Definition of Gael in English:


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  • (especially in historical contexts) a member of the Gaelic-speaking peoples inhabiting Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man.

    ‘the Romans never invaded Ireland so the Gaels remained isolated and were able to develop a distinct culture’
    • ‘Gaels and Picts were finally united under a Gaelic king’
    • ‘The non-English parts of the UK have ten million Gaels, Celts, Picts, Irish, Scots and Vikings.’
    • ‘The Gael and the Pict, the Angle and Dane, But so did the Irishman, Jew and Ukraine - They're all Scotland's story and they're all worth the same.’
    • ‘In the 9th cent., Gaels and Picts were finally united under a Gaelic king, probably of mixed parentage.’
    • ‘Some Scottish Gaels might find his handling of their language patronising but his message reaches beyond his home audience to offer us, those on this side, an insight into their history.’
    • ‘The foundation myths of Scotland state that the Scottish Gaels originated from the Dal Riata tribe in Antrim, north-east Ireland.’
    • ‘Can the dreams, the aspirations and traditions of the ancient Gael be translated into English?’
    • ‘Scots are Glaswegians and Orcadians and Gaels as well.’
    • ‘Yet the Dionysian stereotype of the Gael, juxtaposed against the Apollonian Englishmen, masks the new Puritanism that is currently sweeping through the Twenty-Six Counties.’
    • ‘They have similar numbers of fluent speakers to us, they are often squeezed in a corner of a country and are surrounded by English, just like Gaels in the north-west of Scotland.’
    • ‘America last week witnessed a new explosion in interest in Scottish culture after a group of Gaels touched a nerve in a way that Tartan Week could not.’
    • ‘The Scottish Executive expects us as Gaels to put our confidence in the body they set up to advance the cause to of the language.’
    • ‘Ireland was occupied by Celtic peoples, who came to be known as Gaels, sometime between 600 and 400 B.C.’
    • ‘This year, the Gaels plunged to 7-14 before Williams was removed for disciplinary reasons.’
    • ‘This is shocking even for me - there are good doctors everywhere, and our special commitment to the Gaels seems more important.’
    • ‘Far from being the noncoopted exemplars of native essence, the Gaels are merely thwarted would-be collaborators in Anglicization.’
    • ‘The wild Gaels were treated as ‘mere Irish’ and the Flemings in 1436 with undisguised scorn.’
    • ‘In these laments, the demise and exile of specific noble families challenge the spirit of the Gaels and their culture.’
    • ‘There was no high-minded talk about restoring the culture and the language of the Gael to the brilliance we were told was associated with it when the Book of Leinster was written 800 years previously.’
    • ‘Those of us of Scottish ancestry have a longstanding interest in Egypt, since we are supposedly descended from the mythic Scota, an exiled daughter of a Pharaoh who married Gaythelos, a Gael.’
    • ‘Such implausible idealizations, then as now, go hand in hand with nostalgia for the lost or vanishing world of the Gael as initially evoked by ethnographic prefaces.’



/ɡāl/ /ɡeɪl/


Early 17th century from Irish Gael (early Irish Goídel) and Scottish Gaelic Gaidheal, from the base of Welsh Gwyddel, in turn from the base of Welsh gŵydd ‘wild’.