)

  1. 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 virsaitistribal chieftain
  2. 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
  3. (poetic) a group of people united by common ideals, activities, goals
    cilvēku cilts — the human tribe, humankind



  1. ^ Karulis, Konstantīns (1992), “cilts”, in Latviešu Etimoloģijas Vārdnīca (in Latvian), Rīga: AVOTS, ISBN 9984-700-12-7