Go raibh mile maith agat

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Irish-English terms

"Thanks a million" in Irish English

Though normal in international English, the phrase "thanks a million" is conspicuous in Irish English. It's ubiquitous.

It's real Irish, sort of — the translation of a Gaelic phrase.

It's a generous translation, for linguistic reasons. The original phrase only offers a thousand thanks. But you can't say that. It's not euphonious.*

As Gaeilge:

If speaking to one person:

If speaking to more than one person:

Go raibh míle maith agat

Go raibh míle maith agaibh

(Guh RAV mee-lə MAH a-gut) (Guh RAV mee-lə MAH a-guv)

The Irish word míle means "a thousand" and sounds like "million." "Thanks a million" rolls off the tongue, in English — sonorous and convivial.


* Whether euphonious or not, "a thousand thanks" appears in Shakespeare, in (at least) "The Taming of the Shrew," Act 2 Scene 1.