Main meanings of celt in English

: celt1Celt2


Pronunciation /sɛlt/

Translate celt into Spanish


  • A prehistoric stone or metal implement with a bevelled cutting edge, probably used as a tool or weapon.

    ‘Evidence potentially contradicting this interpretation consists of scapula hoes and celts, tools normally associated with swidden horticulture.’
    • ‘There are three chipped stone celts of Smoky Hill jasper in the collection and one of a very well cemented, fine-grained quartzite.’
    • ‘Their surfaces betray hints of carving: the carved supports may once have presented imagery of personified, sacred stones, probably supernaturally charged greenstone celts.’
    • ‘Although no diagnostic Late Archaic artifacts were recovered, the Early Woodland component of the site is reflected by the presence of ovate-stemmed points, a granitic celt, and Adena thick potsherds.’
    • ‘The well-known Jade Group of objects, comprising sixteen human figure statuettes and six celts, were found arranged in a kind of circular gathering.’


Early 18th century from medieval Latin celtis ‘chisel’.

Main meanings of Celt in English

: celt1Celt2


Pronunciation /kɛlt/ /sɛlt/

Translate Celt into Spanish


  • 1A member of a group of peoples inhabiting much of Europe and Asia Minor in pre-Roman times. Their culture developed in the late Bronze Age around the upper Danube, and reached its height in the La Tène culture (5th to 1st centuries BC) before being overrun by the Romans and various Germanic peoples.

    ‘The Urnfield cultures were a group of central European Bronze Age cultures associated with the Celts.’
    • ‘Similarly, the racial character of the Neolithic and Bronze Age inhabitants of England is uncertain, although we do know that by the Roman era many were Celts.’
    • ‘These are typical of the deep belief of both Celts and Romans that every place had its own deity.’
    • ‘It is impossible to reconstruct fully the pagan beliefs and practices of either Celts or Germans as these were not written down.’
    • ‘It was once inhabited by the Celts, a tribe that extended into central Europe about 1200 B.C.’
    • ‘The Celts were followed by Romans and Germanic and Slavic tribes.’
    • ‘These works give an account of the Roman civil wars and the contacts by the Greeks and the Romans with other peoples such as the Celts, Germans, and peoples of Spain and Gaul.’
    • ‘Its original inhabitants were Iberians and Celts who were later conquered by the Romans and the Moors.’
    • ‘Although the ancient Celts flourished across Europe, it is in Ireland where their traditions have been most preserved.’
    • ‘It was through trade with the Celts that the Romans discovered the ‘technology’ to cure the hams which are today such a staple of Italian cooking.’
    • ‘The Romans found the local Celts already ‘taking the waters’ and paying their respects to the local goddess, Sul.’
    • ‘Later migrations from northern and eastern Europe brought the Brythonic Celts and Nordic tribes to the area.’
    • ‘Meanwhile in Ireland a Welsh missionary named Patrick was winding up his life of service in establishing Christianity among the pagan Celts.’
    • ‘I can well imagine the defending Celts surrendering quickly after seeing the force and accuracy of the Roman artillery.’
    • ‘He is famous for his decisive victory over the Celts at the battle of Elephants, penning them back to a small area in the Halys region.’
    • ‘We mention finally that the people closest related to the Celts, linguistically and culturally, were the Indo-European Italics.’
    • ‘The first known inhabitants were the Illyrians, followed by the Celts in the fourth century, and the Romans a century after that.’
    • ‘In Roman times, the inhabitants of most of Britain were Celts.’
    • ‘Each religion has a cathedral named for Saint Patrick, a fifth century missionary who brought Christianity to the Celts of the island.’
    • ‘The Celts who conquered Scotland originally came from Europe, which would back our claim to have had the kilt first.’
    1. 1.1A native of any of the modern nations or regions in which Celtic languages are (or were until recently) spoken; a person of Irish, Highland Scottish, Manx, Welsh, or Cornish descent.
      ‘In the end, James concedes that modern Celts exist as a legitimate ethnic group on the grounds that they are self-naming and have a shared sense of difference and history.’
      • ‘On Wednesday we'll be getting our own back when several thousand Celts descend on the place for the make or break game against Rosenborg.’
      • ‘Kenny Dalglish's Celtic might be out of the Tennents Scottish Cup, trailing Rangers in the league and actively seeking a new coach, but what price a Celt landing the Martell Grand National at Aintree.’
      • ‘He thus became the second Celt to win a European trophy for an English club in 27 hours following Simon Keogh's late intervention for Harlequins the day before in the Parker Pen Challenge Cup.’
      • ‘He was born a Celt and died a Celt, but he moved to northern Africa after his first death and spent almost his entire life there after that.’


From Latin Celtae (plural), from Greek Keltoi; in later use from French Celte ‘Breton’ (taken as representing the ancient Gauls).