Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wondrous Words Wednesday: St. Patrick's Day Edition

Saint Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland,
Here’s a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.

'Beannachtam na Feile Padraig!'
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wondrous Words Wednesday, hosted by Kathy from Bermudaonion's Weblog, is one of my favorite memes. This week's meme has an Irish theme.

1. taoiseach: (pronounced tee-shock) Irish word for the head of government, or prime minister. The taoiseach is appointed by the president with the consent of the lower house.

"President Obama is celebrating St. Patrick's Day by welcoming the visiting taoiseach--or prime minister--of Ireland in the Oval Office."
~D.C. Now

2. colleen: an Irish girl, a young unmarried woman

I knew a lot of girls named Colleen in NY while I was growing up, but I didn't know that colleen is the Irish word for girl until I read the novel Becoming Finola by Suzanne Strempek Shea.

3. handfasting: an ancient Celtic custom, once practiced in Ireland and Scotland, where a newly wed couple would have their hands--their wrists, actually--tied together. Today's commonly used expression "tying the knot" as a description of getting married traces back to this early custom. I found this word while reading about Irish customs online.

What wondrous new words have you encountered during recent reading?


  1. Great post! I've known Colleens before and never knew what the name meant either. I never knew the origin of tying the knot either. Thanks for participating! Happy Saint Patrick's Day to you!

  2. Interesting words! Learned something new today! :)

  3. Suko,
    I think I'll use these words for a fun quiz in a class I'm teaching tonight. Thanks. wb

  4. I knew only one of these words, so I was glad to come across these new definitions. Thanks for sharing them, Suko!

  5. Interesting words. The word handfasting rings a bell with me, but I'm not sure where I would have come across it.

  6. intersting words that I never heard of:))
    Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

    BTW, my blog is giving away free books and jewelry, please feel free to participate.

  7. Wow...I learned a lot from your post. Thanks for sharing lassie. :)

  8. Wow.. I actually like all these Irish words :) :)

  9. I have friends who just moved to Ireland. Maybe I should use these three words in an e-mail to them and impress them. :-) Thanks for sharing.

  10. Nice post Suko! I like the St.Paddys Day theme :) Interesting!


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