Definition of Celtic in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkeltik/
Pronunciation: /ˈseltik/


Relating to the Celts or their languages, which constitute a branch of the Indo-European family and include Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Breton, Manx, Cornish, and several extinct pre-Roman languages such as Gaulish.
Example sentences
  • Maude Gonne and Yeats worked together to promote the Celtic mysteries within the order.
  • Ancient Celtic legends win out over oral traditions like these for two reasons.
  • Rather, it is inspired by Celtic belief in the importance of lakes and rivers as sources of power.


The Celtic language group. See also P-Celtic, Q-Celtic.
Example sentences
  • In particular, we can nowadays assume that the oldest Celtic was spoken in Central Europe and Northern Italy.
  • It seems likely therefore that Celtic was spoken on both sides of the Rhine during the early empire.
  • In fact, the form of old Celtic was the closest cousin to Italic, the precursor of Latin.


Although Celt and Celtic can be pronounced with either an initial k- or an initial s- sound, in standard English the normal pronunciation is with the k- sound. A notable exception is the name of Boston’s professional basketball team, the Celtics, which is always pronounced with the s- sound.



Pronunciation: /ˈkeltəˌsizəm/
Pronunciation: /ˈseltəˌsizəm/
Example sentences
  • The key to this understanding lies in the way we look at Celticism - and the best way to do this is to compare Celtic identity and the British image.
  • Interestingly, for all the tartanry and Celticism involved, the games are mainly an east of Scotland phenomenon.
  • Among the first advocates of worldbeat Celticism, the Chieftains charted a late 20th-century journey with Celtic music, thus transforming Santiago into the centre of the Celtic world.


Pronunciation: /ˈkeltəˌsist/ Pronunciation: /ˈsel-/
Example sentences
  • Modern Celticists know that the six Celtic nations have close links and parallel histories.
  • The aim of the Journal was to provide a forum for Australian Celticists, both academics and community members.
  • It is envisaged that these works will help regenerate interest in the field of historical verse among both Celticists and Medievalists in general.


Late 16th century: from Latin Celticus (from Celtae 'Celts'), or from French Celtique (from Celte 'Breton').

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Celt·ic

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.