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Irish-English (Hiberno-English) terms and phrases

Afters Dessert
[To be] after Used in several past-tense verb forms. • "I'm after winning the lotto" means "I won the lotto."
• "I was after winning the lotto" means "I had won the lotto."
[See you] after [See you] later
[Tell her I was] askin' after [her]
Not so much "inquiring about" as "sending regards," whether a mere "say hello to" or a more-serious "tell him/her [on my behalf] to get well."
And (me [etc.] [doing something]) ...
"It was half-four and me coming out of there..."
And the rest. You can say that again. Agreement in full
Anything strange? What's new? Usually pronounced "ent'n strange?"
Amn't I? Aren't I?
Are y'alright? Not so much a question as a general greeting, in a shop or pub. Roughly translated: "May I help you?" One response is "could I have a Guinness, please." There is no rude connotation in the phrase. In a late club, "Y'alright, lads, please" means it's time to clear out.
Arsewise Ass-backwards
Ask me bollocks Bullshit "If you want to know the answer, you'll have to question my testicles" — either Podge or Rodge.
At nothin' Wasting your time, effort, etc. "... at nutn" ...
[See the] back of Be rid of "I think he'll just be glad to see the back of ya."
Bang on Spot on (That's exactly correct.)
Bang out of order Out of line, unacceptable Similar to "not on."
Banjaxed Broken down
Bells Time of day "8 bells," e.g. — 8 o'clock
[Your] best man The best option A particular object, for example
Bet Beat (past tense or present conditional) As in, "defeated" or "will/would defeat."
Also as in "bet the head off ya."
BIFFO Acronym for "big ignorant fucker from Offaly" Predates the political rise of Brian Cowen, Taoiseach [Prime Minister] from May of 2008 until January of 2011.
Black Crowded (A pub, for example)
[Can't get] blood from a stone [Can't get] blood from a turnip (If you don't have the money, you don't have it.)
Blow Hashish
[Like a] blue-arsed fly Running around... (Freneticaly busy)
Bob Pounds* "A few bob," or "the few bob." The expression has carried over, and is used in reference to the euro.
Bob's your uncle. You've got it made.
Bold Poorly-behaved
Brilliant Excellent Not a comment about intelligence, but an expression of enthusiastic approval. "Brillo" is a common abbreviation.
Bucketin' Raining hard
Buckled, etc. Drunk ("Pissed", in European English.)
Buffer Settled person, to a Traveller Irish Travellers are a nomadic minority population.
[You'd think] butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. He acts like he thinks he's pure.
'Bye. 'Bye. 'Bye. 'Bye. 'Bye. Telephone sendoff. (Quick succession, variable-speed repetition.)
Cacks Pants Most commonly heard as "relax the cacks."
Chalk and cheese Night and day ("Different as...")
Chance the arm To take a risk, expose oneself to embarrassment In a feud between the Irish families Ormond and Kildare in 1492, Sir James Butler, Earl of the Ormonds, holed up in Dublin's Saint Patrick's Cathedral. After several weeks, Gerald Fitzgerald, Earl of the Kildares, decided he wanted to end the feud. He went to the cathedral and requested entry. He promised he would do no harm. Sir James was suspicious, and refused him. Sir Gerald used a spear to hack through the wooden door a hole just big enough to put his arm into, which he did as a gesture of peace. James accepted, and the feud ended.
Cat No good (Shortened version of a Gaelic word I cannot spell.)
Chance [v.] To risk see also "chance the arm."
Chancer One who risks (But the connotation is not favorable.) ... "God loves a tryer, not a chancer." ...
Chipper Fish-and-chip shop Also "chippie"
Clatter (n.) Scuffle
Close Humid (The Irish talk about weather habitually.) ...
C'mere 'til I tell ya Listen [to this] Often simply "c'mere..."
Caught rotten Caught red-handed ...caught in the act, caught with one's hand in the cookie jar...
Caught lovely Same as "caught rotten," but from the opposite perspective
Coddin' Kidding or joking with "I'm not coddin' ya."
Cooker Stovetop and oven unit From the wider European (British) English
Cop on Get a grip, come to your senses, get a clue. "Some cop-on" = "some common sense."
Craic Craic is an Irish word, the rarity that is regularly used in Irish English • Good times, convivial humor
• "What's the craic?" — What's up? / How's it going?
• "It was good craic" — a good time.
• "Any craic?" — Anything going on?

Often spelled "crack," as it's pronounced.

Culchie Country person From either "agricultural;" or one of several Irish-language words. Derogatory. See jackeen.
Cute Sly, devious, clever A "cute hoor" is a sly fellow
How's she cuttin'? How're you doin'? May be agricultural in origin
Daub (somebody) in it Turn (somebody) in "Drop the dime"
The day that was in it The conditions being what they were
Dear Expensive   note: this one is Euro-English.
[Not a] dickie-bird Nothing, nobody "I rang them half-four. Not a dickie-bird."
Digout Assistance with a task; helping hand
Dinner Lunch
Divil the bit Nothing (In response to a "what's happening" question.) Literal meaning uncertain.
Does be is (emphasized form)
[The] dog's bollocks The shit [The business; the real thing]
[Made a] dog's dinner [of it] [Made] shit [of it,] loused it up
Donkey's years A long time Also "Zonks"
Don't give a monkey's Don't give a rat's ass (No mention of which part of the monkey one "doesn't give" in feeling no concern.)
Don't know meself I'm a new person Said of an improved employment situation, for example
Don't work too hard
A common way to wish a good day to someone who's working or heading toward their job.
Doss Goof off at work
[Had] drink taken [Was] under the influence The gards and the judges talk this way, and newspapers report it so.
Drop the hand Grab somebody's ass (arse)
Eejit Idiot
Effin' and blindin' Cursing to high heaven
Either Also "You could do that, either."
Et Eat or ate As in "chew out," castigate
Fair play Well done Often "fair play to ya" (same as "fair f*cks to ya")
Fair f*cks to ya Way to go Same as "fair play"
Fanny Vagina
Feck Mild form of the expletive "fuck." Acceptable in polite informal situations
Fierce (adv.) Very See "fierce and savage"
Flagon 2-litre plastic bottle (of hard cider)
Flange Vagina Possibly mostly Dublin
Flutter The buzz one gets from gambling "He enjoys an aul' flutter."
Footpath Sidewalk "Pavement," in European English
Fuck up Shut up (Sort of a hybrid of "shut up" and "fuck off")
Gaff Flat, apartment, house
Gammy Shitty, useless
Garda Policeman; member of An Garda Síochána Plural gardaí (formally.) Coloquially, however, "gard" and "gards"
Gargle (n) The drink
Gas (adj.) Funny "You're a gas man"
Gee (n) Vagina (Pronounced "ghee," with hard-g sound)
Ghost estate Empty housing development A vestige of the runaway "Celtic Tiger" economy
Git Derisive term for a person
Giving out Voicing disapproval
Complaining, asserting opinion or emotion. "Giving out yards" is the same, but more of it.
Gobsmacked Flabbergasted
Good man y'rself Well done
[A] good skin A good person

Go 'way You don't say
Grá Love "Shackleton, whose gra for a glass of whisky is well known...." — Irish Independent (newspaper)
Grand [Doing] fine "Oh, you're grand."
(The) guts of Most of
Half-nut'n' (half-nothing) Very cheap
Hames (of it) Mess (of it) "Made a hames of it." Rare, in modern use.
Handy Easy 1.) "Take it handy"
2.) "A handy job" (easy, manageable work)
Have it on me toes Go, leave
Head on [him or her.] A person's demeanor, visible from a distance. "Did you see the big old contrary head on him."
Hole in the wall ATM Also "drink link."
Hot press Closet holding water-heater
Homely Homey, cozy In American english, "homely" means "ugly," or near enough to it.
Hoor Fellow (Mildly derogatory)
"How's the form?" "How's it going?" Often followed by "... Are y' well?"
Hungry Greedy
I wouldn't mind, only.... The strange thing is.... Can be disconcerting in discussion of a serious matter. Does not mean "I wouldn't mind."
If Often omitted; word order changed "I was wondering could I (...)" (I was wondering if I could [...] )
Ignorant Ill-behaved, rude
Jackeen Dubliner (To country person.) Derogatory. See culchie.
Jacks, bog, trap Loo, toilet (European;) bathroom, restroom (American.) Slang; loo and toilet are the common usage.
Jammy Flukey Related to "waxy," although "waxy" tends to refer to an event whereas "Jammy' describes a more-general characteristic. "That was waxy," or "you waxed that one," vesus "you're a jammy bastard."
Jar Pint (of beer)
Jocks Underpants
Just Emphasis, at end of sentence "Nice weather." "Isn't it just?"
Just about Pretty much "How're ya, lads?"
"Ah sure still alive anyhow."
"Just about."
Kip 1) n. and v. Sleep.
2) n. A dive; a delapidated or messy place.

Knob Penis

Idiot, fool, prick; literally, "penis." Corkonian, ad to national use by Roy Keane, a famous/infamous soccer player.
Langered Drunken
Leave [v.] Let Give permission. "He won't leave us dig up the back garden."
Leave it with me. I'll look into it.
[Do a] legger Abscond, go away; walk off the job.
Leg-over (n.) Sex
Lifted (somebody) out of it Gave out (to somebody,) in a big way.
[,] like. (Always at end of statement.) "But I was here on time, like."
Lads Y'all, or them ("the lads") Non-gender and non-age specific
Local (n.) One's usual pub Needn't be the closest; only the most-accustomed.
[On the] long finger On the back burner Not highly prioritized
Long stand Non-existent joke item One of several fictional goods for which a newcomer on a construction site may be sent to the supply shack
Lose the head
Common expression of acceptability
Made a show of (somebody or oneself) Made a fool of (somebody or oneself)
Made up Entirely pleased
Acting the maggot Being unruly or annoying Often said of (or to) a child
Manky Filthy, grimy
Meant to be Reputed to be "It's meant to be brilliant" = "I've heard it's great."
Mental Crazy (situation, etc.)
Message Errand "Doing some messages" can be anything from picking up some groceries to putting in a bet at the booking office.
Messin' Kidding (around)
Mind yourself "Take care," or "be careful there" In general, upon departure, or specific to a potential danger
Mingin' Filthy, dirty, foul-smelling
[the] Mockers [a] Jinx To "put the mockers on [something]" is to bring bad luck by mentioning a negative possibility.
Muck-savage Country bumpkin
Muppet Dumbass
Naggin Hip-flask (of whiskey, etc.) Usually 200 ml., in modern times
Neck (n.) Nerve "You have some neck" — you really know how to push your luck.
Neck (v.) Drink forthwith See "put a hole in it."
Nixer A job done off the books
Not before time None too soon
Not on Unacceptable (behavior or result) Similar to "bang out of order."
Not the full shillin' A brick short of a full load
[Getting] notions Thinking "above one's station" As in office politics...
Not the worst of 'em
Common way to say that somebody or something is alright.
Not up to much Not worth much May be said of goods or services — does not imply lack of activity.
Now Spoken as greeting in a retail transaction
Off licence Establishment licensed to sell alcohol for take-away Not usually hyphenated — and not, of course, spelled in the American fashion.
Once As long as; providing that "Once you can get there on time, you're grand.*"
Only Absolutely "It's only delicious."
Yer only man Your best option "Guinness is yer only man."
The other lad Him (See "the other one")
The other one Her. A specific woman, whose identity is presumed known. See also "your one" and "your man."
Out the gap gone, out of here Corkonian
[For] pig-iron [For] the sake of argument
[You're] on the pig's back. [You've] got it made.
Pissin' time The duration that something doesn't last. Cheap batteries, for example, "don't last pissin' time."
Plonker Not a compliment. Just like it sounds.
Press Cupboard or closet The "hot press" is the one that contains the water-heating immersion*
Put a hole in it. Finish your drink. (Used amongst friends, when it's time to go elsewhere)
Pull the door over Pull the door shut
Quare Strange "It's a quare aul' world"
[The] Quare One Satan, the Devil
Rabbit on Talk without concision
Rag order Bad condition
Rake Slew (A large number [of something])
Rat-arsed Drunken
Relations Relatives
[You've] right to, e.g. You should She had right to = she should have ... etc.
Ring, ringpiece Anus
Rob Steal In American, you would "steal" a car. In Ireland, you'd "rob" it. To rob a car in American is to steal something from inside it.
Rock and roll Dole (Rhyming slang)
rock-and-roll Safe as houses A good bet This expression acquired an ironic counter-validity after the 2008 collapse of housing prices following more than a decade of hyperbolic increase.
Sambo Sandwich
Savage (adj.) Impressive, estimable See "fierce and savage"
Scoops Pints "Going for a few scoops?"
Scratcher 1.) Bed
2.) The dole
1.) "In the scratcher"
2.) "On the scratcher"
Scutters Diarrhea
Part of an insult phrase — e.g. "scutterin' gobshite"
(You can) see by (him [or her]) that.... You can see by his demeanor that....
On Shank's mare "On foot." Origin stories are dubious
Shift (v.)
1.) Move
2.) Move [something]
3.) "Move" [something] commercially; sell it
4.) Make out; kiss with. "I shifted her in the club."
Shore Drain (in gutter, on street, etc.)
Short Shot (of liquor)
A shower of _ A large number of _ "A shower of wankers," for example. The expression seems to always apply to people, and is never used in a complimentary way.
Shoutin' and roarin.'
Since year dot. From the beginning.
Sing it. You got that right.
Skanger Scumbag (Also used as a more-specific description of a demographic in which track suits are common — normally ranging in style from white on blue to blue on white.)
[A good] skin [A] good fellow
Skint Broke (no money) From "skinned."
Sláinte Cheers (over a drink) Literally, "health," in Gaelic
Slagging (n.) Verbal abuse
Slapper Slut Origin uncertain
Sliced pan Crappy mass-produced white bread From the [Anglo-Norman] French pain — "bread."
So [Tag word,] used at end of a sentence or phrase No particular semantic meaning. Softens the declarative nature of the sentence. "I'll call over later, so."
Soap for me hole Hope for my soul
Soft as shite Gullible, credulous
A common affirmation
Go spare Flip one's lid
It'll stand to ya. It'll work to your benefit.
A start A job, at its inception "Any chance of a start? No? Okay." — Christie Moore
[Getting] Stick Taking shit, getting hassled "Getting stick" for being skinny, for example; or fat; or red-headed...
[In the] stooks Obstinate "Heels dug in" over an issue.
Ah, stop Tell me about it; you're talling me... Droll reaction to an obvious statement
Stop the lights Oh, my Jesus From the 1970's quiz show "Quicksilver," in which the phrase was integral to the play of the game.
[What's the] story? What's up? A general greeting. Frequently shortened, and often the word "story" is about the only clearly-audible part.
[Good ol'] stretch in the evening Days are getting longer Irish weather talk
Stroppy Argumentative
The Sun does be splittin' the stones. It's bright and hot. (Relatively hot.) The Irish tend to speak about the weather casually.
Sure Tag word, used at fore of sentence Adds emphasis to a statement assumed obvious
Swiss Hole From "Swiss roll," via rhyming slang. "Swiss Roll" is a popular spongecake-and-artificial-cream dessert. Yep....
Tasty Well-executed, tidy A job done properly
That _ So _ "The place was that small, you had to step outside to change your mind."
That's the shot. That's the ticket.
Thick Argumentative, obstinate Often pronounced "tick"
This is me This is my ([stop on the train,] for example)
Through money for a shortcut
An expression of how fast it goes away
[On the] tick [On a] tab At the pub, for example
To Often omitted "I'll try get some teatowels"
Toe-rag Scumbag
(On me) tot On my own "I don't want to be left down there on me tot."
Touchin' cloth Burstin' for a shite
Turfed out Ejected (From a club, e.g.)
Twig Grasp, realize One of only a few words that remain from Gaelic Irish.
Up here for thinkin', down there for dancin'.
Somewhat self-explanatory, though slightly cryptic. It's a way of acknowledging your own cleverness.
Us Me "Give us a bell [telephone call.]"
Oh, you're very good.
A statement of appreciation for an act of kindness.
Wagon Disagreeable woman
Was, were Would have been "One more step and you were in traffic"
Waxy Flukey, lucky See "jammy"
Wear [something] off [somebody] Hit somebody with something "I'll wear it off him"
Went down a bomb Worked like a charm
Wettin' the baby's head Drinking to celebrate a christening
What age are ya? How old are you?
What are we like?
Said in bemusement at our own behavio(u)r
Whatever about _ Never mind _ "I don't even like rain, whatever about snow."
Well? General greeting [Southeast — possible origin Waterford. In the southeast, one would often answer their telephone* this way, also.]
It's well for some It must be nice An expression of mild begrudgery
Weren'tn't Weren't

West Brit

Anglophile Derisive. Often used in reference to the adoption or affectation of British accent in the speech of a native Irish person.
What way How (it's going to turn out, etc.) "Let me know what way it goes."
Will Shall "Will we go?"
Will [he, she, etc.] wha'? Yes, of course. Q. "Will he approve?"   A. "Will 'e wha'?"
Wire Penis
With _ Years [e.g.] For "Been in Ireland with nine years"
Would _ If _ would "She rang to ask would I call over" = "She called to ask if I'd come over" ...
Would be Is "He'd be a stonemason."
Would want Would need As in, "I'll beat you good-looking — sure* I'd want a big stick."
Would ya ever...? Will you...? [Not impolite.]
Wouldn't go astray Wouldn't do any harm (Might be a good idea)
Work away. Go ahead.
Yank American "Septic tank," in rhyming slang
Ye "You," plural. Also "youse," apparently more so in Dublin ("Yz," or "yiz.")
Yoke Thing, thingamabob, whatchyacallit
You can't have it all ways You can't always get what you want
You know that kind of way. You know how that is.
You know y'rself
A polite way of showing lack of presumption
You'd want to... You'd better... "You'd wanta"
You may... You'd best... "You may do some work...."
Young one Young woman
Your man That guy Refering to a person whose identity is presumed known. (See also "the other one.")
Your one That woman
Youse You (plural) Mostly in Dublin. Also "yiz." "Ye," elsewhere.
Yr auld lad and yr aul one Your dad and your mom
Zonks Ages "Haven't seen ya in zonks." May be more common in Dublin.

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* The Irish pound, or punt, was worth €1.27 upon conversion, New Year's Day 2002.

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