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Samhain

or Sa·main, sa·mh'in

[sah-win]
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noun
  1. a festival of the ancient Celts, held around November 1 to celebrate the beginning of winter.
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Origin of Samhain

1885–90; < Irish; Old Irish samain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for samhain

Historical Examples

  • Ireland has a literature of Hallowe'en, or "Samhain," as it used to be called.

    The Book of Hallowe'en

    Ruth Edna Kelley

  • It was on the week before Samhain that the Fomor landed upon Ireland.

    The Book of Hallowe'en

    Ruth Edna Kelley

  • Child: It is a pity daddy to be away at the fair on a Samhain night.

    Seven Short Plays

    Lady Gregory

  • Anyway, I was driven out a Samhain day like this, because of some things that were said against me.

    Seven Short Plays

    Lady Gregory

  • Mother: I must make my feast all the same, for Samhain night is more to me than to any other one.

    Seven Short Plays

    Lady Gregory


British Dictionary definitions for samhain

Samhain

noun
  1. an ancient Celtic festival held on Nov 1 to mark the beginning of winter and the beginning of a new year. It is also celebrated by modern pagans
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Word Origin

from Irish, from Old Irish samain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for samhain

Samhain

n.

1888, from Irish samhain (Gaelic samhuinn), from Old Irish samain, literally "summer's end," from Old Irish sam "summer" (see summer (n.1)) + fuin "end." Nov. 1, the Celtic festival of the start of winter and of the new year.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper