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Thread: Brain fart -

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    Not all Gaelic dictionaries give Cadadh and those that do translate it variously as tartan, caddis (coarse woollen fabric or yarn) etc.

    Origin of caddis seem to be c1570–80; probably from Middle French cadis, a kind of woollen cloth, from the Old Provençal Catalan cadirs, a word of obscure origin; and later Middle English cadace, cadas material for padding doublets.

    It may therefore have been brought into Gaelic through Middle English but I've always understood the origin of the Anglicisedcadadh is from the Gaelic Cath Dath (Kah Dah) - literally, War Colours.
    Writing in 1831, ("The Scottish Gael") James Logan says
    "The Highlanders sometimes made their plaids very fine, but, for general
    wear, they bestowed less pains. The cathdath, or cadas, was a
    thick sort, made for the men, and intended, as its name, battle color,
    implies, to be worn during war. Of this milled cloth, hose, trews, jacket
    and waistcoat were usually made, but the plaid and feilebeag were always
    of common tartan."

    "A collection of Gaelic proverbs and phrases" (1819 and 1882) was based on a collection due to Donald Macintosh dating from around 1785
    "Is ann de'n aon chloth an cathdath.
    The tartan is all of one stuff.
    Cath-dath = battle-colour. — Armstrong. "

    Armstrong published "A Gaelic Dictionary in two parts" in 1825
    "Cadath, s. Tartan plaid. Eididh chadath, a tartan dress.
    Cadath is probably cath dath, i. e. battle-colour"

    The word "probably" is a little ominous. It is not really clear why Highlanders would have characterised tartan as being about war at that point in history.

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