[ sen-uh-kee ]


, Chiefly Scot., Irish.
  1. a professional storyteller of family genealogy, history, and legend.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of sennachie1

First recorded in 1530–40; from Scots Gaelic seanachaidh, from Irish Gaelic seanachaidhe, from Old Irish senchaid, variant of senchae “historian,” equivalent to sen “old, ancient” + cūis “matter, affair”; senior ( def )

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Example Sentences

All the clansmen and servants in the same house are massacred, all save one, an old domestic and a sennachie.


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More About Sennachie

What is a sennachie?

A sennachie is a storyteller of family histories and genealogy. 

A sennachie, also spelled shanachie, was a Gaelic or Scottish-Gaelic storyteller whose role was to remember, retell, and (in modern times) write history and stories regarding families, clans, and legends. The sennachies were similar to English bards from ancient history, often recording and reciting history of the land, its families, and royalty through poetry and story, rather than through straight facts and recordings. 

Historically, sennachies served kings and lords of Ireland and Scotland. After the 1600s, many sennachies became traveling storytellers or members of communities, where they recorded stories about the surrounding communities. Sennachies of this type were well known for their legends, myths, and romance poems. 

As technology developed, the need for storytellers to preserve and share national and family history started to dwindle. Today there are far fewer sennachies, who are active within cultural groups and circles and perform at festivals. 

Example: One of my Irish ancestors was a sennachie who recorded history and stories of one of the great kings of Ireland.

Where does sennachie come from?

The first records of the term sennachie in English come from around the 1530s. It ultimately comes from the Old Irish senchae, meaning “historian.”

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What are some other forms related to sennachie?

  • shanachie (alternative spelling)

What are some synonyms for sennachie?

What are some words that share a root or word element with sennachie

What are some words that often get used in discussing sennachie?

How is sennachie used in real life?

Sennachie is an uncommon word for a professional Irish or Scottish storyteller.



Try using sennachie!

True or False?

Sennachies are elected officials in the Irish government.