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Definite: definiteness or state

In Irish, definiteness is indicated through the use of a definite article singular an or plural na (also used with feminine singular in genitive case, see below), much like the definite article “the” in English. There is no indefinite particle, with nouns considered indefinite unless otherwise indicated.

Def : definite

Determiners an and na are both definite, as mentioned above.

In the case of a genitive construction (eg hata fhir an bhaile “the hat of the man of the town”), the noun can also indicate definiteness, though treatment depends on gender and number.

Nominative case

In the nominative case (see Case) nouns undergo some changes following the definite article an; most feminine nouns are lenited after the definite article, while feminine nouns beginning with ‘s’ are eclipsed, becoming ‘ts’. Meanwhile, masculine nouns beginning with a vowel get the prefix ‘t-‘.


Following the plural definite article na, both masculine and feminine nouns beginning with a vowel receive the prefix ‘h’.



In the genitive case (see Case) the singular definite article an is only used with masculine nouns. In this case, masculine nouns behave like feminine nouns in the nominative case, most masculine nouns beginning with a consonant are lenited, and those beginning with a ‘s’ change to ‘ts’. However, nouns beginning with a vowel remain the same.


The plural definite article na is used with feminine singular nouns. In this case, feminine singular nouns beginning with a vowel are prefixed by ‘h’, while those beginning with a consonant don’t change. For plural nouns, na triggers eclipsis where nouns begin with a consonant. Plural nouns beginning with a vowel are eclipsed by the prefix ‘n-‘.


Ind : indefinite

There are no indefinite articles in Irish, however some nouns may inflect to show indefinite features.


Definite in other languages: [bg] [en] [et] [fr] [ga] [grc] [hu] [hy] [it] [kpv] [myv] [pcm] [pt] [sl] [sv] [tr] [u] [urj]