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Galla Glass, kerne, gillie, and selkie/silkie

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  • Galla Glass, kerne, gillie, and selkie/silkie

    Do the terms Galla Glass, kerne, gillie and selkie/silkie have any figurative meanings?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Mavericker

    Do the terms Galla Glass, kerne, gillie and selkie/silkie have any figurative meanings?


    The term Gallowglass not Galla Glass was applied to mercenaries from the highlands and islands several hundred years ago,gillie is the term used for a gamekeeper in Scotland and is of Gaelic not Scots origin.
    "Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

    - Martin Luther King Jr.

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    • #3
      selkies are mythical creatures... a sort of Orkney mermaid. I think its something like a seal which can come ashore and take the form of a woman.
      'all our plans were made on streets the winter paved, as streetlamp lucozade orange fell...'

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      • #4
        actually all terms ought to be Gaelic. A gillie is a lad, galloglass comes from gallóglaigh, kerne is of Irish origin.
        Scot in exile, don't ask.

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        • #5
          Someone told me at a dcitionary forum, I could refer to a person on the stret in Scotland or Ireland as a "kerne", since it means "warring man, or fighting peasant".

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lithgae
            selkies are mythical creatures... a sort of Orkney mermaid. I think its something like a seal which can come ashore and take the form of a woman.
            Is it anything like a banshee?

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            • #7
              Very alike, except Selkies tend not to be very old women (or even hags) and don't keen on the eve of the death of some clan member.

              That and the fact that Banshee's tend to stay away from water and as far as I am aware have no Seals knocking about in the family tree.

              But apart from the above they are nearly identical.

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              • #8
                Can I refer to a menacing woman as a "selkie/silkie"?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mavericker
                  Can I refer to a menacing woman as a "selkie/silkie"?

                  No. Well, silkies/selkies are NOT known for being menacing in the folklore, are they?

                  And your hypothetical menacing woman is not a seal.

                  http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/selkiefolk/

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Celyn
                    No. Well, silkies/selkies are NOT known for being menacing in the folklore, are they?

                    And your hypothetical menacing woman is not a seal.

                    http://www.orkneyjar.com/folklore/selkiefolk/
                    Well, can I refer a woman as a "selkie/silkie" in any figuaritive sense?

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                    • #11
                      No-one can stop you from doing so.

                      It's unlikely that anyone would undertand what you "meant", though, if you were choosing to use the word in a sense unique to yourself.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mavericker
                        Well, can I refer a woman as a "selkie/silkie" in any figuaritive sense?
                        Only if she changes from a seal to a woman or vice versa. A woman could remind you of a silkie or make you think of a silkie - but she wouldn't be one. (Unless of course, she was....)

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                        • #13
                          The kerne or woodkerne were the Irish,who as the name suggests,waited in the woods,or came from the woods to attack the Planters.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mavericker
                            Someone told me at a dcitionary forum, I could refer to a person on the stret in Scotland or Ireland as a "kerne", since it means "warring man, or fighting peasant".
                            They were winding you up.
                            'all our plans were made on streets the winter paved, as streetlamp lucozade orange fell...'

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                            • #15
                              Oxford English Dictionary etymology and meaning, the link may be inaccessable from outside the UK:

                              http://bbcwords.oed.com/cgi/entry/50...max_to_show=10

                              Cateran, Ceathairne, Kerne:

                              [Lowland Sc. catherein, kettrin, appears to represent Gael. ceathairne collective ‘peasantry’, whence ceathairneach ‘sturdy fellow, freebooter’ (McAlpine); Cormac has Ir. ceithern, which O'Donovan renders ‘band of soldiers’, thence ceithernach ‘one of a band’.
                              The th has long been mute in Celtic, and the Ir. ceithern is phonetically represented by Eng. KERN. It is not easy to account for the preservation of the dental in Lowland Sc., unless perh. through the intermediation of med.L. as in Bower's cateranos. (Stokes refers ceithern to OIr. *keitern, OCelt. keterna, a fem. {amac}-stem.)]

                              1. {dag}a. prop. a collective n. Common people of the Highlands in a troop or band, fighting men (obs.). Hence, b. One of a Highland band; a Highland irregular fighting man, reiver, or marauder.
                              1371-90 Stat. 12 Robt. II (Jam.), Of Ketharines or Sorneris. They quha travells as ketharans..etand the ****rie(country :-) ) and..takand their gudis be force and violence. [c1430 BOWER Contn. Fordun an. 1396 (Jam.) Per duos pestiferos cateranos et eorum sequaces.] c1505 DUNBAR Sir T. Norray 13 Full many catherein hes he cheist..Amang thai dully glennis. 15.. Scot. Field in Furniv. Percy Folio I. 219 There came at his commandement: ketherinckes full many from Orkney that Ile. 1768 ROSS Helenore 120 (Jam.) Ask yon highland kettrin what they mean. 1816 SCOTT Old Mort. vi, Grahame of Montrose, and his Highland caterans. 1832 Blackw. Mag. 65/2 These overgrown proprietors with their armies of catherans. 1887 DUKE OF ARGYLL Scotl. as it Was II. 6 Plundering Caterans always ready to flock to those who promised booty.

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