• synonyms


or og·am

[og-uh m, aw-guh m]
  1. an alphabetical script used originally for inscriptions in an archaic form of Irish, from about the 5th to the 10th centuries.
  2. any of the 20 characters of this script, each consisting of one or more strokes for consonants and of notches for vowels cut across or upon a central line on a stone or piece of wood.
  3. an inscription employing this script.
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Origin of ogham

1620–30; < Irish; MIr ogum, ogom
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ogham

Historical Examples of ogham

  • The writing was in Ogham, but at that time even boys could read Ogham.

    The Boy Who Knew What The Birds Said

    Padraic Colum

  • This was our Ogham, which the Gauls had borrowed from us, as you will see by note, p. 420.

  • This is called the Ogham alphabet which has had a very strange and curious history.

  • I raised his flag and monument, and I wrote his name in Ogham Craobh.

  • The Ogham alphabet was in use in Ireland in pre-Christian times, and many sepulchral inscriptions in it still remain.

British Dictionary definitions for ogham



  1. an ancient alphabetical writing system used by the Celts in Britain and Ireland, consisting of straight lines drawn or carved perpendicular to or at an angle to another long straight line
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Word Origin for ogham

C17: from Old Irish ogom, of uncertain origin but associated with the name Ogma, legendary inventor of this alphabet
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 ogham


also ogam, ancient Irish form of writing, 1620s, from Irish ogham, from Old Irish ogam, said to be from name of its inventor, Ogma Mac Eladan. But this appears to be from Celt. *Ogmios, perhaps from PIE *og-mo- "furrow, track," thus metaphorically "incised line." This could be the source of the name of the writing style, which looks like a series of cuts or incised lines, and the inventor's name thus might be folk etymology. Related: Oghamic.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper