One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A fast-paced reel or dancing song consisting of a tune of Lowland Scottish origin to which repetitive, easily memorized Gaelic lyrics have been added, sung unaccompanied.
Early 20th century. From Scottish Gaelic port-a-beul from port + a, perhaps showing the preposition a from, out of (Early Irish a, as from the same Indo-European base as classical Latin ex) + beul mouth.
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