On 17/06/2015 10:51 PM, Tom Smith wrote:
> Was 'mac' ever used to describe the son of a foster-father? e.g. X mac Y, or was
> a descriptive word always added to Y to show he was a foster-father?
There were separate words for foster-son and foster-father. The most common
word for foster-father (in the laws anyway) was 'aite', and for foster-son
was 'dalta', and for foster-mother 'muime'.
But, I suppose, that doesn't mean that 'mac' mightn't also have been used
if the context was clear. I don't know of an example off hand, but cf. the
use of 'ingen' ('girl', corresponding to 'mac' 'boy') in the following
extract on close-relationships from the laws (at CIH 240.31-32 = AL V 480):
mac 7 a athair, ingean 7 a mathair, dalta ocus [a] aide, ingean ocus a
buime (= muimi)
'a boy and his father, a girl and her mother, a foster-son and his
foster-father, a girl and her foster-mother'
(In Cáin Lánamnae § 2 we find 'dalta fria muimi' ' a foster-son with his
foster-mother' in a separate list of close relationships.)
But I wouldn't expect to find a phrase like X mac Y without something else
clearly indicating the fosterage relationship (and even then I would think
that would be pretty unusual.)