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Word of the Day
Friday, October 12, 2018

Definitions for sennachie

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

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Citations for sennachie
... I do not think he could falsify a folk-tale if he tried. At the most he would change it as a few years' passing from sennachie to sennachie must do perforce. William Butler Yeats, "Irish Folk Tales," The National Observer, 1891
My schoolfellows like my stories well enough-better at least, on most occasions, than they did the lessons of the master; but, beyond the common ground of enjoyment which these ex-tempore compositions furnished to both the "sennachie" and his auditors, our tracts of amusement lay widely apart. Hugh Miller, My Schools and Schoolmasters; or, The Story of My Education, 1854
Origin of sennachie
There are several English spellings, e.g., shanachie, seannachie, for the exotic Irish and Scottish noun meaning “storyteller, oral historian, genealogist.” The word in Scots Gaelic is seanachaidh (seanachaidhe in Irish) meaning “historian, antiquarian, chronicler,” from sen “old, ancient” and cūis “matter, affair.” Sen is from Proto-Indo-European sen(o)- “old,” most obvious in Latin senex “old man,” senātus “senate,” and senectūs “old age.” Senos appears in Greek in the noun hénos “year,” and the adjective hénos “last year’s”; and in Baltic (Lithuanian) as sẽnas “old,” and sẽnis “old man.” Sennachie entered English in the 16th century.