Definition of quaaltagh in US English:


(also qualtagh)


Manx English
  • 1The practice or custom of going in a group from door to door at Christmas or New Year, typically making a request for food or other gifts in the form of a song. Now historical.

  • 2The first person to enter a house on New Year's Day; = "first foot". Also: the first person one meets after leaving home, especially on a special occasion.


Mid 19th century. From Manx quaaltagh, qualtagh the first person one meets after leaving the house, the first person one meets on New Year's Day, lit. ‘someone who meets or is met’ from quaail meeting, also action of meeting + -agh, suffix forming adjectives and also nouns expressing belonging, with insertion of -t-, perhaps by association with an unattested reflex of Early Irish comaltae foster-brother, companion (Irish comhalta).