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ShintyShin"ty (?), n. [Cf. Gael. sinteag a skip, a bound.] A Scotch game resembling hockey; also, the club used in the game. Jamieson.
Aberdeen University Shinty Club • Aberdour Shinty Club • Beauly Shinty Club • Bute Shinty Club • Col-Glen Shinty Club • Composite rules shinty-hurling • Cowal and Bute (shinty) • Fort William Shinty Club • Glengarry Shinty Club • Glenurquhart Shinty Club • Inveraray Shinty Club • Inverness Shinty Club • Ireland national compromise rules shinty-hurling team • John Cattanach (shinty) • Kilmallie Shinty Club • Kincraig Shinty Club • Kintyre (Shinty) • Lovat Shinty Club • North Division One (shinty) • Premier Division (shinty) • Ronald Ross (shinty player) • Scotland national shinty team • Shinty in the United States • Shinty league system • Strachur and District Shinty Club • Strathclyde Police Shinty Club • Strathglass Shinty Club • Taynuilt Shinty Club • The Scots Shinty Club • Tir Conaill Harps (Shinty) • University Shinty • Women's shinty
A shinty game in progress
|Highest governing body||Camanachd Association|
|First played||Pre-historic Britain and Ireland|
|Team members||12 players per side
substitutes are permitted
(there are no rules to prevent women from playing in men's teams; this happens occasionally in the lower leagues)
Shinty (Scottish Gaelic: camanachd, iomain) is a team game played with sticks and a ball. Shinty is now played mainly in the Scottish Highlands, and amongst Highland migrants to the big cities of Scotland, but it was formerly more widespread, being once competitively played on a widespread basis in England and other areas in the world where Scottish Highlanders migrated.
While comparisons are often made with field hockey, the two games have several important differences. In shinty, a player is allowed to play the ball in the air and is allowed to use both sides of the stick, called a caman which is wooden and slanted on both sides. The stick may also be used to block and to tackle, although a player may not come down on an opponent's stick, a practice called hacking. Players may also tackle using the body as long as it is shoulder-to-shoulder.
The objective of the game is to play a small ball into a goal, or "hail", erected at the ends of a 140 to 170-yard-long pitch. The game is traditionally played on grass, although as of 2009 the sport may be played on artificial turf.
The ball is a hard solid sphere slightly smaller than a tennis ball, consisting of a cork core covered by two pieces of leather stitched together. The seam is raised. It is very similar to a hurling sliotar in that it resembles an American baseball with more pronounced stitching. The ball is usually white, but there is no statutory colour, black being a common colour for Kyles Athletic and fluorescent balls now being available.
Plastic balls or soft balls are often used in youth competitions such as the variant, "First Shinty".
The ball is played using a caman, which is a stick of about 31⁄2 ft long with two slanted faces. Unlike the Irish camán, it has no blade. The caman is traditionally made of wood, traditionally ash but now more commonly hickory, and must not have any plate or metal attached to it. The caman would be made from any piece of wood with a hook in it, hence caman, from the Scottish Gaelic, cam meaning bent or crooked. It can also be called a stick or club. The slant of the face will vary according to the position that the stick is used for.
Plastic camans are common in the youth variant "First Shinty".
A player can play the ball in the air and is allowed to use both sides of the stick. The stick may also be used to block and to tackle, although a player may not come down on an opponent's stick, this is defined as hacking. A player may tackle using the body as long as this is shoulder-to-shoulder as in Association Football (soccer).
A player may only stop the ball with the stick, the chest, two feet together or one foot on the ground. Only the goalkeeper may use his hands and then only with an open palm. He may not catch it. Playing the ball with the head constitutes a foul whether intentional or not as it is considered dangerous play. Other examples of dangerous play which will be penalised are players, while grounded, playing the ball and reckless swinging of the caman in the air which might endanger another player.
Fouls result in a free-hit, which is indirect unless the foul is committed in the penalty area, commonly referred to as "The D". This results in a penalty hit from 20 yards.
A ball played by a team over the opposing bye line results in a goal hit from the edge of the D, a ball played by a team over their own results in a corner. A ball hit over the sideline results in a shy. A shinty shy involves the taker tossing the ball above his head and hitting the ball with the shaft of the caman. The ball must be directly overhead when struck to be legal.
Teams consist of 12 players, including a goalkeeper. A match is played over two halves of 45 minutes. With the exception of the goalkeeper, no player is allowed to play the ball with his hands. There are also variants with smaller sides, with some adjustments in the field size and duration of play.
As with sports such as soccer, shinty originally did not have substitutes. These were introduced in the 1960s, progressively expanding to allow a maximum of three substitutions per game. As of 2011, a rule change allowed for rolling substitutions to be made at senior level. It was already a common place practice at youth level.
|Pronunciation:||[ˈkʰaum] ( listen)|
|Pronunciation:||[ˈkʰamak] ( listen)|
|Pronunciation:||[ˈkʰaman] ( listen)|
|Pronunciation:||[ˈkʰamanəxk] ( listen)|
|Pronunciation:||[ˈkʰlˠ̪ɯçvalˠ̪] ( listen)|
|Pronunciation:||[ˈkɾãʰpak] ( listen)|
|Scots Gaelic:||Comann na Camanachd|
|Pronunciation:||[ˈkʰomən̪ˠ nə ˈkʰamanəxk] ( listen)|
|Pronunciation:||[ˈjumɛɲ] ( listen)|
|Pronunciation:||[ˈʃiːɲtʲak] ( listen)|
|Pronunciation:||[ˈs̪pɔːrˠs̪] ( listen)|
Shinty is older than the recorded history of Scotland. It is thought to predate Christianity, having come to Scotland with the Gaels from Ireland. Hurling, which is a similar game to shinty, is derived from the historic game common to both peoples which has been a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2,000 years. Shinty/Hurling appears prominently in the legend of Cúchulainn, the Celtic mythology hero. A similar game was played on the Isle of Man known as cammag, a name cognate with camanachd. The old form of hurling played in the northern half of Ireland, called "commons", resembled shinty more closely than the standardised form of hurling of today. Like shinty it was commonly known as camánacht and was traditionally played in winter.
The origins of the name shinty are uncertain. There is a theory that the name was derived from the cries used in the game; shin ye, shin you and shin t'ye, other dialect names were shinnins, shinnack and shinnup, or as Hugh Dan MacLennan proposes from the Scottish Gaelic sìnteag. However there was never one all encompassing name for the game, as it held different names from glen to glen, including cluich-bhall (play-ball in English) and in the Scottish Lowlands, where it was formerly referred to as Hailes, common/cammon (caman), cammock (from Scottish Gaelic camag), knotty and various other names, as well as the terms still used to refer to it in modern Gaelic, camanachd or iomain.
The game was traditionally played through the winter months, with New Year's Day being the day when whole villages would gather together to play games featuring teams of up to several hundred a side, players often using any piece of wood with a hook as a caman. In Uist, stalks of seaweed were put to use due to a lack of trees. Modern camans are made from several laminates of ash or hickory which are glued and cut into shape, although one-piece camans were still commonplace until the early 1980s. The ball was traditionally a round piece of wood or bone, sometimes called a cnapag, but soon developed into the worsted leather balls used today.
For more information regarding the organisation of the sport, see Camanachd Association In common with many sports, it became formalised in the Victorian Era and the first organised clubs were established in cities such as Glasgow and London where there were thousands of Gaels resident.
In 1887, a historic game was played between Glenurquhart Shinty Club and Strathglass Shinty Club in Inverness. This game was attended by thousands of people and was a major milestone in developing a set of common rules. This fixture was to be repeated on 12 January 2007 in Inverness as the opening centrepiece of the Highland 2007 celebrations in Scotland, but was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
The modern sport is governed by the Camanachd Association (Scots Gaelic: Comann na Camanachd). The association came into being in the late Victorian era in as a means of formulating common rules to unite the various different codes and rules which differed between neighbouring glens, in this the sport shares similarities with other sports which became organised around this time. The first meeting of the Camanachd Association was held in Kingussie in 1893.
The Camanachd Association maintained its initial structure for much of its first century, but the 'Future of Shinty' Report published in 1981 led to a compete restructuring of the way in which shinty was organised and managed. That, in turn, led to the move away from a dependence on volunteers to govern the sport, to the Association's first salaried employees being employed.
Clubs compete in various competitions, both cup and league, on a national and also North/South basis. While the top Premier Division hs been played on a Scotland-wide basis since 1996, the lower leagues are based on geography. Many clubs run second teams which also compete in these leagues against clubs with only one senior side.
For more information, see Shinty league system In League shinty, Kingussie has been dominant for the past 20 years and, according to the Guinness Book of Records 2005, is world sport's most successful sporting team of all time, winning 20 consecutive league championships and going 4 years without losing a single fixture in the early 1990s. This incredible, unmatched run of dominance was ended on 2 September by ancient rivals Newtonmore who defeated Oban Camanachd 2-0 to ensure that Kingussie could not catch the team at the top of the Premier Division. However, Newtonmore were unable to usurp their neighbours as champions, as the first post-Kingussie champions were confirmed as Fort William who sealed the title on 30 September 2006 having won their games in hand over Newtonmore. Kingussie regained the title in 2007.
League shinty has always been seen as being less important than cup shinty and the premier national competition remains the Scottish Cup or the Camanachd Association Challenge Cup (the Camanachd Cup for short) which has also been dominated by Kingussie in the last twenty years. The other dominant team in shinty history has been Newtonmore, Kingussie's near neighbours. However, these two teams only met in the Camanachd Cup Final for the first time in 1984 as before 1983 the competition was designed to ensure the final was a North/South affair.
The Macaulay Cup still preserves this guaranteed North/South Final. There are also national equivalents for the Camanachd Cup for intermediate and junior teams. There are also regional cups for both senior and junior teams. the MacTavish Cup is the senior cup for the North and the Glasgow Celtic Society Cup is the one for the South.
Shinty was traditionally played through the winter, based around the tradition of the "Iomain Challainn", where New Year was marked by a game between neighbouring parishes. The summer was left free for seasonal work and friendly tournaments. The Winter season always ran over however, and many teams would find themselves finishing the previous season only weeks before the next one would start.
In 2003, shinty clubs voted for a trial period of two years of a summer season from March to October, with a view to moving permanently to summer shinty if the experiment was judged to be a success. Despite opposition from the "Big Two", Kingussie and Newtonmore, and other small groups in the game, an EGM in November 2005 voted by an overwhelming majority (well over the required two thirds) to make summer shinty the basis upon which the game would proceed.
There have been teething problems since the move to summer shinty, with a couple of teams being culpable for the season running over into November and December. Season 2010 saw the league season finished by the first weekend in October, almost on schedule.
Local papers such as the West Highland Free Press and the Oban Times and the Dunoon Observer and Argyllshire Standard have in-depth shinty reports. The Inverness based media reduce shinty coverage to one summary of the whole weekend's action as do national newspapers such as the Sunday Herald and the Sunday Post. The only significant national press coverage is of the Camanachd Cup final.
Although Camanachd Cup finals and internationals have been shown over the years, 2006 marked the first ever regular TV deal for shinty with matches being shown on the BBC Sports show Spòrs. This was then followed by the STV show "An Caman".
2009 saw the Camanachd Association sign a deal with BBC Alba to broadcast all national finals as well as the Marine Harvest Festival. The MacAulay Cup and Camanachd Cup final were also shown on BBC Two. There is also an increasing amount of shinty on the internet with various clips garnering attention on video sites such as YouTube. This move to YouTube however has been in part due to a breakdown in the relationship between the BBC and the Camanachd Association which has seen many fixtures disappear from the TV schedules.
The sport is given a lot of exposure on BBC Radio nan Gaidheal by the programme, Spòrs na Seachdain, although English-language radio interest is usually restricted to the big events in the year. Commentary on the Camanachd Cup Final is provided in both English and Gaelic.
Now predominantly a Highland game, there are also clubs found in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and even London. University Shinty is a popular section of the sport, with almost all Scotland's main universities possessing a team. Historically, Glasgow University, Aberdeen University and Edinburgh University have vied for supremacy but in recent years, Strathclyde University, Robert Gordon's College, Dundee University, and the University of St. Andrews have risen to prominence. It is also played in the British Army with The Scots Shinty Club keeping alive the tradition of the game being played in the Forces.
London Camanachd is a shinty club in England. They do not play league matches but do compete at present in the Bullough Cup. They have historically been attached to the South District. They went into abeyance in 1992, but were reconstituted in 2005 but at present do not field a senior team. They played the first officially recognised shinty match outside Scotland in 80 years on Saturday 22 July 2006 against the Highlanders. Shinty was previously played widely in England in the 19th century and early 20th century, with teams such as London Scots, Bolton Caledonian and Cottonopolis, and Nottingham Forest F.C. was established by Shinty Players.  There was a team in Northallerton in the 1970s, which competed in six-a-sides. A Cornwall Shinty Club was established in 2012 playing their first game on April 21st 2012 against London which the match finished a draw. They also entered the St Andrew's Sixes tournament in 2012. They are looking to playing their first match at home in June.
Shinty is also spreading to North America; though originally played in the 18th and 19th century by Scottish immigrants, the sport died out. However, it is enjoying a revival; teams such as Northern California Camanachd Club (NCCC), Washington Camanachd Club (WACC), and Oregon Shinty-Camanachd (OSC) play at Highland Games and other venues across the USA. See Shinty in North America.
December 28, 2010 will see Ireland hold its first dedicated shinty match in Westmeath, with participation from players who have played the Compromise rules Shinty/Hurling. January 05, 2012 also saw the creation of the Hereford shinty team, who will be conducting future tours in order to reignite the game in England and the home counties.
In recognition of shinty's shared roots with hurling, an annual international between the two codes from Scotland and Ireland is played on a home and away basis using composite rules. In recent years the Irish have had the upper hand, but the Scots won the fixture narrowly in 2005 and again in 2006, this time at Croke Park, Dublin, albeit with the Irish fielding weaker players from the second tier Christy Ring Cup. Scotland made it four in a row when they won in 2008.