adjective of Celts: relating to the Celts, or their languages or cultures noun 1. Indo-European language group: an Indo-European group of languages that includes Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, and Breton and has Brythonic and Goidelic subgroups. 1.5 million. 2. ancestor of modern Celtic languages: the reconstructed language that is the ancestor of modern Celtic languages Celtic Much of English is made up of words from other languages, and it might be expected that Celtic, the group of languages spoken by the inhabitants of the British Isles before both the Roman and Anglo-Saxon invasions, would be an important early contributor. In fact the Celtic legacy in Old English is slight: lough, the Irish word for a lake that has the same ancestor as Scottish loch, is the only significant survivor. The majority of the words of Celtic origin are of later date, and relate primarily to Scottish, Irish, and Welsh culture, history, or landscape. In the cultural sphere Scottish Gaelic has contributed, for example, caber, cairn (a pile of stones), claymore (from Gaelic claidheamh mor “great sword”), and pibroch (from Gaelic piobaireachd “art of piping,” the first element of which derives from English pipe); and especially items of clothing such as trews and plaid. Some of these migrants have both Scottish and Irish origins, for example, brogue (via Irish and Scottish Gaelic br?g from Old Norse brók “leg covering”), ceilidh (via Irish céilidhe and Scottish Gaelic ceilidh from Old Irish célide “visit”), clan (via Gaelic clan “offspring” from Old Irish cland, ultimately from Latin planta “sprout”), and sporran (via Scottish Gaelic from Middle Irish). Scottish Gaelic has given the world whiskey (from usquebea, usque beatha “water of life”). Irish culture is reflected both in terms of folklore, for example, banshee and leprechaun, and in 20th-century terms relating to the modern Irish state, for example, DáilÉireann “Irish assembly,” Garda, the police force of the Republic of Ireland, and Taoiseach, the title of its prime minister. The best-known Welsh cultural migrant is probably eisteddfod, “traditional music and poetry festival.” The three main Celtic languages are well represented in terms of local geography, geology, and archaeology, but the lesser Breton and Cornish languages also make an appearance in these categories with menhir (Breton), “large single upright prehistoric stone” and vug (Cornish), “small hole in a rock or vein.” Scottish Gaelic and Irish are represented by, for example, esker “long narrow ridge of sand or gravel,” glen “long narrow valley,” and inch “small island,” as well as by loch or lough; crag is also from a Celtic language, probably Welsh craig or Gaelic creagh. From Welsh come cist “Stone Age coffin,” cromlech “circle of prehistoric standing stones” and “ancient stone burial chamber,” and cwm “cirque.” In zoology Cornish makes its contribution with the shark, porbeagle, and fish, wrasse, Scottish Gaelic with the birds capercaillie and ptarmigan, and Welsh with the corgi dog. In botany the shamrock, of course, comes from Ireland. Less obvious migrants of Celtic origin include bijou (immediately from French, but the French word was adopted from Breton bizoù “jeweled ring,” from biz “finger”); bunny, the child’s word for “rabbit,” which goes back to Gaelic bun “stump, bottom”; galore, from Irish go leor “sufficiency”; pillion, an early migrant to English (15th century), from Gaelic pillean, Irish pillin “little couch”; slew, an informal word for “large quantity or number,” which came in the mid-19th century from Irish sluagh “multitude”; slogan, originally the battle cry of a Scottish Highland clan; and trousers (from Gaelic triubhas “close-fitting shorts,” from which trews also derives).