or Sa·main, sa·mh'in

  1. a festival of the ancient Celts, held around November 1 to celebrate the beginning of winter.

Origin of Samhain

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

Examples from the Web for samain

Historical Examples of samain

  • This other Samain, older and not less genuine, is revealed in parts of his collection called Evocations.

    The Book of Masks

    Remy de Gourmont

British Dictionary definitions for samain


  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

Word Origin for Samhain

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 samain



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper