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tr*nsl*t**n of Aigha bàs

Posted: Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:47 pm
by Fearchar


Hi, I'm seeking help with tr*nsl*t**n of 'Aigha Bas' which is supposedly an ancient Scottish Gaelic war cry meaning 'battle and die'.

'Aigha Bas' only shows up during discussions of the origins of the Glaswegian slang 'ya bass' and I cant find reference to it anywhere else eg in Gaelic dictionaries.

The closest I can find with google is 'Àigheach bàs' which, I think, literally translates to 'joyous death' in English.

Is anyone familiar with this expression?

Thanks, Fearchar

Re: tr*nsl*t**n of Aigha bàs

Posted: Sat Nov 30, 2019 6:17 pm
by GunChleoc
'Aigha Bas' violates the basic spelling rule and I can't make heads or tails of it. 'Àigheach bàs' is the wrong word order and would never, ever be said like that by a Gaelic speaker.

So, sorry, no idea. We might have more luck on this if there was some context to it, but no promises.

Re: tr*nsl*t**n of Aigha bàs

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 1:59 am
by faoileag
The Aigha part could be a mistake or a change over time from the noun àigh, menaing, among other things, good fortune, or (earlier) glory. (AFB, Dwelly).

So maybe maybe originally Àigh! Bàs! - Glory! Death!

Slogan evolved from sluagh-ghairm, so lots of scope for the history of Ya bass! ;-)
sluagh-ghairm (Dwelly)

-e, -ean, sf Signal for a gathering among the Highland clans. Every clan and many districts had their own distinctive war-cry, e.g. Càrn na Cuimhne! (Braemar); Creag Ealachaidh! (Grants); Fraoch! (MacDonalds); Loch Slòigh! (MacFarlanes); Àrd Chaillich! (MacGregors); Tulach Àrd! (MacKenzies); Creag Dhubh! (MacPhersons). The war-cries &c of most of the clans will be found in Am Féillire, 1900.

Re: tr*nsl*t**n of Aigha bàs

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:04 am
by Níall Beag
... making "Àigh no bàs!" a likely origin.

Lots of purported "original Gaelic forms" are corruptions passed from non-speaker to non-speaker.

For example, the Gaelic for whisky is "uisge-beatha" -- literally "life-water", a direct tr*nsl*t**n of the Latin "acqua vitae". However, there's a persistent myth that it's "uisge-var", which isn't anything, but keeps getting repeated and reprinted by people who don't stop to check with someone who actually knows the language...

Re: tr*nsl*t**n of Aigha bàs

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:18 pm
by Fearchar
Thanks for the replies. A google of clan war cries revealed that the war cry of Clan MacNeil is 'Buaidh no bas' - Victory or death so this is probably the origin of this tale. Thanks again, Fearchar

Re: tr*nsl*t**n of Aigha bàs

Posted: Tue Dec 10, 2019 12:13 am
by akerbeltz
Careful with the spelling - it's buaidh no bàs, the grave is important, without it, buaidh no bas means "victory of a palm" (as in the inside of your hand) 8-)