Home » Gaelic


Episode 1537

Bug in Your Ear

Is there something inherent in English that makes it the linguistic equivalent of the Borg, dominating and consuming other languages in its path? No, not at all. The answer lies with politics and conquest rather than language itself. Plus: a new...

Slob’s Irish Origin

The English word slob, denoting “an untidy, sloppy, or lazy person,” derives from the Irish Gaelic word slab, which means “mud.” This is part of a complete episode.

Smile Belt

The only time you’ll ever see the sun’s outer atmosphere is during a full solar eclipse, when sun itself is completely covered. That hazy ring is called the corona, from the Latin word for “crown” — just like the little crown...


A listener in Cambridge, Wisconsin, says her mother, who is of Irish descent, used to tell her children to wash their hair so it wouldn’t be streely. This word derives from Irish for “unkempt,” and perhaps ultimately from a Gaelic...


If someone is gobsmacked, they’re totally surprised. The term may come from the same Gaelic root that gave us the Everlasting Gobstopper. This is part of a complete episode.

lining out

lining out  n.— «Though from central Scotland, the band have used Gaelic in their name (Dubh means black). This is a link to the claims of the similarities between Gaelic psalms and pre-blues gospel and spiritual music of black American...