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Francine Nicholson wrote:

> > My naive understanding of the word "midchķairt" has always been
> > "mead-circuit", which seems to make good descriptive sense in
> > the phrase "tech midchķarta" = "house of the the circle/circling/
> > circuit/passing around of mead".
>
> Coincidentally, I was recently rereading Paul Lonigan's _The Druids: Priests
> of the Ancient Celts_. On p. 63, he refers to the passage in Sanas Cormaic
> that defines a/inne as cu/airt.

Here's the whole passage, which I find etymologically rather droll.
Our friend Cormac was off by just one 'n', after all: "Šinne" is
actually cognate with Latin "anus", not "annus".  ;-)

  Ainne .i. cuairt.  Ueteres .i. na sendaine enim ponebant
  an pro circum, unde dicitur annus .i. bliaduin .i. fa
  c[h]uairt bÓs an bliadain.

As far as I can tell from DIL, this entry in Sanas Cormaic is the
only instance of "[f]Šinne" supposedly meaning "circuit" (or "cycle",
since he's making a connection with the cycle of the year here).
The usual meaning of "[f]Šinne" is "ring" (which is the ultimate
origin of the word "phoney", but that's another story).

> As I see it, the meaning of cu/airt is
> circling, whether it's the radiance circling round the sun, kings circling
> round their territory, founding monks circling the area that will become
> monastic precincts, or pilgrims circling round a well. It's not merely the
> meaning of the word; it's a paradigm for how certain things are
> done--sunwise circling.

This is good circumstantial cultural evidence, I think, for
interpreting "midchķairt" as "mead-circuit".  Thanks!

Dennis