noun (plural selkies)Scottish
- A young girl sent to live on the windswept Irish coastline becomes besotted with the legend of the selkies - half human/half seal creatures.
- The travellers conjured up a world of fairies, selkies and giants to give their kids a bit of moral guidance, not to mention a little fun.
- Long, long ago the people in Shetland and Orkney called them the seal people, the selkies, and even now, in this year of our Lady one thousand and ten, you still sometimes heard the ancient name.
seal from Old English:
Rather than signing their name, people formerly stamped a personal seal in wax on a completed letter or other document. The expressions put the seal on, ‘to put the finishing touch to something’, and set your seal to, ‘to mark something with your own distinctive character’, both derive from this. To seal something off reflects the use of seals to check that something has not been opened or disturbed. In these and related uses, seal goes back to Latin sigillum ‘small picture’, from signum ‘a sign’, the source of design (late 16th century), designate (mid 17th century), ensign (Late Middle English), insignia (mid 17th century), sign (Middle English), signal (Late Middle English), scarlet, and numerous other English words. This seal dates from Middle English. The name of the animal seal derives from Old English seolh, the source also of the selkie or silkie (mid 16th century), the mysterious seal woman of folklore.
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