Biblical name, borne by the last of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament; he foretold the coming of Christ and his name means, appropriately, ‘my messenger’ in Hebrew. The name was adopted by the Puritans in the 17th century, but until a recent modest revival was rarely used among English speakers outside Ireland. In Ireland, written Malachy, it is a traditional name, representing an adaptation of more than one medieval Gaelic name to the biblical name. It was used to refer to an Irish king who defeated the Norse invaders in an important battle. His baptismal name was Maoileachlainn ‘devotee of St Seachnall or Secundinus’, but in medieval sources telling of his life this has already been altered to coincide with that of the biblical prophet.