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Irish-English terms and phrases



(Gaelic) Irish words in common use


There are only a few remnants of the endangered old Gaelic Irish language in modern Irish English. 800 years of oppression,* y' know y'rself....


Go raibh míle maith agat

"Thanks a million"...

Craic [pronounced "crack," and often spelled so] — Good times; general goings-on, or atmosphere (as in, "what's the craic?" or "how's the craic?")

• Crúibín (pronounced "crew bean") — Pig's foot. The term "crew beans" might sound like a euphemism, but it's not.

• Gaeltacht (pronounced [approx.] "gale-takht") — An area in which Irish is an important daily language. "The Gaeltacht" refers to the Gaelic-speaking whole, though its components are divided into small enclaves, mostly in the west.

• Gaol — Jail. Pronounced the same as in English.

Gards — The police.

• Sláinte (pronounced "slanchə") — "Cheers" (over a drink.) Literally, "health."

• Pog mo thoin — Kiss my ass. This expression is unlikely to be useful except jokingly. There's rarely any reason to be impolite in Ireland.

• Sliotar (pronounced "slitter") — The small hard ball used in the Gaelic sport hurling and the women's equivalent, camogie.

• Tuig (pronounced "twig") — To grasp, to comprehend. Probably the origin of the beatnik-American "dig."

• Bóithrín (pronounced "boreen") — Small roadway. Diminutive of Bóthar (road.)

• Fáilte (pronounced "falchə" — Welcome. Used in tourism and on doormats.


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• The phrase "800 years of oppression" is common amongst the Irish, and refers of course to the long domination of the island by the British. Its accuracy is best debated by professional historians.

The Anglo-Normans landed in the southeast in 1169.

  • Return to "y' know y'rself" ...