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Alternative forms[edit]


From Old Irish senchas, senchus (old tales, ancient history, tradition; genealogy; traditional law), from senchae (custodian of tradition, historian) + -as, -us; senchae is from *seno-kʷoysyos (literally old witness), from Proto-Celtic *senos (old) (from Proto-Indo-European *sénos), plus a derivative of *kʷiseti (to see); see ad·cí for more. Synchronically analyzable as seancha (genealogist, historigrapher) +‎ -as



seanchas m (genitive singular seanchais or seanchasa)

  1. the body of historical, genealogical, etc., information that has been handed down by tradition
    1. (literary) history, lore, ancient tale (such as a fairy tale), account
      • 1919, First Dáil of Ireland, Message to the Free Nations of the World:
        I gcúrsáibh náisiúntachta, tá deighilt ó bhonn idir Éire agus Sacsa i dtaoibh cineadh is teangan, béas is nós is seanchus.
        Nationally, the race, the language, the customs and traditions of Ireland are radically distinct from the English.
      • 1920, Adam Mickiewicz, translated by Liam Ó Rinn, Leabhar na Polainne (translation of Księgi narodu polskiego i pielgrzymstwa polskiego), p. 93:
        Siniad Leabhar an Náisiúin Pholannaig agus Leabhar na nOilithreach bPolannach, leabhair nár ceapadh, ach a cnósadh a’ leabhraibh seanchuis na Polainne, []
        Those are the Book of the Polish Nation and the Book of the Polish Pilgrims, books that were not made up, but collected from the books of Polish lore, []
    2. (literary) ancient law
    3. pedigree
  2. (act of) storytelling, gossiping; chatting, inquiring about another's health, etc.
    • 1906, “Scéal Ghiolla na gCochall Craicionn”, Téacsanna ó na Gleannta, printed in E. C. Quiggin, A Dialect of Donegal, p. 231:
      Labhair sí leis ⁊ ní robh sé fonnmhar seanchas(c) air bith do dheánadh.
      She spoke to him but he was not willing to do any chatting.
    • 1929, Tomás Ó Criomhthain, An t-Oileánach, p. 65:
      Ní h-í an chomhairle sin óm’ mháthair is mó do mhaoluigh me ach bhíos ana-thugtha do sheanchas Thomáis agus thógas de rogha bheith ag éisteacht leis.
      It wasn’t this advice from my mother that moderated me the most, but I was very attached to Tomás’s storytelling, and I made the choice to listen to him.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Eclipsis
seanchas sheanchas
after an, tseanchas
not applicable
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.


Scottish Gaelic[edit]


From Old Irish senchas, senchus (old tales, ancient history, tradition; genealogy; traditional law).


seanchas m (genitive singular seanchais, plural seanchasan)

  1. lore
  2. chat, talk, gossip

Usage notes[edit]

  • Can be used as a verbal noun:
    Bha iad a' seanchas ri chèile.They were talking to each other.