Useful Irish Phrases For Essays On Love


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Irish Phrases

The Irish phrases and words below have appeared as a regular article in our Free Monthly Newsletter about Ireland.
Gaelic phrases and words, days of the week, days of the month, months of the year,
colors, numbers, common greetings and much more.

PHRASE:N�l ach braon beag fola ort
PRONOUNCED:neel ock brain byug fulla urt
MEANING:There is a only a little blood

PHRASE:Beidh biseach ort go luath
PRONOUNCED:beg bishock urt guh loo-ah
MEANING:You will be better soon

PHRASE:Tusa mo bhuachaill�n/chail�n b�n!
PRONOUNCED:tussa muh book-ill-een/coll-een bon
MEANING:You are my big brave boy/girl

PHRASE:N�l ach braon beag fola ort
PRONOUNCED:kneel ock brain byug fulla urt
MEANING:There is only a little blood

PHRASE:Curifidh m� pl�star ort anois
PRONOUNCED:quirr-igg may ploss-chur urt ah-nish
MEANING:I will put on a plaster now

PHRASE:T� t� an-chr�ga
PRONOUNCED:taw two on crow-geh
MEANING:You are very brave

PHRASE:Faigh scuab agus nigh do chuid fiacla
PRONOUNCED:fie-igh skube oggus knee duh quid fee-ikla
MEANING:Get a brush and clean your teeth

PHRASE:Suas s�os
PRONOUNCED:sue-iss she-us
MEANING:Up and down

PHRASE:Idir na fiacla
PRONOUNCED:iddir nah fee-ikla
MEANING:Between the teeth!

PHRASE:Faigh do ch�ta agus cuir ort �
PRONOUNCED:fye-igh duh koh-ta oggus qwir urt a (a as in A,B,C)
MEANING:Get your coat and put it on

PHRASE:T� s� fuar go leor inniu
PRONOUNCED:taw shay foor guh lore inn-u
MEANING:It is cold today

PHRASE:D�an deifir!
PRONOUNCED:dane deffer

PHRASE:Maidin Mhaith
PRONOUNCED:mod-jin wot
MEANING:Good morning

PHRASE:Ar chodail t� go maith?
PRONOUNCED:air cud-ill two guh mot
MEANING:Did you sleep well?

PHRASE:T� s� in am �ir�
PRONOUNCED:taw shay in amm eye-ree
MEANING:It is time to get up

PHRASE:Gabh isteach sa seomra folctha agus nigh t� f�in
PRONOUNCED:govhh ihh-stochk suh showm-rih fulk-cheh ogg-us knee two fayn
MEANING:Go into the bathroom and wash yourself

PHRASE:Gheobhaidh m� bosca nua s�pa
PRONOUNCED:yeo-igg may buska new-ah suppa
MEANING:I will get a new box of soap

PHRASE:Faigh tu�ille �r ghlan
PRONOUNCED:fie-igg tool-ah ur glann
MEANING:Get a clean fresh towel

PHRASE:Maidin mhaith
PRONOUNCED:modjin mot
MEANING:Good morning

PHRASE:Ar chodail t� go maith?
PRONOUNCED:air cuddle two guh mot
MEANING:Did you sleep well?

PHRASE:T� s� in am �ir�
PRONOUNCED:taw shay in amm eye-ree
MEANING:It is time to get up

PRONOUNCED:See on-shin guh foe-ull
MEANING:Sit here for a moment

PHRASE:Beidh biseach ort go luath
PRONOUNCED:Beg bish-ock urt guh loo-ahh
MEANING:You will be better soon

PHRASE:Beidh br� ort ansin i gceann c�pla l�
PRONOUNCED:Beg bru urt on-shin i geow-inn coop-leh law
MEANING:You will have a bruise there in a couple of days!

PHRASE:C� bhfuil do Bhosca L�in?
PRONOUNCED:kaw will duh buska loan
MEANING:Where is your Lunch Box?

PHRASE:B� cinnte agus do l�n ar fad a ithe inniu
PRONOUNCED:bee kin-che ogg-uss duh loan air fod ah ihh-heh inn-u
MEANING:Be sure to eat all your lunch today

PHRASE:N� d�an deramad ar do l�n!
PRONOUNCED:naw dane djar-mad air duh loan
MEANING:Dont forget your Lunch!

PHRASE:Cuir ort do ch�ta
PRONOUNCED:kwer urt duh koh-tha
MEANING:Put on your coat

PHRASE:T� s� fuar go leor inniu
PRONOUNCED:taw shay foor guh lore inn-u
MEANING:It is cold today

PHRASE:D�an deifir n� beimid mall
PRONOUNCED:dane djeffer no baim-eed moll
MEANING:Hurry or we will be late

PHRASE: Is binn b�al ina thost PRONOUNCED: iss bin bail inna hust MEANING: Silence is golden

PHRASE: N� h� l� na gaoithe l� na scolb PRONOUNCED: knee hay law nah gwee-heh law nah sculb MEANING: The windy day is not the day for thatching

PHRASE: Is fearr rith maith n� drochsheasamh PRONOUNCED: iss farr rih mot nah druch-shas-ivh MEANING: He who runs away lives to fight another day

PHRASE: Is binn b�al ina thost
PRONOUNCED: iss bin bail inna hust
MEANING: Silence is golden

PHRASE: N� h� l� na gaoithe l� na scolb
PRONOUNCED: knee hay law nah gwee-heh law nah sculb
MEANING: The windy day is not the day for thatching

PHRASE: Is fearr rith maith n� drochsheasamh
PRONOUNCED: iss farr rih mot nah druch-shas-ivh
MEANING: He who runs away lives to fight another day

PHRASE: Eist moran agus can beagan
PRONOUNCED: aisht more-on ogus kon byug-on
MEANING: Hear much and say little

PHRASE: Is minic a gheibhean beal oscailt diog dunta!
PRONOUNCED: iss minik ah gevh-yun bail uskult dee-ug doon-tah
MEANING: An open mouth often catches a closed fist

PHRASE: De reir a cheile a thogtar na caisleain
PRONOUNCED: day rare ah kayla a hug-tur nah cosh-lawn
MEANING: It takes time to build castles



PHRASE:O m'anam
PRONOUNCED:oh muh anim
MEANING:From my heart

PHRASE: a ghra mo chroi
PRONOUNCED: ah graw muh kree
MEANING: Love of my heart

PHRASE: Saol fada chugat
PRONOUNCED: sail faddah coogit
MEANING: Long life to you

PHRASE: Codladh samh
PRONOUNCED:cullah sovh
MEANING: Sleep well

PHRASE: cuimhnigh i gconai
PRONOUNCED: cweeve-nee ih go-nee
MEANING: Always remember

PHRASE: Is fearr Gaeilge briste, na Bearla cliste
PRONOUNCED: iss far gale-geh brishteh naw bear-elh clish-teh
MEANING: Broken Irish is better than clever English

PHRASE: Ni tir gan teanga
PRONOUNCED: nee tier gon tyan-geh
MEANING: No nation/land without a language

PHRASE: Is fhearr fheuchainn na bhith san duil
PRONOUNCED: iss far vue-chonn nah vith san du-ill
MEANING: It is better to try than to hope

PHRASE: Tada gan iarracht
PRONOUNCED: taw-dah gonn ear-ockt
MEANING: Nothing is done without effort

PHRASE: Cha d'dh�in doras nach d'fhosgail doras
PRONOUNCED: caw dih-doo-inn durriss nock dus-gall duriss
MEANING:No door closed without another opening

PHRASE: N�l agam ach beag�in�n Gaeilge.
PRONOUNCED: kneel ah-gum ock byug-aneen gayle-geh
MEANING: I speak only a little Irish

PHRASE: An miste leat labhairt n�os moille?
PRONOUNCED: on mishteh lat low-art neice mwille
MEANING: Can you speak a little slower

PHRASE: N� thuigim
PRONOUNCED: knee higimm
MEANING: I dont understand

PHRASE: an Samhradh, an Fhomhair, an Geimhreadh, an tEarrach
PRONOUNCED:on sow-rah, on o-wirr, on geh-rahh, on tarrack
MEANING:Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring

PHRASE:ta se gaofar/fuar/ag cur baisti
PRONOUNCED:taw shay gayfur/foor/egg curr bah-stee
MEANING:It is windy/cold/raining

PHRASE:La brea ata ann
PRONOUNCED:lah brah ahtaw ow-inn
MEANING:It's a lovely day

PHRASE:Corp dicheile
PRONOUNCED:corp dee-kayleh
MEANING:The height of folly

PHRASE:Rogha an da dhiogha
PRONOUNCED:rowah on daw deegah
MEANING:The lesser of two evils

PHRASE:Bua na cainte
PRONOUNCED:boo-ah nah coin-che
MEANING:The gift of the gab (ability to converse)

PHRASE:Thar gach ni eile...
PRONOUNCED:har gock nee ella
MEANING:Above all else...

PHRASE:Ni mor a admhail....
PRONOUNCED:nee moor ah ad-voll
MEANING:It must be admitted...

PHRASE:Ar an iomlan...
PRONOUNCED:air on um-lun
MEANING:On the whole...

PHRASE: Ni mor a admhail...
PRONOUNCED:knee moor ah ad-voll
MEANING:It has to be admitted....

PHRASE:Is baolach...
PRONOUNCED:iss bwail-ock

PHRASE:de reir dealramh
PRONOUNCED:day rare deall-ruv

PHRASE:Ni neart go cur le cheile.
PRONOUNCED:nee hyart guh curr leh kay-lah
MEANING:there is no strength without unity

PHRASE:Nil aon tintean mar do thintean fein.
PRONOUNCED:neel ain tintin marr duh hin-tin fane
MEANING:there is no hearth like your own hearth

PHRASE:Is folamh fuar e teach gan bean.
PRONOUNCED:iss full-ivv foor a chock gon ban (a as in a,b,c)
MEANING:it is a cold house without a woman

PHRASE:Ni lia duine na tuairim
PRONOUNCED:nee lee-ah dinnah nah toor-im
MEANING:Everyone has their own opinion

PHRASE:Ni lia tir na nos
PRONOUNCED:nee lee-ah tear no-iss
MEANING:every country has it's own customs

PHRASE:Is leir don saol e an firinne
PRONOUNCED:iss lair dun sail a on firr-inyeh (a as in a,b,c)
MEANING:everybody knows the truth

PHRASE:Thar gach ni eile
PRONOUNCED:har gock knee ellya
MEANING:Above all else

PHRASE:Ni mor a admhail
PRONOUNCED:knee moor ah advile
MEANING:it must be admitted

PHRASE:Ar an ioml�n
PRONOUNCED:air on umlawn
MEANING:on the whole

PHRASE:Maire/Seosaimh bhocht
PRONOUNCED:moir-eh/show-suff buckt?
MEANING:Poor Maire/Mary/Joseph

PHRASE:Ta si/se ag caoineadh
PRONOUNCED:taw shee/shay egg cween-idd
MEANING:She/he is crying

PHRASE:Thit si/se ar an urlar
PRONOUNCED:hit shee/shay air onn urr-lore
MEANING:She/he fell on the floor

PHRASE:Cad is ainm duit?
PRONOUNCED:coad iss annim dwit
MEANING:What is your name?

PHRASE:An bhfuil tu damhsa liom?
PRONOUNCED:On will two dowsa lum
MEANING:Would you like to dance with me?

PHRASE:Iocfaidh mise don gach rud!
PRONOUNCED:uck-igg misha dun gock rud
MEANING:I will pay for everything!

PHRASE:An bhfuil pian ort?
PRONOUNCED:On will peen urt
MEANING:Are you in any pain?

PHRASE:Gheobhaidh me an bhanaltra duit
PRONOUNCED:yo-igg on bonn-altra dwit
MEANING:I will get the nurse for you

PHRASE:Beidh an dochtuir anseo gan mhoill.
PRONOUNCED:beg on docktoor onshuh gon vwill
MEANING:The doctor will be here soon

PHRASE:Thalla a chluiche le do deideagan
PRONOUNCED:hallah ah clih-heh leh duh daid-aginn
MEANING:Go play with your toys

PHRASE:D� tha thu ah deanamh?
PRONOUNCED:day taw two ah dyane-iff
MEANING:What are you making/doing ?

PHRASE:Ta me a dheanamh dealbh
PRONOUNCED:Taw ah yea/niff dyalb
MEANING:I am making a picture

PHRASE:Cad ba mhaith leat?
PRONOUNCED:cod buh woh latt?
MEANING:What would you like?

PHRASE:Ar mhaith leat caife, tea, bainne?
PRONOUNCED:air wott lat caffey, tay, bonn-yah
MEANING:Would you like coffee, tea, milk?

PHRASE:B'fhearr liom liomanaid, beoir, uisce beatha
PRONOUNCED:byarr lum lee-mun-oid, byorr, isk-ihh bah-ha
MEANING:I would prefer lemonade, beer, whiskey

PHRASE: An mor ata air?
PRONOUNCED:on moor ah-taw err
MEANING:What price is this?

PHRASE:Ceannoid me e
PRONOUNCED:kyann-owid a ('a' as in USA)
MEANING: I will buy it

PHRASE:An dtogann tu cartai credit?
PRONOUNCED:on dowg-inn two kartee kredit
MEANING:Do you accept credit cards?

PHRASE:Bi ciuin! Ta tinneas cinn orm.
PRONOUNCED:bee quewn! Taw tinniss kinn urm
MEANING:Be quiet! I have a headache.

PHRASE:Is cuma liom!
PRONOUNCED:is cumma lum
MEANING:I dont care!

PHRASE:Go hifreann leat!
PRONOUNCED:Guh hee-fran lath
MEANING:To hell with you!

PHRASE:Ta me/tu go hiontach
PRONOUNCED:taw /two guh hun-tock
MEANING:I/you am wonderful

PHRASE:Ta se/si are buille
PRONOUNCED:taw shay/shee air bool-yeh
MEANING:He/she is angry

PHRASE:Ta sinn/sibh/siad tuirseach
PRONOUNCED:taw shin/shiv/sheed tear-shock
MEANING:We/us/they are tired

PHRASE:Ni ceart go cur le cheile
PRONOUNCED:knee keart guh kurr leh kail-eh
MEANING:There is no strength without unity

PHRASE:Is maith an scathan suil charad
PRONOUNCED:iss mot on scah-hawn sewell karr-add
MEANING:A friends eye is a good mirror

PHRASE:Ni hespa go dith carad
PRONOUNCED:knee hes-pah guf dee karr-add
MEANING:There is no need like the lack of a friend

PHRASE:Ta athas/bron/fearg/ocras/tart orm
PRONOUNCED:taw aw-iss/broin/farg/ock-ros/tart urr-im
MEANING:I am happy/sorry/angry/hungry/thirsty

PHRASE:Ta tu mall/go luath/go halainn/ard/go tapaidh
PRONOUNCED:taw two moll/guh loo-ah/guh hall-inn/ard/guh top-igg
MEANING:You are late/early/beautful/tall/fast

PHRASE:Ta se te/fuar/fliuch/tirim amach
PRONOUNCED:taw shay teh/fuirr/fluch/tirrim amock
MEANING:It is hot/cold/wet/dry outside

PHRASE:Nil aon leigheas ar an ngra ach posadh
PRONOUNCED:neel ain laygus air on grah ock pus-idd
MEANING:The only cure for love is marriage

PHRASE:An rud a lionas an tsuil lionann se an croi
PRONOUNCED:on rud ah lean-uss on sewell lean-onn shay on kree
MEANING:What fills the eye fills the heart

PHRASE:Giorraionn beirt bothar
PRONOUNCED:gurr-on bert boh-hurr
MEANING:Two shorten the road

PHRASE:Ni ceart go cur le cheile
PRONOUNCED:knee keart guh kurr leh kay-leh
MEANING:There is no strength without unity

PHRASE:Ni heolas go haontios!
PRONOUNCED:knee hyeo-luss guh hain-chiss
MEANING:You cant know me without living with me!

PHRASE:Olann an cat cluin bainne leis!
PRONOUNCED:ull-onn on kot clew-in bonn-yeh lesh
MEANING:The quiet cat also drinks milk!

PHRASE:Conas ata tu?
PRONOUNCED:cunn-us ah-taw two
MEANING:How are you?

PHRASE:Glacfaidh me do theocht/chuisle
PRONOUNCED:glock-igg duh teowked/cush-leh
MEANING:I will take your temperature/pulse

PHRASE:Gheobhaidh me an bhanaltra/dochtuir duit.
PRONOUNCED:geow-igg on bawn-all-tra/dock-tour dwit
MEANING:I will get the nurse/doctor for you

PHRASE:Mo seanathair agus seanmathair
PRONOUNCED:muh sean-ah-hirr ogg-us shan-wah-hirr
MEANING:My Grandfather and Grandmother

PHRASE:Dearthair, deirfiur, aint�n, uncail
PRONOUNCED:dre-harr, dre-furrh, on-teen, un-kol
MEANING:Brother, sister, auntie, uncle

PHRASE:Mathair, athair, mac, inin
PRONOUNCED:wah-hirr, ah-hirr, mack, ineen
MEANING:Mother, father, son, daughter

PHRASE: An toigh leat te/cofaidh/bainne ?
PRONOUNCED:on tow-ig lat tay/cof-aid/bon-yeh
MEANING:Would you like tea/coffe/milk ?

PHRASE: An gabh thu tuilleadh?
PRONOUNCED:on govh two tyew-lid
MEANING:Will you have some more?

PHRASE: Tapadh leat
PRONOUNCED:tapah lat
MEANING:Thank you

PHRASE:Gardai! Ta se prainneach.
PRONOUNCED:gard-ee! Taw shay pronn-ack
MEANING:Police! It's an emergency.

PHRASE:Taim i gcruachais anois
PRONOUNCED:tah-imm ih grew-cuss ah-nish
MEANING:I need your help now

PHRASE:Chaill me mo mhala.
PRONOUNCED:kyle muh wall-ah/spar-awn/tick-aid
MEANING:I lost my bag/wallet/ticket

PHRASE:Gabh mo leithscaal
PRONOUNCED:govh muh leh-skayle
MEANING:Excuse me

PHRASE:Nil Gaeilge maith agam
PRONOUNCED:kneel gale-geh mot ah-gum
MEANING:I cannot speak Irish very well

PHRASE:An Bhfuil Bearla/Gaeilge agat
PRONOUNCED:on will bear-lah/gale-geh ah-gut
MEANING:Do you speak English/Irish

PHRASE:Ta me i gcruachais.
PRONOUNCED:tah ih grew-kuss
MEANING:I need your help

Which words did the Irish invent for our own use, and which ones travelled around the globe? From words emerging from the Irish language via Hiberno-English classics to unexpected words coined by Irish people, this history of Ireland in 90 words covers everything from anatomy and gambling to avocados.

1: Shebeen

From the Irish “síbín”, this is the first of many words in this list related to general divilment and rúla búla. Perhaps nowhere was the concept of the shebeen more embraced than in South African townships, where they are an important part of the social and cultural landscape.

2: Gubu

The acronym for “grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented” can now refer to any political or legal wrangling. Conor Cruise O’Brien coined it as his pithy take on Charlie Haughey’s response to the discovery of the murderer Malcolm Macarthur in the attorney general’s home in 1982.

3: Begrudgery

Apparently still the default Irish disposition when greeted with another’s success and happiness. Feck them anyway. The Middle English word “bigrucchen” meant “to grumble about”; the Irish made “begrudge” a noun.

4: Sap

Eighteenth- and 19th-century Scottish and English schoolboy slang (“sapskull”, “saphead”) that the Irish took and shortened. Internet slang now occasionally reinterprets it as the acronym for “sad and pathetic”.

5: Craic

“Craic” journeyed from Middle English (“crak”) via Shakespeare to 18th-century Scotland (both crack) and was then adopted into Hiberno-English in the mid-20th century and given its Gaelic spelling. A disposition, a state of being, a sin to not be any, the craic – like many quintessentially Irish things, from St Patrick to chippers – isn’t Irish at all but is very much our own.

6: Mot or moth

From the Irish “maith”, meaning “good” (but also “well” and “like”), the term for someone’s girlfriend. The word for yer burd, as it were.

7: Gob

A casual Irish word for “mouth” (the toast “gob fliuch”, for example); also used for “beak”.

8: Hooligan

This almost certainly comes from a twist on the surname Hoolihan. In the 1890s the English comic paper Nuggets featured an Irish immigrant family called the Hooligans, depicted in a typically pejorative way.

9: Lock-in

The illegal period of drinking in a closed pub after hours that Saoirse Ronan blew the cover on when she tried to explain the concept to Jimmy Fallon last year.

10: You dig?

The jazz and beat slang about being hip to the groove comes from the Irish “tuig” – or, more accurately, “dtuig”, as in “an dtuigeann tú?”; the “d” is an eclipsis, or urú, before the “t” of “tuigeann” (“understand”). Ya get me?

11: Acushla

An old term of affection, from “a chuisle mo chroí” (“pulse of my heart”). Awww.

12: Béal bocht

An Béal Bocht, the novel that Brian O’Nolan published in 1941 as Myles na gCopaleen, parodied the miserylit of Peig and An t-Oileánach, but “to put on the poor mouth” was an expression before na gCopaleen also parodied the title of An Béal Beo, Tomás Ó Máille’s 1936 collection of Irish words and phrases.

13: Round

According to Condé Nast Traveler’s article “How not to look like a tourist at an Irish pub”, “If you go out in a group with a bunch of Irish people, watch for your companions buying rounds. It’s common here for people to buy a round for the group, then the next round is on the next person.” They left out the social ostracisation and lifelong character assassination that can follow for those who don’t get the round in.

14: Trad

A shortening of “traditional”; an entire music scene.

15: Poker

Possibly originating from the Irish “póca”, as in your pocket, or what’s in it.

16: Boycott

From Capt Charles Boycott, agent for the absentee Mayo landlord Lord Erne during the Land War (1878-1909). Charles Stewart Parnell, as president of the Irish National Land League, kicked it off by urging people to ostracise anyone who attempted to take the farms of evicted tenants. Boycott became one of the first victims when he tried to evict tenants after they demanded a decent rent decrease following a poor harvest at Lough Mask near Ballinrobe. Stinger.

17: Donnybrook 

This term, meaning a very public quarrel, or “brawl”, isn’t exactly common in Ireland, but it crops up in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and North America. It emerged from the notoriously disorderly Donnybrook Fair, which began in the 13th century and ran for 500 years, and itself is derived from Domhnach Broc, or Saint Broc’s Church. (In place names “Domhnach” means “Church”. It also means “Sunday” – or, more accurately given its origins in the Latin “dies Dominica”, “the Lord’s Day”.)

18: Bog

The name for the peaty wetland found across Ireland is the Irish for “soft”.

19: Culchie

The pejorative Hiberno-English term that urban sophisticates use to describe their rural cousins. But where does it come from? Many have suggested “cúl an tí”, as in the “back of the house”: down the country you enter through the back door rather than the front; or, as servants, you entered the back door of your bosses’ homes. Another origin could be from the Co Mayo town of Kiltimagh, or Coillte Mach, with “culchie” emerging from the Irish word “coillte”, or “woods”. Either way, it only really became popular to describe people from the country in the 1960s, when Dubliners needed something to counter . . .

20: Jackeen

Those east-coast Union Jack-waving eejits #DublinForSam.

21: Brogue 

Long before Gucci was designing shoes, this basic footwear made from hide was worn in Ireland, and was so commonplace it needed only to be called “bróg”, or shoe.

22: Leprechaun 

The earliest known reference to a leprechaun is in a medieval story about the king of Ulster being kidnapped by three of the wily sprites and dragged into the sea. Sound. Although leprechauns appear in little Irish mythology, their international reputation as being intrinsic to Irish folklore was solidified by the 1959 Disney film Darby O’Gill and the Little People – and, of course, by Jennifer Aniston’s 1993 movie debut, in the horror film Leprechaun, tag line “Your luck just ran out.”

23: Baloobas 

A term originating from the name of the Baluba tribe, in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Mistaking Irish United Nations peacekeeping troops for European mercenaries, some of its members launched an ambush and killed nine Irish soldiers at Niemba, in Katanga Province, in 1960.

24: Slogan

From “sluagh-ghairm”, the call of a crowd (“sluagh” is now mostly “slua”), as in a battle cry. So “slogan” emerged from the battle cries of a clan.

25: Tory 

Oddly enough, the common term for a member of the British Conservative Party comes from the Irish “tóraidhe”, referring to a bandit. In the late 17th century Whigs were those who didn’t want James, duke of York, to succeed Charles II, as he was Catholic. The duke’s sympathisers became known as Tories.

26: Banshee

From “bean sídhe”, woman of the fairies / supernatural / elves, and an Irish contribution to campfire ghost stories.

27: Shamrock

From the Irish “seamróg”, meaning young clover. Our symbol, St Patrick’s way of explaining the deities of Christianity, Aer Lingus’s logo, and a squiggle on the creamy head of Guinness in Irish bars across the globe.

28: Kip

The state you left the place in, and another adopted Irish slang word, from Middle Low German via Middle Dutch, a kipbeing a bundle of hides – which is probably what was strewn across your bedroom floor if I could even see it under all those clothes.

29: Gowl

Could it be from the Irish “gall”, for foreigner? Or, more likely, “gabhal”, which has multiple meanings, including a fork in a road, gap, junction or, of course, crotch?

30: Gee

On that subject, this probably comes from “Sheela-na-gig”, or “Síla na gCíoch”, carvings of naked Irish women exposing their genitals, which are found across Ireland, primary on old stone churches, round towers and castles.

31: Puck

As in the character from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His name potentially comes from the Irish “púca”, which, although it generally means “ghost”, is slightly more complex than a mere spirit, and could also be a shape-shifter, taking the form of a horse, a goat or another animal.

32: Galore

As in “go leor”, many.

33: Deadly 

Following the trend of using ordinarily negative words to describe things positively – wicked, sick, insane, killing it – “deadly” is a quintessential contemporary Dublin word with which to signify something’s coolness. “Deadly” is used by Aboriginal people in Australia in the same way. It’s not known which part of the world began using it first.

34: Cute hoor

Pretty self-explanatory if you’re Irish, from “cute”, as in sly, and “hoor”, as in whore. Particularly aimed at those in business, politics and anywhere else that deals are cut.

35: Chancing your arm

A phrase that was born in 1492, when the Butlers of Ormonde and the FitzGeralds of Kildare were involved in a dispute that culminated in the Butlers’ going to St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, where they were followed by the FitzGeralds. When the FitzGeralds asked the Butlers to come out, so they could make peace, the Butlers refused, leading Gerald FitzGerald to suggest a hole be cut in the door, to offer his handshake – aka chancing one’s arm. The Door of Reconciliation is still there today.

36: Scoop

Slang for a drink that was for a time ubiquitous in Dublin, as it overtook “jar”.

37: Sound

Emerging from British slang, and not exactly deviating from its original etymology of being in a state of health, as in “safe and sound”, to mean decent.

38: Soft day

Although this type of weather isn’t unique to Ireland, our description of it is. When rain is misty to the point of invisibility yet still wet, when there’s poor visibility and a hazy sort of cloud, when the temperature isn’t too cold, when the drizzle seems to linger in suspended animation.

39: Quark

The term for a subatomic particle was inspired by James Joyce. Murray Gell-Mann, the American theoretical physicist who proposed the existence of quarks, spelled it “quork” until he came across the lines “Three quarks for Muster Mark! Sure he hasn’t got much of a bark. And sure any he has it’s all beside the mark,” describing the sound of a gull, in Finnegans Wake.

40: Grand

The ultimate Irish response and affirmation that in any other context means something far . . . grander. As well as meaning “fine”, or just “okay”, “grand” can also mean substantial and pleasant, however, such as “grand stretch”, noting the brightness of an evening.

41: Session

Going on “the sesh” – as in going drinking, and possibly consuming other substances, followed by a party at someone’s house – has spawned a vocabulary all of its own. But could the term have emerged from another raucous Irish party, the traditional-music session?

42: Gallivanting 

“That’s enough gallivanting for one week” may be a very Irish phrase – so much so that it has ended up on tea towels – but it comes from early 19th-century English (“gallant”), as a term for flirting with women, or “to gad about”.

43: Splitting the stones

As in the sun is . . . Comes from the Irish phrase “Tá an ghrian ag scoilteadh na gcloch.”

44: Gaff

This slang for “house” is especially common in Ireland, Manchester and east London. Its origins are uncertain, but one theory is that derives from a Romany word for a market town. In the 18th century it came to mean an inexpensive theatre or music hall.

45: Lash

Another word the Irish have attached multiple meanings to. To go on the lash: to go drinking excessively. Lashing down: raining hard. He’s some lash: a good-looking fella. Give it a lash: attempt something.

46: Nixer

The etymology of a side job, or a short-term gig for cash in hand, is unclear but surely has to be simply “nix” – from the German “nichts”, or “nothing” – with an -er at the end.

47: Naggin

The word for a 200ml bottle of spirits comes from “noggin”, a drink measure whose name is derived from the Irish “naigín”, meaning a small wooden pail.

48: Give out

To give someone a talking to, from the Irish “tabhair amach”. Giving out yards, gave out stink, and so on.

49: Mar dhea

A great sceptical Irish term, it essentially means “yeah, right” or “as if”.

50: Thick

It’s unclear when “being thick with someone” came to mean being annoyed with them, but it’s a common term.

51: Shenanigans

An Irish-American favourite, it certainly sounds as if it derives from Irish, but its origins are unknown. There’s a theory that it comes from “sionnach”, as in fox – perhaps to be sly or devious, or to mess around.

52: Banjaxed 

A peculiar word, meaning broken beyond repair, that originated around the 1930s, but its etymology is unknown. The Scottish might be able to shed some light on it, given that to be “banjoed” means to be hit as hard as possible, and subsequently “banjoed” almost means wrecked.

53: Sheila

The Australian slang for “woman” comes from the Irish name “Síle”.

54: On the long finger

“Ar an mhéar fhada”, as in to postpone something; it comes from the Irish proverb “Cuir gach rud ar an mhéar fhada agus beidh an mhéar fhada róghairid ar ball”, which means “If you put everything on the long finger, then the long finger will be too short in time.”

55: Slew

Another word originating from the Irish for crowd, “sluagh”. See also word 24.

56: Feck

Less offensive than the other bad word, and popularised in Britain when Father Ted became a hit.

57: Whopper

Massive, and therefore great. Not to be confused with the burger.

58: Tenterhooks

The hooks on a tenter, a tenter being a large wooden frame used in clothmaking. Fabric was stretched on the hooks and frame, giving rise to the saying “on tenterhooks”, as in to be in a state of tension. The hooks and frames were such a part of Dublin life that the city’s wool-producing district in the 16th and 17th centuries was known as the Tenters.

59: Jacks

Derived from a Tudor term for toilet – jakes – back in the 1500s.

60: Beour 

This term for a girl, attractive woman or someone’s girlfriend, which has various spellings, emerged from the term for “woman” in Shelta, the old Traveller language.

61: Langer

The ultimate Cork term, but where did it come from? Our favourite theory is the India-based Royal Munster Fusiliers being pestered by langur monkeys.

62: Yoke

It’s no wonder the meaning of this word is always shifting, given that it’s used as a catch-all term, from a collar that attached a plough to animals to pretty much anything – grab that yoke – to an ecstasy pill.

63: A1

Roddy Doyle’s The Snapper predates the change in the Leaving Certificate grading system, but high praise is still A1, Sharon.

64: Malapropism 

Mrs Malaprop is a character in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s 1775 play, The Rivals, who misuses words, as in her request “to illiterate him, I say, quite from your memory”.

65: After

Are you after having your dinner, or only after washing your hair? The Hiberno-English use of “after” confuses other English speakers, but it represents the Irish conjunction “tar éis”. It makes sense to us, at least.

66: Turf

In English, German, Dutch and Icelandic it means a piece of earth covered with grass. In Ireland it means a sod or sods of peat, and there is no plural.

67: Pure

An intensifier to enhance the word following it. Pure sound, like.

68: The Shades

A term for police, often used to describe plain-clothes police, thought to have originated in Limerick, and may be related to their eyewear.

69: Hillbilly

The pejorative term for people living in rural areas of the United States, particularly around the Ozark Mountains (Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas) and Appalachia, initially related to the 18th-century Ulster Protestant settlers in the Appalachian Mountains. Some think the term comes from supporters of King William III, Billy’s Boys; others point to a Scottish word for companion, “billie”, combining with the hills both the Ulster and Scottish immigrants lived on.

70: Snug

A small, snug area of a bar where women who were less welcome in the main area of the pub could drink discreetly, as could others who wanted a private moment.

71: Hot press

The term for an airing cupboard that only the Irish use.

72: Spondoolicks 

A term for cash that has journeyed around American, British and Irish slang and could actually comes from the Greek “spondulox”, a type of shell used as an early form of money. James Joyce used the word, in its spelling spondulics, in Ivy Day in the Committee Room, one of the short stories in Dubliners, in 1914.

73: Eejit 

The Hiberno-English pronunciation of “idiot”, which we took and made our own.

74: Avocado

Although variations of the word had been written down for years (aguacate, alvacata and avocatas, for example), the first recorded used of “avocado” was by Sir Hans Sloane, the naturalist born in Co Down. He published a catalogue of Jamaican plants in 1696 in which he described the avocado, whose name emerged from the Aztec or Nahuatl word for testicle, because of its shape. Remember that next time you’re smashing one on some toast.

75: Monoideal

A term meaning fixating on or conveying only one idea, as coined by James Joyce in Ulysses, from the psychological concept of monoideism.

76: A rake of

A lot of, or many.

77: Whiskey

From the Irish word for water, “uisce”. Not to be confused with Scottish “whisky”.

78: Yer man/Yer wan

One of the reasons referring to someone as “yer man” or “yer wan” is so interesting is that it has contradictory meanings. The first could be a reference to someone whose name or identity is uncertain or momentarily forgotten (“you know who I’m talking about, what’s his face, yer man from down the road”), the second a coded reference that intentionally omits the identity (“we all know what yer wan will think about that”).

79: Come here to me

Listen up and lean in, even though you’re right beside me.

80: Dose

An awful dose of an illness, as in a large measurement of something, but that can lead to having a bad dose itself, which in term can lead to someone themselves being an awful dose.

81: Hames 

To make a hames of something has something in common with “yoke” (see word 62). Again, it’s a term related to fastening collars to animals. The hames are curved pieces of wood or iron attached to the collar of a draught horse, on which you then attach the traces. Put it on the wrong way and, well, you’ve made a hames of it.

82: Cop on

This term seems to have taken the same route by which “cop” ended up referring to police, from the Old French “caper”, or seize. So “copping” something would mean acquiring it, and perhaps therefore became pared down to acquiring sense, but its origins are still a little muddy.

83: Spud

A pretty old word, dating back to the 15th century, that was used to describe a small knife, then various digging tools and, eventually, the vegetable itself. The term “pratie” comes from the Irish for potatoes, “prátaí”.

84: Bard

From the Old Irish “bard”, meaning poet or singer.

85: Minerals

In Ingenious Ireland: A County-by-County Exploration of Irish Mysteries and Marvels Mary Mulvihill mentions how Augustine Thwaites, the apothecary who founded Thwaites & Co, began making mineral waters in the mid-1700s. We can assume that Irish people’s use of “minerals” to refer to soft drinks and sodas comes from mineral waters. When its factory on Moore Lane in Dublin closed, in 1927, the company was taken over by Cantrell & Cochrane (now C&C Group). Ireland has an illustrious history of mineral-inventing. It’s claimed that Thwaites’s son developed soda water while studying medicine at Trinity College Dublin, and ginger ale was invented by the American doctor Thomas Cantrell in Belfast. Side fact: Club Orange was named after the Kildare Street gentleman’s club.

86: Bodge

Although in British slang this refers to a huge error, in an Irish context “no bodge” means “no bother”.

87: Smithereens 

From the Irish “smidirín”. 

88: Sleeveen

A sly person. The term is often used in politics or business to refer to someone who uses smooth talk to get their own way, or borderline-nefarious means for personal benefit. It comes from the Irish word “slíbhín”, which means a trickster, particularly a silver-tongued one.

89: Fooster

Trying to find your keys in your bag, forgetting your phone and then having to go back again for your wallet, messing around with a bunch of belongings, putting things in and out of drawers. That’s right, you’re foostering. Would you ever stop? Comes from the Irish word “fúster”, meaning fussy sort of behaviour.

90: Up to 90

Stressed out, agitated, unbelievably busy. Could it mean at 90mph (similar to “going ninety”, or reaching boiling point, or with a heart rate of more than 90bpm? For some reason, “up to 90” tends to be used more by Irish women than men.

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