Druid (n.)

1560s, from French druide, from Latin druidae (plural), from Gaulish Druides, from Celtic compound *dru-wid- "strong seer," from Old Celtic *derwos "true" (from PIE root *deru- "tree," especially oak) + *wid- "to know" (from PIE root *weid- "to see"). Hence, literally, perhaps, "they who know the oak" (perhaps in allusion to divination from mistletoe). Anglo-Saxon, too, used identical words to mean "tree" and "truth" (treow).

The English form comes via Latin, not immediately from Celtic. The Old Irish form was drui (dative and accusative druid; plural druad); Modern Irish and Gaelic draoi, genitive druadh "magician, sorcerer." Not to be confused with United Ancient Order of Druids, secret benefit society founded in London 1781.

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