of the time of our ancient Druids



or of the time of our ancient Druids,

Original French:  ou du temps de nos antiques Druydes,

Modern French:  ou du temps de nos antiques Druydes,

Rabelais acknowledges the ancient Druids as his ancestors.



Druid. Also Druide, Druyd. [adopted from French druide (1512 in Hatzfeld and Darmesteter, Dictionnaire général de la langue française), adaptation of Latin *druida, ? druis, found only in pleural, druidæ, druides, in Greek druidai; adopted from Old Celtic dental-stem druid-, whence Old Irish drui, magician, sorcerer, Welsh dryw (also derwydd, perhaps not the same word). As to the ulterior etymology, see Holder, Alt.-Celt. Sprachschatz]

One of an order of men among the ancient Celts of Gaul and Britain, who, according to Cæsar were priests or religious ministers and teachers, but who figure in native Irish and Welsh legend as magicians, sorcerers, soothsayers, and the like. (The English use follows the Latin sources, whence it was derived, rather than native Celtic usage.) In early use always in plural.

1563 Arthur Golding, translator The eyght bookes of C. J. Cæsar vi. (1565) 155 The Druides are occupied about holy things: they haue the dooing of publicke and priuate sacrifices, and do interprete and discusse matters of Religion.

1598 Sir Richard Barckley Discourse of the felicitie of man (1631) 167 A woman… that was a Soothsayer of them which were called Druides.

1602 History of England in The Harlerian miscellany (Malh.) II. 439 The Druyds, lifting up their hands towards heaven, filled the air with cries and curses.



Posted 23 January 2013. Modified 10 March 2018.

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