A ceilidh is an Irish or Scottish dance party with live music. If you have the chance to go to a ceilidh, you'll love learning group dances, often performed in a ring formation, and you might even see traditional step dancing.

The earliest ceilidhs were simple parties without any music or dancing, or even informal social visits. The word comes from the Old Irish céle, "companion," and literally means "visit" in Gaelic. Modern ceilidhs are much more festive than an ordinary visit, and can feature fiddlers, singers, flutes, accordions, and more. Ceilidhs are quite common in Scotland (and Ireland, where they're spelled cèili), and their popularity extends to the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

Definitions of ceilidh
  1. noun
    an informal social gathering at which there is Scottish or Irish folk music and singing and folk dancing and story telling
    see moresee less
    type of:
    an occasion on which people can assemble for social interaction and entertainment
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week