From Irish tánaiste (second-in-command). Doublet of Tánaiste.



tanist (plural tanists)

  1. (historical) The heir presumptive to the chieftainship or kingship of a Celtic clan in ancient Ireland, Scotland or Mann.
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses:
      Lover, for her love he prowled with colonel Richard Burke, tanist of his sept, under the walls of Clerkenwell and, crouching, saw a flame of vengeance hurl them upward in the fog.
    • 2007, Mark Wycliffe Samuel, Kate Hamlyn, Blarney Castle: Its History, Development, and Purpose, Cork University Press, page 36,
      In 1570 Dermot died at 'his own house' of Castle Inch. His brother and tanist, Cormac Mac Teige (fourteenth Lord), succeeded him (Ó Murchadha, p. 16).
    • 2014, Ulla Secher, Aboriginal Customary Law: A Source of Common Law Title to Land, Bloomsbury Publishing (Hart Publishing), page 120,
      As a result of the universal introduction of the English common law, therefore, the original tanist acquired a common law title to the disputed land 'without grant or confirmation of the conqueror'.

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