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Bodach

Bodach

Etymology – Scottish & Irish – “a boorish old man”, Modern Scottish Gaelic – “old man”

In the Scottish Gaelic language, the word breaks down to “bod”, meaning “penis” and its suffix “’ –ach”, that translates to mean “someone who has a penis.”

Plural: Bodaich

Pronunciation: ˈbōdək, ˈbäd-

Historically, the word and name Bodach comes from the Scottish Gaelic term for an “old man” referring to a mature person. It had once been used as a derogatory term to refer to peasants and farmers (bothach) by the warrior class of the Scots. In more modern times, the term is used more affectionately then its former derogatory intent.

In Irish, the word bodach also means a churl or clown, referring to someone who was an old or churlish person, serf or peasant. There are some children’s stories where the word bodach is translated as curmudgeon or the name Nod is used in its place.

In time, the word bodach found its way into the English language by the British, who used the word to refer to a mythological being or spirit much like a goblin, bugbear or bogeyman. Here the bodaich is used as a cautionary story for keeping misbehaving children in line. Behave or else the bodach will come down the chimney to take you away!

There are certain regions of Wales and Scotland where the term bodach is used for a type of imp or fairy. Frequently, this is one of the more mischievous, shape-shifting types.

Omen Of Death

In Walter Scott’s Waverley (1814), a much more formidable form of the bodach as the bodach glas (the Dark Grey Man) is a harbinger of death.

Modern Literature

While not used very often, bodaich do appear from time to time in literature. The bodach has altered a bit of its appearance into modern literature. In Dungeons &Dragons, the name has a minor spelling change to bodak and becomes an undead entity, largely black in color. The same description of black, shadowy creatures is used in Dean Koontz Odd series where they appear at different sites just before a disaster takes place. The same type of shadowy creatures appears in the movie “The Eye.” Even W. B. Yeats make mention of a bodach in his prose The Hour-Glass where a bodach appears to the character, the Fool and attempts to trick him out his money with a riddle.

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About silverfox57

An AFOL who's been around a long time and has decided to make more of an on-line presence. I also have a strong love of mythology and folklore.

Posted on October 20, 2014, in British, Celtic, Death, Fairy, Folk Lore, Irish, Monster, Punishment, Scottish, Shape-Shifter, Spirit. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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