One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in Ireland) a mercenary or member of a special class of soldiers in the service of a chieftain.
- ‘Like early gallowglasses, they were supporting Mael Sechnaill, king of Tara, against the Scandinavians of Dublin and his Irish rivals.’
- ‘For over three centuries, up to the final defeat of the seventeenth century, they fought as gallowglasses in the struggles of Ulster, mainly on behalf of the O'Donnells.’
- ‘Dermot O'Conor Don, a valiant man, had, with a body of 1,500 kerns and gallowglasses, entered his service.’
- ‘Composition involved, in Gaelic parts, the commutation of the chief's right to take up supplies for his household and quarter his kerne and galloglass on his subjects for defence.’
- ‘The galloglass were renowned for their valor and steadfastness in battle - and an unbending loyalty to their employers.’
Late 15th century: from Irish gallóglach, from gall ‘foreigner’ and óglach ‘youth, servant, warrior’.
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