Ogham
Definition -
(1) An Early Medieval alphabet of 20 characters developed in approximately 400 CE that was used primarily to write Old Irish and Brythonic.
(2) One of the characters themselves.







Notes:
1. There are roughly 400 surviving Ogham inscriptions on stone monuments throughout Ireland and western Britain.
2. "The characters consist each of a thin line or stroke, or a group of from two to five such parallel strokes, arranged along either side of, or drawn across, a continuous medial or guiding line. Thus b, l, w (v, f), s, n, are represented by 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 strokes under the line; v (h), d, t, c, q by the same above the line; m, g, y, z, r, by long strokes crossing obliquely, thus /; a, o, u, e, i by short strokes crossing at right angles. In inscriptions, the edge of a squared stone usually serves as the continuous base line." (OED s.v. Ogham)

Etymology -
According to the OED, the word derives from the "Gaelic oghum, a name traditionally connected with a mythical inventor called in Irish legends Ogma, said to have invented the Ogam ‘to provide signs for secret speech only known to the learned’."

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation is from 1677:
"Obscurum loquendi modum, vulgo ogham, Antiquarijs Hiberniæ satis notum.… Alia adhuc vtebantur methodo in scribendo preter abbreuiationes, quam insuper vocabant ogham, peritioribus tantum~modo familiare."
(O'Molloy Grammatica 133)



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