Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One of an Indo-European people originally of central Europe and spreading to western Europe, the British Isles, and southeast to Galatia during pre-Roman times, especially a Briton or Gaul.
  • n. A native speaker of a modern Celtic language or a descendant of such a speaker, especially a modern Gael, Welsh person, Cornish person, or Breton.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. the ancient peoples of Western Europe, called by the Romans Celtæ
  • proper n. the modern speakers of Celtic languages

Etymologies

French Celte, sing. of Celtes, Celts, from Latin Celtae, from Greek Keltoi.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek Kελτοί (Keltoi), via Latin Celtæ (singular Celta) and French Celtes. English Celts from the 17th century. Until the mid 19th century, IPA: /sɛlt/ is the only recorded pronunciation. A consciously archaizing pronunciation IPA: /kɛlt/ is advocated in Irish and Welsh nationalism beginning in the 1850s. (Wiktionary)

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