For example, francophilia describes fondness for French culture, language, etc. and an anglophile is a person who is similarly fond of British culture.

Is there an analogous word to describe a person who is fond of Irish or Celtic culture or languages?


A hibernophile is a person who is fond of Irish culture, Irish language(s), or Ireland.[1] Although I can't find a direct source for this definition besides Wikipedia, the Oxford English Dictionary lists its antonym, "hibernophobia". Its root is Hibernia, the Latin name for Ireland.

Similarly terms include scotophile for Scotland and cambrophile for Wales. Wikipedia also has a list of common -phil- terms in this same vein.[2]

As far as I can tell, there is no official word to describe affinity for Celtic cultures, although I see the term "celtophile" used informally.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hibernophile
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/-phil-#National

  • 2
    I'm a bit iffy about scotophile, but the others all seem reasonable to me. Wikipedia notwithstanding, they're all effectively nonce-words (none of them are in OED, so I think that means none of them are "official"). I'd also point out that there is a word scotophil Biol. Designating a phase of a diurnal cycle during which consistent darkness is required for certain developmental processes, such as flowering in plants and diapause in insects; of or relating to such a phase. Contrasted with photophil. So I wouldn't be the only one to say scotophile is "potentially unsafe". – FumbleFingers Jan 3 '14 at 3:14
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    Google has 66 results for "Caledoniphile", 354 for "Caledoniaphile" and 347 for "Caledonophile". I don't like mixing Latin and Greek, but it seems common with "-phile" combinations. To avoid this, "Scotiophile" would probably get my vote, to differentiate it from the plants that like the dark. – Phil M Jones Jan 3 '14 at 9:18

The Latin name for Scotland is Caledonia, so I would assume, in keeping with the other Latin names (Anglo-phile, Hiberno-phile and Cambro-phile), a person with an affinity for all things Scottish would be a Caledonophile.


To describe a person "fond of ... Celtic culture or languages", two choices exist, less and more extreme:

  1. Celtophil n. a friend of the Celts and Celtic studies.

  2. Celtomaniac n. one who is crazy on Celtic matters; esp. one who pretends to derive all languages from Celtic.

["Celto-, comb. form". OED Online. September 2016. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/29542?rskey=2qqCFS&result=31&isAdvanced=false (accessed October 19, 2016).]

As shown in the citation provided by the OED, both these words are found as subentries of the main 'Celto-' combining form entry; they are not, however, listed as nonce-words. Any lexical nonceness, such as it might be, would therefore derive from the words being instances of the combining form in use.

To describe a person "fond of Irish ... culture or languages", OED Online does not list any word, from the combining 'Hiberno-' or otherwise derived. OED Online does list 'Hibernophobe' as a nonce-word:

One who has a dread of or antipathy to the Irish.

"Hibernophobe, n.". OED Online. September 2016. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/86675?rskey=qVLlMh&result=26&isAdvanced=false (accessed October 19, 2016).

In addition, and supplementing the evidence, provided by the listing of 'Hibernophobe' with no corresponding listing of 'Hibernophil', of a deep-seated if not systemic prejudice against the Irish embedded in the British language and literature, OED Online gives the following definition of 'Irishism':

1. A statement which is manifestly self-contradictory or inconsistent.

"Irishism, n.". OED Online. September 2016. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/99476?redirectedFrom=Irishism (accessed October 19, 2016).

It's true and possibly extenuating that the later use of 'Irishism' is more temperate and impartial:

2. A characteristically Irish word, phrase, or idiom. Also occas. more generally: a characteristically Irish belief, attitude, or trait.

Any recovery from the bias expressed by the first and earlier meaning evidenced by the second more impartial use, however, is undermined by another, and later, trend in the use of 'Irishism':

3. Chiefly depreciative. The fact or quality of being Irish; Irishness.

(op. cit.)

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