How to speak the Irish version of English

In Ireland, two languages are prominent. Irish (or Gaelic) and English. The Irish version of English is much different to Oxford style English and even people from England find it hard to understand Irish people because of their strong accents and strange phrases.

Here is a list of words and phrases in alphabetical order to fill in some of the gaps and help you understand what they mean:

A  
Acting the maggot playing around
Ages  long time
Any Use?  any good?
Arse  backside
Arseways  complete mess (I did it all arseways)
Artist person getting social security (drawing the dole)
B  
Babby little child – baby
Bad dose bad  illness
Bag of Taytos packet of potato chips/crisps
Bags bad, messy job (see hames)
Banjaxed broken, useless, tired
Barn  brack Halloween cake
Belt hit, assault
Be wide be careful
Bird girl, girlfriend
Black crowded
Blackguard  person that is doing no good
Black Stuff Guinness
Blather talk
Bloody used mostly for strengthening an adjective
Bog toilet, restroom
Bog country area/ piece of land that once was a lake
Bogey snot
Bogtrotter country person
Bold naughty
Bollocks stupid/somebody one doesn’t like
Bolloxed very drunk
Bolt run fast
Boozer pub
Bothrin  narrow lane or road
Bouzzie, Bowsie young good-for-nothing person
Boxin’ the fox robbing an orchard
Boyo a young person 
Brasser prostitute
Brutal terrible
Bucketing raining heavily
Bushed very tired
Business excrete
C  
Carry-on argument/noise
Cake-hole mouth
Cha tea
Chancer dodgy/risky character
Cheek disrespect/talk back
Cheesed Off angry/annoyed
Chinwag a chat
Chipper fish and chip shop
Chiseller
Chronic
young child
terrible or awful
Class great
Clatter slap
Cod (to) joke 
Colcannon Mashed potatoes & cabbage/ kale
Cop on! don’t be so stupid!
Cooker stove
Covers blankets
Craic (pronounced crack) fun time
Crisps potato chips
Culchie a city dweller’s name for a country person
Cute hoor Untrustworthy/sly  person
D  
Da father
Deadly cool, great
Dear expensive
Delph crockery, cups, saucers etc
Desperate terrible
Diabolical really terrible
Diddies breasts
Divil devil
Dodder waste time
Dodgy suspect/mechanically impaired
Donkey’s Years a long time
Dope idiot
On the Doss playing truant
Dosser lazy person
Dote cute person, usually a baby
Drawers underwear, usually ladies
Dry Shite boring person
Dummy pacifier
Dump (taking a) excrete
E  
Eat the head off Attack verbally
Eejit idiot
F  
F-word used freely, mostly for strengthening an adjective
Fag cigarette
Fair play! well done!
Feck used instead of the other F word
Fella Male person, also used for boyfriend
Fib a lie
Fifty stood-up (I got a fifty)
Fine thing/fine bit of stuff Attractive/good looking person
Fla/Flah Attractive/good looking person
Flah’ed out very tired
Flicks movies
Flitters in tatters, shabby
Fluthered very drunk
Follier-upper a serial 
Foostering wasting time
Fry fried breakfast (sausage, bacon, eggs and black & white pudding)
Full shilling mentally competent (He’s not the full shilling)
G  
Gaff house
Gas funny
Gawk stare
Gee-Eyed very drunk
Get off with (someone) make out, kiss
Gift superb
Git horrible person
Give Out scold
Gob mouth (Shut you gob!)
Gobdaw idiot
Gobshite idiot
Gobsmacked very surprised
Go-car baby’s pushchair
Gollier a big, fat spit of phlegm
Gone in the head mad, crazy
Go way outta that! indicating scepticism
Gowl idiot
Grand fine, lovely
Guard policeman
Gurrier hooligan
Gut stomach
H  
Hames mess
Hammererd very drunk
Hard Neck lack of respect
Hardchaw, Hardman rough, tough person
Header mad, crazy person
Head the ball idiotic person
Heel the first or last slice of a loaf of bread
Hickey a love bite
High babies senior infants’ school
Holliers holidays/vacations
Holy show embarrassing exhibition 
Hooley party/celebration
Hoor prostitute
Hop playing truant from school 
Horse’s hoof embellished story
Hot Press drying cupboard
Howya hello- salutation
Hump, the sulking
Hump off go away, leave me alone
I  
I will in me ring
I will yeah
I will not!
No, that will never happen
I am in me wick I am not!
J  
Jackeen a country person’s name for somebody that lives in Dublin
Jacks toilet, restroom
Jaded fatigued/very tired
Jammers very crowded, busy
Jammy lucky
Janey Mack! Gosh
Jar A pint
Jaysus! Jesus
Juicy pretty
K  
Kip, to have a short siesta, rest
Knackered fatiguedvery tired
Knick-knacking ringing a doorbell and running away
Knobs breasts
Knockers breasts
L  
Langers/langered drunk
Lashing raining heavily
Lay off! leave me alone, stop it!
Legging (it) running fast
Letting on pretending
Local, the the nearest pub
Locked very drunk
Lolly/ice lolly Popsicle
Low babies junior infants’ school
M  
Ma mother
Maggot(Stop acting the maggot) Stop playing around!
Manky very dirty
Mary Hick old-fashioned female
Mentaller crazy person
Me ould segotia,  me ould flower Terms of endearment
Messages shopping, groceries
Messing playing around
Milling fighting
Mitch bunk school
Mortified embarrassed
Mot girlfriend
Motherless drunk
Mouldy drunk/ rotten
Murder difficult
Mushies magic mushrooms
N  
Nappy Diaper
Nickser, Nixer a job done with no tax paid on wages
Nip nude
O  
Odds loose change
Off the drink abstaining from drinking alcohol
Off your nut mad, crazy
Ole Lady/ole wan mother
Ole Man/ole fella father
On the never never On Hire purchase
Ossified drunk
P  
Paralytic very drunk
Perishing freezing
Pictures movies
Piss in the Beds dandelions
Pissed off angry/annoyed
Piss up a night of big drinking
Plastered very drunk
Plonker idiot
Polluted very drunk
Poteen/Poitin illegal Irish spirit/drink
Pram stroller/pushchair
Press closet, cupboard
Puck slap in the face
Pull your socks up Get to work/get busy
Puss Face bad-tempered person
Q  
Queer hawk peculiar person
R  
Rapid amazing
Rashers bacon slices
Reddener blush
Red neck a country person
Reef beat up
Ride an attractive person, to have intercourse
Root look for
Rosie Lee tea
Rubber eraser
Ructions Loud arguing or commotion
Runners trainers, everyday sports shoes
Runs diarrhoea
S  
Sap weak/fragile person
Scab a person who constantly borrows 
Scab the hard outer part of a healed wound
Scallion spring onion
Scalped to get a short haircut
Scanger ignorant female
Scarlet blushing
Scatter run away from something
Scram! go away!
Scratch social security, dole
Scratcher bed
Scrawbed Scratched by fingernails
Scrubber female of low morals
Scutters diarrhoea
Shag, to to have intercourse with
Shagged fatigued/ very tired
Shattered fatigued/ very tired
Shenanagans different things going on
Shlossed very drunk
Shook Pale, ill, scared
Shorts liquor drinks (spirits) – shots
Shower of savages  a riotous crowd
Slagging making fun of someone
Slapper female of low morals
Slash urinate
Sleeveen sly person
Snapper child, baby
Snobby Weather! Ignoring me?
Snog, Shift to make out, kiss
Snug pub booth (usually fitting only 3/4 people)
Sound really nice
Specky Four-Eyes person who wears glasses (child’s nickname)
Spuds potatoes
Squealer a person who tells stories to get another in trouble
Stop the lights! Really?!
Stocious very drunk
Strand beach
Suckin’ diesel having a good time
Sweets candy
T  
Thick stupid /unintelligent
Throwing Shapes Showing off
Tip unclean, messy place
Tool idiot
Trap mouth
Twisted very drunk
Twistin’ hay means you’re starting trouble, usually in a playful way
U  
Up the pole pregnant
Up the yard! Go away!
Up to ninety near boiling point, ready to explode
W  
Wagon ugly female
Wanker a person you don’t like
Wet the tea make tea
Whist keep quiet
Wrecked tired
Y  
Y-Fronts Men’s briefs
Yoke
Yonks
a word used to name something instead of its proper name. “pass me that yoke” (pass me that hammer)
a long time
Your hole (to get) to have sexual intercourse

Watch a hilarious video of tourists in Dublin trying to say some common Irish phrases:

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  • Ruairi O hEithir

    Please add ‘chronic’, meaning terrible or awful. “I watched Ireland playing Belgium last night – they were chronic!”

  • ahyeah

    Hi. ‘Scanger’ doesn’t mean ‘ignorant female’, definitely not. It refers to troublesome good-for-nothings from a disadvantaged background, the type that might attempt to steal your phone. Someone ignorant and/or aggressive, but not necessarily female.

    • Paul Charles Kavanagh

      i agree.

      • Scrounger

        It is used by southside Dubliners to describe people from the northiside of Dublin who come from areas of disadvantage. Only Dubs from the northside can be scangers.

  • Paul Charles Kavanagh

    A few a bit vague and a few incorrect but then it would depend where in Ireland you are located. One or two completely wrong.

  • First Class Bling

    You need to add “Skelf” that wee splinter of wood stuck in your hand

  • First Class Bling

    Also “gutties” – trainers

  • First Class Bling

    “Gurning” – to cry / moan about something

  • IrishFrenchie

    Give-out = to scold or to complain.. Mammy didn’t stop giving out to me for leaving the immersion on all day!

  • Jode

    slabbering – speaking nastily, spide/milly – chav, let a gulder out of you – shouting out

  • Jode

    gonching – like slabbering, honkers – haunches, windeees – windows, head like a marley, forgetful/stupid

  • Irish overseas

    Divil doesn’t mean devil! It’s refers to someone who is being bold in a non malicious way

  • Scrounger

    Artist – someone on the dole? Been Irish all me life, lived in Dublin all me life and never EVER heard that.

    • Paul

      A government artist. I. e. drawing the dole. it’s common enough

  • Scrounger

    Lashing – raining
    On the lash – out getting drunk

  • Scrounger

    Kip is also used to describe an area or a home that is filthy

    Massive (Dublin only) – fabulous, gorgeous, eg. that dress is massive, your hair is massive

    Reef – beat up??? wrong!! If you reef someone you grab/pull them by the hair

    Scratch does not mean dole, social welfare/security. If someone is on the scratcher they are unemployed and in receipt of a dole payment. You don’t say someone is on the scratch, you say so and so is on the scratcher or I’m on the scratcher

    • Dosser

      you are on the scratch if u are working & signing

  • Scrounger

    Shlossed??? wrong, it should be Sloshed

  • Tonz

    Are these phrases for the enlightenment of people ouside the British Isles as 90 percent of them are frequently used by most people in Birmingham where I`m from?

  • Twigwonderkid

    Really ? A couple of examples bird for a lady is the Irish version of English and Boozer is pub in Irish version of English ? I thought bird and boozer were 1960’s words used in England but long since abandoned

  • Dublishious

    Dummy should also include dodie / soother for pacifier
    It should be mentally incompetent for full shilling, piss artist is missing also, gawbean is an idiot, brass neck, sketch for to run away,