back to article Cuil feasts on Salmon of Nonsense

Why is Cuil called Cuil? According to the free-spending founders of this Google-battling search engine/web-wide laughing stock, cuil is an "old Irish word for knowledge." But as it turns out, this is yet another example of CEO Tom Costello and company littering the web with bogus information. In truth, cuil is an old Irish …


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  1. Adrian Esdaile

    We are legion.

    "For all you Reg-reading pedants out there - and we know you are myriad -"

    I think a better description for Reg-pedants would be 'legion', as in 'We are Legion'

    I'm just saying.

    I'll get my coat, yep the one with the pitchfork and cute little Hello-Kitty pentagrams.

  2. tom Termini

    maybe they truncated Finn McCuil's name?

    Maybe they maybe they truncated Finn McCuil's name in the mistaken belief his surname or whatever meant knowledge.

    Oh well. I think Nua is a better name. But my pal already has it! Ha!

    BTW, are these guys Irish? Just wondering. Or another case of Americans naming their kids Irish names willy-nilly?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    modern Irish is even funnier

    In modern Irish the word "cuil" refers to a bad mood, as in: tá cuil air = he is in a filthy mood. Apparently it also refers to flies, as in the insect (so perhaps they can't say "no files on me...")

    Perhaps it reflected the mood the googlers were in when they left.

    It reminds me of the story about the Pogues and their original name being banned when the BBC discovered its meaning.

  4. Michael Miller

    Well in any case

    I guess we know why they're not a Google anymore.......

    Paris, cause somewhere in here there is a good joke about a nut in the ass

  5. Alan Donaly

    Even I know better.

    Good god what a stupid mistake of all the languages Gaelic has the most insufferable pedants surpassed only by Latin the original language of the pedant. I am no expert, but then I am not making up words and pretending they are Gaedhealg. I tried their little search engine they are indeed pants. It makes sense though I guess people who think it's OK to make up Irish words can also think a broken web search is "cool".

    @tom no as far as I know the only problem with the USA and Irish names is that little problem my ancestors and others had with people at Ellis Island not being able to spell common Irish names. Oh well new country, new life, new name they didn't care why should I.

  6. Louis Savain

    Cuil Is Probably a Latin Import

    Several romance languages have a similar word for arse. Culo in Spanish and cul in French. The French 'culotte' means pants. These words apparently came from a Latin word for tail (queue in French) but I could be wrong. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable can find out the true origin of the word. Interesting choice anyway. Maybe it's's way of saying they are going to kick Google in the cuil.

  7. Wokstation

    @Michael Miller

    My, hasn't Paris aged badly, quickly?

    And "cuil" means "knowledge"? My arse! (See what I did there? Do ya? DO YA?)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pronounced cool

    a search ( for "pronounced cool" turns this little nugget

    The Aurora Group introduces Cooleyz,a unique, on the spot, all natural solution to help relieve tired, irritated eyes due to Daily or excess computer use and office tasks Airborne particles from dust, pollen, and recycled air Strain from artificial light Discomfort from contact lenses and glasses The Cooleyz (Pronounced Cool Eye)...

  9. charles platt

    Google is behind this

    Clearly no startup capitalized with millions from shrewd venture capitalists could really be as clueless as Cuil. Clearly the whole thing was covertly financed by Google as a way of a) redirecting negative industry press and b) making simple Google searches seem stunningly intelligent by comparison.

    And, to judge from Reg coverage, the plot has worked!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Fishy Story

    Apparently "cuil" means "crap search engine" in English.

    Paris, because a salmon ate all nine of her hazel nuts.

  11. Steven Knox
    Thumb Up

    This is why I love El Reg

    "[Cuil]'s crack team...."

    Excellent work, Cade. Can't add anything to that.

    @Adrian Esdaile - I don't necessarily agree with "legion". Usually that implies large numbers with a common purpose or direction. "Myriad", however, has the connotation of large numbers with different goals/directions. The pedants' posts I read often seem to be going in separate directions. Come to think of it, my own post illustrates my point. Bonus!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Alan Donaly

    If you think that Latin is for pedants explain to me aorist middle verbs in Homeric Greek.

    The reason why it seems there seems to be many pedants around Irish, is that there is so much crap written about it. Then some feel the need to say the crap is crap and why it is crap, and the cycle starts all over again.

    Unfortunately, the Cuil kids are adding to the general amount of crap.

  13. Andy Worth

    Re:Fishy Story

    "Apparently "cuil" means "crap search engine" in English."

    They're American....they don't speak English. Mind you, neither do half of the people living in England at the moment, and I'm not even counting the immigrants. Actually most immigrants would improve the general knowledge of the English language as they actually paid attention in English lessons.

    </Minor Rant>

  14. Mr Larrington

    I tried their alleged "search engine"...

    ...and yea, and verily, it was a bunch of arse.

  15. James Anderson Silver badge

    Who's thier venture capitalist?

    I really want to meet them to discuss my revolutionary cold fusion powered flying car with unique web 2.666 user interface.

  16. Seán

    Boyle salmon

    Maybe it means Dioxin

  17. Chris Miller

    Each-way bet

    Guess where takes you?

    Throw more joss sticks on the fire and turn up the whale-song, guys!

  18. Colin Bull

    spyware link

    Being sad, I tested with 'wood gasification', Not only did it come up with a completely wrong image, the link took me to a Power Antivirus spyware screen with a message to tell me my computer was running slowly. I know it is running slowly - it is Windows !!

    Definitely un-cool

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Traditional to get one's own name wrong

    Well, "Google" was a misspelling of "googol", and Cuil has decided to copy this successful strategy.

  20. Sam

    Compulsory Father Ted reference


  21. Anonymous Coward

    cuill is the plural of hazel


    "These guys are nuts"

    "These guys have nuts!"

    "I don't want these guys in my mouth as I'm allergic to some of the protein in them"

    err... might leave that one there.

  22. Jerome
    Dead Vulture

    This again?

    As I believe I already said at, they've simply used part of the name McCuil as the name of their search engine, due to Finn McCuil's association with knowledge. At least they didn't use some obnoxious domain name like mc.cuil.icious.

    The site has a number of handy features that Google would do well to copy, and is considerably less ugly than Google. Sadly, their actual results are not up to Google quality, showing that Google still has some secret sauce that the rest of the search engine world is lacking. Surely you'd do better to take the piss out of them for that instead?

  23. Brian Walshe

    Another translation

    Cúil also means "goal". If their marketing department are quick, maybe they could change their story before anyone notices.

  24. Patrick O'Reilly

    Get it right

    "Cuil" means behind also, "Ar cuil on ti" = "at the back of the house"

    If your looking for arse/backside try "thóin" as in "póg mo thóin", which, eh, means, eh, "May your family grow strong and propser...."

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It's even worse than that...

    First the pronunciation of "cuil" in Irish would sound more like "quill" in English. Rhyming with the Irish word for blood - "fuil"

    Secondly Finn McCuil is an Anglicisation of Fionn Mac Cumhall - which does sound like Cool but isn't anything thing to do with knowledge. Cumhall is his dad's name.

    Now on the other hand the Irish word "iúl" does refer to knowledge, commonly in the phrase "cuir in iúl", which roughly translates to "put in knowledge", to "let someone know". Thought I'd let someone know...

    Haven't bothered trying Cuil, even if you didn't know Irish all this would turn up in a search so I wouldn't expect much from a company that can't even research their own name properly.

  26. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    More importantly...

    How did the Salmon come to "fall" into the fountain? And how did it then get from said fountain into the river?

    /* A_very_fishy_fable_me_thinks */

  27. Thomas Swann
    Thumb Up

    Salmon Of Knowledge

    Has a delightfully 'Douglas Adams' kind of sound to it.

  28. Leo Maxwell
    Jobs Horns

    going for pedant highscore

    Shouldn't the quote be "I am Legion"- as in " my name is Legion, for we are many"

    But enough Christian propaganda.

    I think that the reference is obvious.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Well I'll be damned

    Rather unrelatedly, I think this explained to me where the Salmon of Doubt has its roots. Lovely article. And, er, @Jerome: Google *lists* results. I like that, because it's readable. Functional, you see.

    Paris 'cause she's not as alienated from this world as the Cuil folks seem to be.

  30. Sam

    @ Patrick

    "póg mo thóin"....or pogue mahone if you Anglicise it, which means I'm now going to have the tune Sally MacLellane buzzing around my head all day!

  31. Elmer Phud

    Conspiracy theory (re:Google is behind this)

    It's good to see the might of Google being challenged on these pages. It is, without doubt, the work of a company that has shedloads of spare cash spending a bit of it to reinforce their position as the main websearch on the planet.

    Those who would believe otherwise, that it is the brainchild of knobheads with more money than sense, are patently under the influence of Google mind-control vehicles as they travel the globe transmitting lies and faleshoods in to the brains of honest citizens.*

    *if this were the case then they wouldn't need to spend out on false search engines - but then they'd need some sort of cover to convince us that the cars are merely mapping devices, wouldn't they?

  32. Ian Murphy

    Not even pronounced Cool..

    Well, I am a gaelgeor (Fluent Irish Speaker) and it is only pronounced "Cool" when it's at the end of Mc. Like many of our Gaelic words, it changes pronunciation on its own. It's actual pronunciation is "quill" (As in the feathery pen). Better luck next time!

  33. Brian Walshe

    Scratch my last comment.

    I just found a dictionary, the Irish for "goal" is "cúl" (no i). Oh, the shame.

  34. Big_Boomer Bronze badge
    Paris Hilton


    This is a French word that is pronounced "Koo-ee".

    It means Man-Danglies, Testes, Bollocks.

    Enough said?

    Paris because of her renowned behaviour with Man-Danglies.

  35. Michael O'Malley

    Cúl means back, but tón means backside

    The founders of Cuil do have an Irish background. As many of you know, the irish deliberately created a substantial position in the IT world. For example, the Intel factory near Dublin supplies most PCs in Europe or Africa. Many leading brands like Google and Microsoft have their European offices in Dublin.

    Also, the story about Fionn Mac Cumhail (aka Finn McCool for English speakers and slow readers) and the salmon of wisdom is a genuine old story.

    However, all that stuff about cuil meaning knowledge is just a load of bull. It was created to get people like you talking about It's worked.

  36. bob_blah

    standardized Irish spelling?

    "but in standardized Irish spelling"

    I'm guessing this bloke has never actually been to Ireland, because there is no such thing as standardised Irish spelling. Oh they like to teach a 'standard' version, but you go from county to county in Eire and they will spell the same word differently because they each say it differently. And each of them will beleive that their version is right.

    It's just the Irish way.

    Come on the Rebels!!

  37. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Anonymous Coward

    Ellis Island

    @Alan Donaly

    Yer name is Jams O'Donnell!

  38. Tim


    "As a child Tom poached salmon from the same spot on the Boyne where it is said the Salmon of Knowledge was caught."

    If this is true, Tom must have grown up near the Boyne, I'm pretty sure there are no Gaeltacht areas in the vicinity of the Boyne, so his knowledge of the language is probably as bad as mine so this explains everything. I was going to blame the British, but that would be whining, especially since most of Ireland speaks English as a first language regardless of the politics. So sad!

  39. John

    Give cuil a chance!

    Just wondering if TheRegister received a truck load of cash from Google? Most articles on this site referring to Cuil contain a flurry of insults about either (i) the founders spending habits, (ii) the companies name or (iii) quantum pornography and (iv) many many others.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "I'm pretty sure there are no Gaeltacht areas in the vicinity of the Boyne"

    The Rath Cairn Gaeltacht is just 4 miles from the Boyne, between Athboy and Trim.

  41. Matthew Barker

    Seems to be improving

    Every time the Reg has reminded me of Cuilllllll's existence, I've checked it again. They seem to be working to fix problems; it looks better each time.

  42. Christopher Hogan

    It's all too local

    >"I'm pretty sure there are no Gaeltacht areas in the vicinity of the Boyne"

    >The Rath Cairn Gaeltacht is just 4 miles from the Boyne, between Athboy and Trim.

    Hmmm - a sad feature of the Gaeltacht areas used to be that they would paint out the English names on the old black & white fingerposts, (though I've not seen that with the shiny new EU paid for green & white direction signs) - this tended to piss off not just the tourists but the rest of the English speaking population.

    My Dad came from a few miles away, the other side of Dublin - and there they used to go around & paint out the Gaelic in revenge...

  43. Jonathan McColl

    Pay attention now

    You lot keep saying 'Gaelic' which I never heard said when I was doing my growing up. The language was 'Irish' if you said it in English and 'Gaeilge' (pronounced 'gayl-geh') if you said it in Irish. Here in the Highlands of Scotland they'll say 'Gaelic' and pronounce it gah-lic in English. And if anyone says 'Erse' (whether pronounced 'urss' or 'air-sheh') they'll need their blocks knocking off in either country.

    And it's not an 'acute' accent in Ireland, it's a 'long' accent, or fada.

    God knows why I should care after seeing what they've done to St Patrick's Day in Ireland when it used to be sensible and now it's all green plastic-paddy nonsense ...

    Cá bhfuil mo chóta?

  44. Mike Silver badge

    Google Conspiracy

    "...the work of a company that has shedloads of spare cash spending a bit of it to reinforce their position ..."

    Oh, like MSFT investing in Apple. Thanks, I understand now :-)

  45. Tom Thomson

    Fios or Eolas and Kool or Kwil

    I think "eolas" is a much more sensible word than "fios" for "knowledge" in any of Gaoluinn, Gaeilge, or Gaidhlig.

    And while I've heard people who say "kwil" as suggested by Ian Murphy, the substitution of a u-glide for a clear u doesn't seem to be at all universal.

    And why do they use thegenetive case ("of a back") instead of the nominative? Presumably because they don't actually know any Irish at all?

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