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Irish Culture/Origin of name


Shea is my middle name and am aware it is a masculine name of Gaelic/or Celtic origin meaning "hawk-like; admirable". I learned it comes from the name "Seaghdha".  I recently learned that it is also of Hebrew origin and means "supplanter" since it is apparently is another form of Sťamus.  Now Sťamus is Celtic, the Gaelic equivalent of James.  So now I have two names that Shea could come from (Sťamus and Seaghdha) yet the names are seemingly unrelated.  Now are these two names somehow a variation of one another with different meaning depending on origin or are they completely different and it just so happens you can get the name "Shea" out of both of them?

Dear Keegan,

Since 'Keegan' is one of my family names, it would seem to me that your middle name is derived
from 'O'Seaghdaha', which is indeed Gaelic for "stately". We do not find it in the lexicography
for 'hawk', which is of course 'seabhac'.
Have never run across 'Shea' as a short hand form for 'Seamus', which is indeed 'James' in
The Hebrew for 'James' is ya'aqov, so I think we can conclude that the derivations and meanings of
'shea', vis a vis Gaelic and Hebrew, are separate and distinct.

With best wishes to you for a Happy New Year.


Irish Culture

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William D. McCann


Any questions concerning Irish history, culture, anthropology, or literature.


M.A. 2006 National University of Ireland, Honors Publications: The Starship of Bru Na Boinne, Bohemian Quarterly, 2004

American Ireland Fund Bohemian Club


A.B., University of California Berkeley, Hons. J.D., Hastings College of the Law M.A., National University of Ireland, Galway

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