Druid: a priest of the Celtic religion, often called Druidism. From drui, Old Irish term of disputed origin. Later Latinized by Julius Caesar as druis, plural druides. Possible derivation from the Greek drus: oak, or from druwides:

dru-: superlative Indo-European prefix, or deru- also dreu-, "solid, firm, made of wood"
-wid: Indo-European *weid-, "to see"; compare with videre (Latin) and idein (Greek)--to see, to know. Hense, either all-knowing, or knowers of the oak.

Or, from Indo-European

Modern Gaelic has the word draoi: sorcerer, while modern Welsh has derwydd: wizard.

Dru"id (?), n. [L. Druides; of Celtic origin; cf. Ir. & Gael. draoi, druidh, magician, Druid, W. derwydd Druid.]

1.

One of an order of priests which in ancient times existed among certain branches of the Celtic race, especially among the Gauls and Britons.

⇒ The Druids superintended the affairs of religion and morality, and exercised judicial functions. They practiced divination and magic, and sacrificed human victims as a part of their worship. They consisted of three classes; the bards, the vates or prophets, and the Druids proper, or priests. Their most sacred rites were performed in the depths of oak forests or of caves.

2.

A member of a social and benevolent order, founded in London in 1781, and professedly based on the traditions of the ancient Druids. Lodges or groves of the society are established in other countries.

Druid stones, a name given, in the south of England, to weatherworn, rough pillars of gray sandstone scattered over the chalk downs, but in other countries generally in the form of circles, or in detached pillars.

 

© Webster 1913.

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