20 Slang Phrases in Ireland which make no logical sense but are widely understood on the Emerald Isle.
Like most countries, Ireland has its very own colloquiums, which are a great part of Irish culture.
Thrown about with utter ease by locals, the following 20 mad Irish phrases are not always decipherable by tourists.
In a bit to help you bone up on your Irish slang, here are the top 20 phrases, what they mean and how to use them!
Acting the maggot
Meaning: Acting the maggot simply means to be “messing about” or “playing around”
Example: “Stop acting the maggot, you’re going to miss your bus!”
Go way outta that
Meaning: This phrase is used in conversation to signify disbelief, shock, or distaste. Other variants include “ara would you stop!”
Example: 1: “I once ate 50 Oreos in one go!” 2: “Go way outta that!”
Was it any use?
Meaning: Directly translated to “how was it?” or “was it any good?” Oftentimes used in response to one reporting a night out, event or an experience to another person.
Example: 1: “I was out last night til’ all hours” 2: “Was it any use?”
Meaning: It is raining very heavy. Again.
Example: 1: “Running out for a bit. Be home soon.” 2: “Are ye mad? It’s bucketing down!”
He’s a right chancer
Meaning: A “chancer” is someone who “chances their arm”. This phrase is used for someone who takes risks. They often can see opportunities and take initiatives to get what they want.
Example: 1: “Did you see him skip the taxi queue when it started to rain?” 2: “Ah he’s a right chancer!”
Meaning: “Donkey’s years” means a long period of time. How long? Who knows!
Example: 1: “What time will you be home for dinner?” 2: “God only knows. I’ve been on this bus in traffic for donkey’s years!”
Giz a shot of that
Meaning: Simply translated to “what you have there, I want it, thanks”. Often the person saying this phrase will point or gesture to what they want.
Example: 1: *lights a cigarette* 2: “Giz a shot of that!” *points at lighter*
That dose is goin’ round
Meaning: This refers to the flu, cold or general sickness that seems to be affecting everyone you know.
Example: 1: “I saw Shelley today, she was saying she has been under the weather.” 2: “Ah yea, that dose is goin’ round”
Meaning: This just means happy. Why we chose to add an “out” we will never know. Usually used in the present tense, to comment on your current state of satisfaction.
Example: “I know I’m happy out!”
Wreck The Gaff
Meaning: “Wreck the gaff” means to quite literally destroy a place or go wild. “Gaff” means house, home or place. However, this phrase can also be used to describe how loose one got on a night out on the razz (partying).
Example 1: “Jesus, you should have seen my house on Sunday morning, we wrecked the gaff”
Example 2: “Can’t wait for this week to be over, I’m going to go out and bleedin’ wreck the gaff!”
Meaning: “The Black Stuff” translates to Guinness. In some smaller cities such as Cork, it can also refer to other stouts, such as Beamish and Murphy’s.
Example: 1: “What can I get you?” 2: “Giz a pint of the Black Stuff!”
Meaning: This translates to someone who is a bit cheeky or a scoundrel. They work things to their advantage and put their wants first. This phrase can be used in relation to how someone manages their business practice or politics.
Example: 1: “Did you see the way David took up all the boss’s time with his proposal? No one else even got to talk!” 2: “Sure look, he’s a cute hoor.”
Eat the head off ya
Meaning: This bizarre Irish phrase means to “give out” or “get annoyed” at someone.
Example: 1: “What time will you be home tonight?” 2: “Well after you ate the head off me last night for being late, I’ll be home straight after work!”
Effin’ and Blindin’
Meaning: A direct translation of this one is “cursing and swearing”
Example: 1: “Did you see my team won the match last week?” 2: “I know! Lads at the pub were effin’ and blindin’”
C’mere til’ I tell ya
Meaning: This strange Irish phrase doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot. Instead, it signifies a story or anecdote to follow. It has to precede following information.
Example: 1: “Did you know Amy used to date Jack?” 2: “C’mere til’ I tell ya, Amy has gone out with every guy in Dublin!”
Meaning: Simply put: “good job”. Other variants include “good on ya” or “nice one!”
Example: 1: *to manager* “I think I’m done for the day”. 2: “Fair play!”
Now you are suckin’ diesel
Meaning: This phrase can be used to acknowledge a situation which has recently improved, or where progress has been made.
Example: 1: “I’ve been trying to get this TV to work for the past hour. I only finally got it on just now!” 2: “Good on ya, now you are suckin’ diesel!”
State da ya
Meaning: This common Irish phrase is used to insinuate that the person on the receiving end is a mess or an idiot.
Example: 1: “What do you think of this costume for the party on Friday?” 2: “Bleedin’ state da ya!”
What’s the story?
Meaning: Directly translated to “what’s up”
Example: 1: “What’s the story”. 2: “Ah nothing of any use, you?”
Where’z da jacks / jax?
Meaning: A question inquiring to the location of the toilet/bathroom. Also used as a statement that one is about to use the toilet/bathroom.
Example: 1: “Where you off to?” 2: “Where’z da jacks / jax?”