Definition of galloglass in English:


(also gallowglass)


  • (in Ireland) a mercenary or member of a special class of soldiers in the service of a chieftain.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Like early gallowglasses, they were supporting Mael Sechnaill, king of Tara, against the Scandinavians of Dublin and his Irish rivals.’
    • ‘Dermot O'Conor Don, a valiant man, had, with a body of 1,500 kerns and gallowglasses, entered his service.’
    • ‘The galloglass were renowned for their valor and steadfastness in battle - and an unbending loyalty to their employers.’
    • ‘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.’


Late 15th century: from Irish gallóglach, from gall ‘foreigner’ and óglach ‘youth, servant, warrior’.