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Expat Life

Visiting Ireland? Over 80 Slangs & Phrases You Might Want to Know

Irish Slangs: Quick Tutorial

New to Ireland? If you constantly feel lost in the middle of a conversation, we’re here to help with the lingo. 

Famous for Guinness, black pudding and green hills, the beautiful country of Ireland is known for the amazing countryside, stunning cities and – sometimes – its gregarious natives. 

So, if you’re trying to pick up accents and Irish slangs from television shows or movies, just a little reminder that the accent varies from region to region.  

So, stall the ball, guys, a hape of common Irish slangs are coming your way. 

Food Terms 

Irish Terms  Meanings 
Afters  Dessert 
Gargle  Beer or alcohol 
Messages  Shopping or groceries 
Pan  Bread 
Pandy  Mashed potatoes 
Poppy  Potatoes 
Scald  Tea 
Scuttered, Ossified, Mouldy, Buckled  To be drunk 
Scoops  Alcoholic drink 
Jar  Beer 
Gowl   An annoying person 
Whisht  Hush (used to demand silence) 
Banjaxed  Used to describe something that’s not in working condition 
Scarlet  Embarrassed 
Mank  Extremely gross 
Eejit  Idiot 

 

Slang word(s)  Meaning 
Acting the maggot  Fooling around 
Bad dose  Severe illness 
Bags (To make a bags of something)  Make a mess of doing something 
Bang on  Right, accurate, correct 
Black stuff  Guinness 
Boyo  Male, juvenile 

 

Brutal  Awful, dreadful 
Bucketing down  Raining hard 
Bunk Off  Skip school or work 
Chancer  Someone who takes risk 
Chiseler  Young child (Dublin slang) 
Ciotóg  Left-handed 
Cod/Codding ya  To pull someone’s leg 
Craic  Fun or gossip 
Crack on  Get going 
Culchie  A person from a rural/agricultural area 
Stall the ball  Slow down or stop. It’s commonly used in the pubs as a way of saying wait while I finish my drink 

  

Cute hoor  A person who quietly manages things to their own advantage 
Delira and Excira  Delighted and excited (Dublin slang) 
Deadly  Brilliant, fantastic, great 
Donkey’s years  For a veryvery long time 
Dosser  Someone not working or messing about, up to no good 
Eat the head off  To give out to someone 
Earwiging  Listening in on a private conversation 
Effin’ and Blindin  Swearing and cursing 
Fair play!  Well done! 
Hape  An absolute load of something 
Fella  Used for your guy, as in ‘Me Fella’ partner/husband/boyfriend 
Fierce  Very good, great, excellent 
Fine thing  Good looking man or woman 
Fluthered  Very drunk 
Gaff  Home, to have a ‘free gaff’ means you are home alone 
Gammy  Crooked, or odd looking 
Gander  Quick glance 
Gas  Funny or amusing 
Gawk  To stare rudely 
Get outta that garden  Fun phrase used in a conversation to get a laugh, reaction 
Grand  The term has a variety of uses. Some of the common ones are: reply to ‘How are you?’, ‘how are you feeling?’ or to ‘being told of a decision’ 
Hames/Haymes   Complete mess 
Holy Joe   self-righteous person 
Holy show   Disgraceful scene 
How’s he / she cuttin’?   Used to ask ‘How are you?’ or ‘What’s the news?’ 
Jackeen  A city dweller, especially a Dubliner 
Jacks   Toilet 
Jo Maxi   Taxi, cab 
Kip   Used to refer to sleep; a dirty or unpleasant place  
Knackered   Exhausted, tired 
Langers   Drunk 
Lash  The word has the following meanings: 

  1. To rain hard 
  1. To make an attempt at something  
  1. To go out drinking 
Leg it   To run away quickly 
Locked   Very drunk 
Manky    Dirty, Filthy 
Moran  Fool 
Mortified   Highly embarrassed 
Murder   Very difficult or to really want to do something 
Nixer  An extra or irregular job, the income from which is not declared for taxation purposes 
Not the full shilling   Not fully sane 
On the tear   Going drinking 
Oul’ Fella   Father 
Oul‘ Dear / Oul‘ Wan   Mother, Mom 
Pictures   Movies, film 
Puss   Sulky face 
Rugger Bugger  Someone who is posh, loud and loves Rugby 
Savage   Great, brilliant 
Shattered   Exhausted 
Sorry   Used to mean sorry or excuse me or pardon me 
Story?   What’s happening? 
Suckin’ diesel   Refers to something moving forward 
The Pale   Anywhere in the region of Dublin 
Thick   Extremely stupid  
Trinners   Trinity College Dublin 
Throw shapes  Show off, sometimes aggressively  
Haven’t a baldies  When you are unsure of an answer to a question 
Yonks  A long time  
Melter  A person who is very annoying 
Black Mariah    Police van 
Blackers   Blackberries 
Blarney   Nonsense 
Blackguard   To give someone a hard time 
Bombardier   A type of Irish bus 
Bonnet  Car hood 
Boreen  Narrow lane 
Chancer  A dodgy or risky character 
Cheek  Disrespect 
Cheese on your chin   chat 
Chipper  Fish and chip shop 
Doing (or speaking) 90 to the dozen  Going (or speaking) very fast 
Down the swanie  Down the drain 
Flahulach  Flamboyant; also, very generous 
Janey Mack! / Japers!  Gosh, really? 
Jibber   person afraid to try new things 
Narky  Cranky 
Nawful  Terrible 
Sell ya the eye out of your head   Acon man who will sell anything 
Yoyo  Euro 
Zonk   One-pound coin 
You couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo  An uncoordinated person 
Your head’s a marley  You don’t know what you’re talking about  

Common Irish Phrases 

Phrases  Meanings 
Sure, look it  An expression that’s used when people are in a situation where you’re not sure what to say 
A whale of a time  If someone says they are having a whale of a time they mean they’re enjoying themselves very much 
Who all’s there?  Usually asked over the phone when someone wants to know how many people are in a certain place 
Go way outta that  Has several meanings including exclamation of disbelief or don’t be silly or it’s no trouble  
Was it any use?  Was it any good? 
Donkey’s years  A veryvery long time 
Happy out  It simply means to be happy 
Put the heart crossways  To give someone a fright 
Wet the tea  Put teabags in boiling water 
Like hen’s teeth  Extremely rare or impossible to obtain 
I will yea  A sarcastic way of saying that someone will definitely not do something 
I’m gunna head on  Going to leave 
Fierce weather  Threatening weather 
The dose is goin‘ round  Used to refer to a viral illness  
Do the washing  Wash clothes 
That’s a fret  An exclamation used to react to something unbelievable yet not completely impossible 

Well, that was quite a list, but we don’t claim to have covered every phrase and slang from the vast Irish treasure trove. You may have come across a few that are not on our list. So, do let us know in the comments if we have missed out on any Irish phrases, words or slang. We will surely put them in our list.

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