• A social event at which there is Scottish or Irish folk music and singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling.

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Example Sentences

“The women’s club hosts a big ceilidh at the church hall every first Saturday night of the month.”

“Will you ask your brother to bring his guitar and play music at the ceilidh?”

“My parents met at a ceilidh when they were 15 years old, but they didn’t start dating until they were 30.”

Word Origin

Old Irish, late 19th century

Why this word?

For American English speakers, the word “ceilidh” is probably a pronunciation puzzle. As it comes from Old Irish, the pronunciation rules are very different, but the correct way to say the word for a raucously fun party with singing, dancing, and storytelling is “KAY-lee.” The word is traced from the Scottish Gaelic “ceilidh” and the Irish “célidhe,” back to the Old Irish word “céilide,” which means “visit,” and “céile,” which means “companion.”

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