cei·​lidh ˈkā-lē How to pronounce ceilidh (audio)
variants or less commonly ceili
Scotland and Ireland
: a party with music, dancing, and often storytelling

Examples of ceilidh in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Make sure to grab a wee dram at The Malt Room, Inverness’ first whisky bar, followed by Hootananny, a ceilidh cafe for live traditional Scottish folk music (even Mumford and Sons have played here). Marisel Salazar, Condé Nast Traveler, 23 Dec. 2022 The wedding featured three musical moments in total: Italian jazz, followed by a ceilidh band, and then an ’80s and ’90s disco by DJ Henri, which had everyone dancing past 3 a.m. Emma Elwick-Bates, Vogue, 28 June 2022 She’s a member of the Irish American Club and a traditional Irish ceilidh dancer. Elissa Welle, Detroit Free Press, 9 Feb. 2022 But later in the episode, while attending a traditional Scottish ceilidh — think of the Gatherings featured on Outlander — at Borthwick Castle, McTavish and his hips are given their rightful time to shine. Sarene Leeds, Vulture, 1 Mar. 2021 The week-long digital celebration features Scottish ceilidh and bagpipe bands, harpists, Highland dancers and former U.S. national Scottish fiddling champ Melinda Crawford Perttu. Joan Rusek, cleveland, 22 Dec. 2020 The event will feature Scottish ceilidh and bagpipe bands, harpists, Highland dancers, and former U.S. National Scottish Fiddling Champion Melinda Crawford Perttu. cleveland, 18 Dec. 2020 Revelers looking to get an early start on the fun should show up Friday evening for a ceilidh. Greg Crawford and Ashley Zlatopolsky, Detroit Free Press, 3 Aug. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ceilidh.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Irish céilí & Scottish Gaelic cèilidh visit, social evening, party with music and dancing, from Old Irish céilide visit, from céile servant, companion, neighbor; akin to Welsh cilydd companion, Old Breton kiled

First Known Use

1875, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ceilidh was in 1875

Dictionary Entries Near ceilidh

Cite this Entry

“Ceilidh.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ceilidh. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on ceilidh

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!