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Chris K

Senior Member
English / US
I haven't been able to find any information on the word siúler, which I have only encountered in the English lyrics to the song quoted below. I suspect the word is Gaelic / Irish in origin; it apparently means beggar. In the recording where I found it ("The Rambling Siúler" on Planxty's After the Break) it's pronounced "shooler."

The general bet five thousand pounds
The colonel wouldn't dress up in a beggars gowns,
Would she travel the world around and round,
Would she go with the rambling siúler.

Anyone know anything about the word?
  • MidlandsMezzo

    New Member
    English (UK) United Kingdom
    Hi Chris

    I'm a native of Ireland but not a native speaker if Irish Gaelic. The only thing which your word recalled to me was something to do with walking. If you look at and put walker into the search engine you will get a few results which I think look promising.

    A search for beggar did not produce anything which looked like your word.

    Hope this helps a bit!




    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This word has mystified me too.
    I wasn't able to find any relevant comments in relation to Irish.

    But the OED, as usual, has come up trumps. It lists shooler as one who shools.
    For the verb shool:
    To go about begging; to sponge, to acquire some advantage by insidious means; also to skulk. ...
    In Ireland it seems to have been associated with Irish siubhail to go, travel; shooler seems to correspond to Irish siubhlach vagrant.]


    Siúil is the Irish for walk.
    The general equivalent in Irish to the English ~er 'agent suffix' is "~óir".
    This gives us "siúlóir" (shew lore) as an itinerant or wanderer
    — which was probably Anglicised as "shooler" and was back-formed into "siúler" for the song.
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