An Irish or Scottish monk of the 8th to 12th centuries, living as a recluse usually in a group of thirteen (on the analogy of Christ and his Apostles). The tradition ceased as the Celtic Church was brought under Roman Catholic rule.
- ‘To the north of my study lie cliff-caves reputed to have been inhabited by eighth-century Christian hermits - the Culdees (Celide: ‘Friends of God’).’
- ‘The first was comprehensively Romanized under the Canmores, yet it retained one important institution in the Céli Dé, or Culdees.’
- ‘Over the following 300 years, our separate Scottish kingdom protected many who maintained the Celtic or Culdee customs.’
Late Middle English from medieval Latin culdeus, alteration, influenced by Latin cultores Dei ‘worshippers of God’, of kelledei (plural, found in early Scottish records), from Old Irish céle dé, literally ‘companion of God’.