Definition of Celt noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//kelt//
    ; NAmE NAmE//kelt//
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  1. 1a member of a race of people from western Europe who settled in ancient Britain before the Romans came Culture The influence of the Celts spread to Britain and Ireland from Austria and Switzerland in the late bronze age and iron age. Celtic culture became established in Britain and continued during the Roman occupation. In the south and east it combined with Roman culture, but remained separate in Scotland, Ireland and parts of Wales and south-west England. Celtic society was organized in tribes, each of which had a king or chief and was then divided into warriors and noblemen, druids (= learned people) such as doctors, priests and craftsmen, and ordinary people. Different forms of the Celtic language developed including Gaelic in Scotland and Ireland, and the Welsh and Cornish languages which are similar to Breton, the Celtic language of north-west France. The Celts are best known for their art, including the bronze objects, such as swords, brooches and mirrors which have been found buried with the dead. These objects had elaborate designs engraved on the metal or created with enamel (= a hard, coloured substance like glass). The Celtic tradition is also known for decorating texts from the Bible such as the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels and for its gold and silver jewellery designs from the 7th and 8th centuries. Celtic stone crosses from the 8th to 10th centuries can still be seen in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Cornwall.
  2. 2a person whose ancestors were Celts, especially one from Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Cornwall or Brittany
  3. Word Originfrom Latin Celtae (plural), from Greek Keltoi; in later use from French Celte ‘Breton’ (taken as representing the ancient Gauls).
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: Celt