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OTHER FORMS: Mac a' Bhreatannaich
CONTRIBUTOR: LMS on 7/23/2014
Meaning & History
Ethnic name for someone descended from a tribe of Britons living in Scotland, from Gaelic gall ‘stranger’ + Breathnach ‘Briton’ (i.e. ‘British foreigner’). These were either survivors of the British peoples who lived in Scotland before the Gaelic invasions from Ireland in the 5th century (in particular the Welsh-speaking Strathclyde Britons, who survived as a distinctive ethnic group until about the 14th century), or others who had perhaps migrated northwestwards at the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions.