Mac vs. Mc

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 25 04:11:04 UTC 2008

Supposedly, it is true. And it could be even worse than that. As I
recall, a certain General M'Arthur was involved in WWII. And Welsh
_map_, cognate with Gaelic _macc_, became _p_ all by itself: map Huwyl
becoming _Powell_ without the aid of the English Army.

In any case, it's just a spelling thing. E.g., "Taggart" was once _mac
an tSagart_, "son of the Priest," a name that antedates the
romanization of the Celtic Catholic Church of Ireland. And it didn't
stop at that level: "McNab" was once _mac an Abb_, "son of the Abbot."


On Mon, Mar 24, 2008 at 9:33 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>  Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>  Subject:      Mac vs. Mc
>  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  Is there any truth to the assertion that in personal names "Mac" is
>  Scottish, while "Mc" is Irish?
>  Does the answer depend on the period -- e.g., before the 19th century
>  vs. later?
>  Joel
>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>  The American Dialect Society -

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