picts

Pict

[pikt]
noun
a member of an ancient people of uncertain origin who inhabited parts of northern Britain, fought against the Romans, and in the 9th century a.d. united with the Scots.

Origin:
before 900; back formation from Middle English Pictes (plural) < Latin Pictī literally, painted ones, plural of pictus, past participle of pingere to paint; replacing Middle English Peghttes, Old English Peohtas, PihtasLatin, as above

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World English Dictionary
Pict (pɪkt)
 
n
a member of any of the peoples who lived in Britain north of the Forth and Clyde in the first to the fourth centuries ad: later applied chiefly to the inhabitants of NE Scotland. Throughout Roman times the Picts carried out border raids
 
[Old English Peohtas; later forms from Late Latin Pictī painted men, from pingere to paint]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

Pict
an ancient people of Great Britain, late 14c., from L.L. Picti (late 3c., probably a nickname given them by Roman soldiers), usually taken as derived from picti "painted," but probably ultimately from the Celtic name of the tribe, perhaps Pehta, Peihta, lit. "the fighters" (cf. Gaul. Pictavi, who gave
the name to the French city of Poitiers). They painted and tattooed themselves, which may have suggested a Roman folk-etymology alteration of the name. The O.E. name for the people was Peohtas.
"In Scottish folk-lore the Pechts are often represented as a dark pygmy race, or an underground people; and sometimes identified with elves, brownies, or fairies." [OED]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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