Well I can't speak for everyone and all dialects, but I am pretty certain I have never heard soitheach meaning 'a recipe' - and I have even watched cooking programmes on BBC Alba. All three of the dictionaries I use list both the ship-type vessel and the pot-type vessel, with several examples of different types in Mark (2003). But there is no mention anywhere of this word meaning a recipe. Mark actually has three different words for a recipe:
I'm sure lots of people want to know this, so here is what I use, both in Gaelic and other languages for etymologies. Improvements, additions, criticisms and comments welcome.
- Wiktionary in English This is getting day by day more and more complete, as people gradually copy in data from other sources. In some cases it is quite obvious that it is a copy of one of the other sources I mention below. However, it is actually more reliable, because all the other sources have some rubbish in them, which will of course stay there. Wiktionary is continually updated when info is found to be baseless. This is made easier by its other advantage, namely that it covers all relevant languages, even obscure obsolete ones, and you can click on a word it mentions and go to the entry for that word, thus go through the whole alleged family tree and see which bits work and which don't. And of course each language is curated by people with knowledge of that language. It is particularly noticeable in some other dictionaries, such as GPC, that they don't know as much about other languages as they do about their own language.
One feature is that if you type doigh and press enter it will only look for doigh (which doesn't exist). But if you start typing doigh and don't press enter, it will come up with suggestions such as dòigh (which exists in Gaelic) and dóigh (which exists in Irish). You can then check out each of these words.
You will probably want corroboration for Wiktionary, and there will be some entries that are totally missing, or have missing or incomplete etymologies, so you will also need:
- MacBain (1911) Most scholars are very dismissive of this, but it is an excellent starting point if you have no other leads. He was an amateur, and working with the very limited dictionaries available at the time. Basically he worked hard to find similar words in various languages and then guessed their relationship. So I find it invaluable as I can then look up all of the words he lists in Wiktionary and form my own conclusion. But never trust his conclusions. The link I have given to Multidict allows you to enter a word and it will simply take you to a scan of the relevant page. If it fails (which it will sometimes, because the digitization is unreliable) you can just enter a common word to open the dictionary and then search manually.
- GPC (Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru) is the regarded as the definitive dictionary of Welsh. It is the only one with etymologies that I know of. Although it gives the meanings briefly in English, the rest is in Welsh only. I often have to resort to putting the etymology into Google Translate, and then working out the abbreviations manually - the abbreviations defeat GT, but if you hover over an abbreviation, it tell you what it means in English. There are some howling errors in it, and I am particularly suspicious when it alleges a Welsh word comes from Old Irish. (Under no circumstances should you use this as a guide to modern colloquial Welsh, but it is reliable for Welsh from 100 years ago and formal Welsh.)
- Old Irish There is no satisfactory etymological dictionary. I am currently assessing if LEIA (Lexique Etymologique De L'Irlandais Ancien) is good. I have not yet found a satisfactory online version (although there may be one). But its two main disadvantages are (1) it is written in French, and (2) they gave up work in 1996 when it was only half finished.
- Modern Irish I don't know of any dictionary with etymologies.
- Oxford Enlish Dictionary Excellent for English (which often includes Scots) if you are lucky enough to have access to the full version online (which I am not at the moment).
- Lexico appears to be a free, new online dictionary of English from Oxford Dictionaries that does contain etymologies, but I have not yet assessed it as I have only discovered is just now.
- DSL (Dictionary of the Scots Language) has brief etymologies.