One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
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 Jesus Christ and his Apostles). The tradition ceased as the Celtic Church was brought under Roman Catholic rule.
- ‘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’).’
- ‘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.’
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’.
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