Word Origins from Left Field (WOLF)

Samhain – You’re Saying It Wrong

I’ve got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications. I thought I’d share some of this random crap with you in the form of another acronym-ific series. I give you – Word Origins from Left Field – the WOLF. Er… ignore the fact that the “from” doesn’t fit.

Since it’s Halloween I thought I’d share the word origin of Samhain – also because you’re probably saying it wrong.

Samhain is a traditional Irish/Scots/Gaelic festival celebrated around November 1 to mark the end of summer (or the beginning of winter, depending on your source). It’s the origin of our celebration of Halloween, and also the most mispronounced Gaelic word I’ve ever come across. And trust me, that’s saying something.

Although if you’re really interested there’s also a bit of back-and-forth between Scots and Irish Gaelic as to the correct way to pronounce it. Regardless, for my American readers, just FYI – it is not pronounced phonetically. Please don’t do that.

For Outlander fans, yes, this is the calendar festival when Claire passes through the stones at Craig na Dun.

For cat people, I have a little black kitty I adopted two years ago on Halloween, who is named Samhain. The boyfriend calls her Fuzzy Face, because that’s just easier for him. She is endlessly depressed by this.

3 thoughts on “Samhain – You’re Saying It Wrong

  1. This is up there with St.John for unexpected pronunciation revelations for me. I initially learned the correct pronunciation of Samhain two years ago on Halloween from a practicing male wiccan. So there is that.

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