Mac vs. Mc

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Mar 25 11:56:18 UTC 2008

You mean "1066 and All That" is not authoritative?  A colleague has
reminded me of the following passage:

'Important Note: The Scots (originally Irish, but by now Scotch) were
at this time inhabiting Ireland, having driven the Irish (Picts) out
of Scotland; while the Picts (originally Scots) were now Irish (living
in brackets) and vice versa. It is essential to keep these
distinctions clearly in mind (and vice versa)'


At 3/25/2008 12:11 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:
>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 -
> >
>All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
>come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
>  -Sam'l Clemens
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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