kelpie

1
[kel-pee]

noun

(in Scottish legends) a water spirit, usually having the form of a horse, reputed to cause drownings or to warn those in danger of drowning.

Origin of kelpie

1
First recorded in 1740–50; origin uncertain

kelpie

2
[kel-pee]

noun

Origin of kelpie

2
First recorded in 1905–10
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


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Historical Examples of kelpie


British Dictionary definitions for kelpie

kelpie

1

kelpy

noun plural -pies

an Australian breed of sheepdog, originally developed from Scottish collies, having a smooth coat of various colours and erect ears

Word Origin for kelpie

named after a particular specimen of the breed, c. 1870

kelpie

2

noun

(in Scottish folklore) a water spirit in the form of a horse that drowned its riders

Word Origin for kelpie

C18: probably related to Scottish Gaelic cailpeach heifer, of obscure origin
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 kelpie
n.

1747, Scottish, of unknown origin, perhaps related to Gaelic colpach "heifer, steer, colt;" colpa "cow, horse." The Lowland name of a demon in the shape of a horse that was reputed to haunt lakes and rivers and to delight in causing drownings. But unlike its equivalents in Danish (nøkken) and Icelandic (nykur), it occasionally was benevolent, especially to millers by keeping their streams running.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper