Backtalk

At the start of the week, several former google executives launched a new search engine.

The website is called Cuil – ‘an old Irish word for knowledge’, according to its founders.

Cuil is – among other things – the Irish for eagerness, fearsomeness, a gnat, a horsefly, a beetle, a bluebottle, and cúil (the addition of a fada makes it a different word) can mean a rear end, a reserve or backup, a goal, a corner, and an arse.

The one thing cuil isn’t, according to the four dictionaries I checked, is an old Irish word for knowledge.

According to Wiki, the Irish ancestry of one of the founders ‘sparked the name Cuil, which the company states is taken from a series of Celtic folklore stories involving a character called Finn McCuill. The company says that Cuil is Irish (Gaelic) for knowledge and hazel.’

Right. His name is spelled Fionn Mac Cumhaill. Cumall means ‘Champion’, though Fionn’s name may also indicate lowly origins, since cumal means slave.

Maybe the idea that Cuil mean knowledge comes from a garbled memory of the legend of the Salmon of Knowledge. This legend also mentions hazel, but the word for hazel is coll.

Cuil is definitely arse.

Published by Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and tweeter, yet still finds himself underemployed. Go figure.