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Old 04-08-2005, 01:31 PM
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How doe you pronounce GEAS?

I've checked the internet and gotten many contradictory pronunciations.

A Geas (pronounced "GESCH"). . .
Geas (GESS). . .
I usually pronounce it Geezz. . .
choose to pronounce it gise rhymes with vise. . .
Geas = GEE-ass, or GYASS (both with a hard "g"). . .
geasarladh (geh-ahs-AHR-lahth): Someone trained in the use of geas. . .
i pronounce geas as gee ass. . .
None of the online dictionaries list it. Wikipedia has no pronunciation. I'm beat. Does anyone have an official pronunciation?
Old 04-08-2005, 01:46 PM
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Our D&D group pronounced it "GUY-us", but I (since I played the character with said geas) would always jokingly refer to it as the "Gay-ass".
Old 04-08-2005, 01:59 PM
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My group, also geeks, pronounced it "gay-us."
Old 04-08-2005, 02:06 PM
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Me and my geeky RPG friends say "gay' us"
Old 04-08-2005, 02:22 PM
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Is it an abbreviation for something? If so, I would probably pronounce it G-E-A-S.
Old 04-08-2005, 02:27 PM
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It's a Gaelic word, I believe, so I'm hoping one of the dopers who speak Irish or Scots Gaelic will give us the definitive answer.

I've always wanted to know myself.
Old 04-08-2005, 02:29 PM
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My Irish/English dictionary makes it gesh, which corresponds to a discusion I saw regarding the word in a commentary on Irish myth.

It might help, when looking it up, to spell it geis, which is the Irish spelling in the nominative singular. ( and still do not recognize it, but you might stand a better chance with larger print dictionaries.) Geasa is nominative plural while geas is genitive plural. (I'm not sure which English-speaking author introduced the geas spelling. I know that early in the 20th century James Branch Cabell was excoriated by some reviewer for "inventing" the word, but I do not recall which spelling he used--I think it was geis. It is still really rare in English outside fantasy literature or discussions of Irish literature.)
Old 04-08-2005, 02:32 PM
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I'll take gay ass for $400, Trebek
Old 04-08-2005, 02:36 PM
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Is it an abbreviation for something?
No. It is an Irish word roughly corresponding to taboo. It is an action that has been forbidden to a hero (usually) by some higher (divine?) power, usually used as a means to bring down the hero late in the story. For example, Cuchulain had a geis that prohibited him from declining a stranger's offer of food and a separate geis that prohibited him from eating the flesh of a dog. So when his enemies got tired of him beating the snot out of them, they sent someone he did not know out to wait alongside the road, cooking a dog, and offering it to him as he passed. Whichever choice he made broke one of his geasa and doomed him in the upcoming battle.
(Possibly substitute "priest" for "stranger" in the previous tale; it has been a while since I read it and I probably have the details wrong.)
Old 04-08-2005, 02:42 PM
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Random House Word Maven on GEIS
Old 04-08-2005, 04:17 PM
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In Terry Pratchetts Discworld

Geas is pronounced Geese

At least, the jokes are only funny if you read them that way.

It's a running gag through several books.

Nigel the Barbarian has a real problem explaining why he is on his quest.

Old 04-10-2005, 04:39 PM
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Looks like GESH is the original, root pronunciation, with various fantasy and D&D folks branching off from it in a multitude of ways. Thanks to everyone who contributed. I've been wondering about this for a long time.

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