Definition of Culdee in English:



  • An Irish or Scottish monk of the 8th to 12th centuries, living as a recluse usually in a group of thirteen (on the analogy of Christ and his Apostles). The tradition ceased as the Celtic Church was brought under Roman Catholic rule.

    • ‘The first was comprehensively Romanized under the Canmores, yet it retained one important institution in the Céli Dé, or Culdees.’
    • ‘Over the following 300 years, our separate Scottish kingdom protected many who maintained the Celtic or Culdee customs.’
    • ‘To the north of my study lie cliff-caves reputed to have been inhabited by eighth-century Christian hermits - the Culdees (Celide: ‘Friends of God’).’


Late Middle English: from medieval Latin culdeus, alteration, influenced by Latin cultores Dei ‘worshippers of God’, of kelledei (plural, found in early Scottish records), from Old Irish céle dé, literally ‘companion of God’.