25 Irish slang words you need to know

We don’t have dictionaries of slang, but this list of Irish slang words you need to know is the closest you’ll get.

If you come to Ireland, I wouldn’t blame you for feeling like an eejit for not knowing what every wee fella and bure is talking about.

But don’t worry because you’ve come to the right place to save yourself from feeling absolutely scundered as we have made a list of 25 Irish slang words you need to know.

Ireland Before You Die’s top tips for speaking in Irish slang

  • A good way to learn when and how to use Irish slang is by listening to locals during conversation and picking up the usage and nuances. 
  • Ease into using Irish slang by starting off with the more commonly used words such as “craic” or “grand” before starting to use more niche and difficult slang words. 
  • Despite being a small island, different regions and parts of Ireland have their own unique slang. We have provided a list of regional slang words below for you. 
  • Irish slang is more often than not used in a playful manner, so use them in a light-hearted tone with friends or family. 
  • Irish slang is often best used in informal or casual settings. So, it is best to reserve the more colloquial expressions for appropriate situations.

25. Wee – a word used to describe everything

Technically, wee is supposed to refer to small things, but in Ireland, that is not always the case. Instead, the word ‘wee’ is used to describe absolutely everything.

Example: ‘Would you like a wee bag with that?’

24. Craic – fun

Probably the most used and most well-known Irish slang term. It generally refers to ‘fun’ but can be used in several ways:

Examples: ‘What’s the craic?’ – How are you?

                ‘The craic was 90’ – That was a lot of fun.

                ‘Having the craic’ – Having a good time.

23. Culchie – someone from the countryside

Culchie, meaning someone from the countryside, is one of the top Irish slang words you need to know.

Anyone who lives in a rural area is usually described as a culchie. Anyone who lives in Dublin usually refers to everyone from outside of Dublin as culchies.

Example: ‘I went to the GAA. It was packed with culchies.’

22. Eejit – a fool

The word eejit is an Irish insult used to describe someone as a fool or an idiot and is often preceded by the word ‘buck’.

Example: ‘Tommy fell into the pond yesterday. He’s a buck eejit.’

READ MORE: IRISH SLANG: Top 80 words & phrases used in daily life

21. Fella/Bure – boy/girl

Irish slang words you need to know include fella and bure, both meaning boy and girl respectively.

In Ireland, when someone is talking about a boy or girl, they will often refer to them as a fella or a bure.

Example: ‘I met this nice wee fella in the pub last night’. ‘I saw this bure on the bus yesterday. She was stunning.’

20. Grand – good

Grand tends to be used in place of words like ‘good’ or ‘fine’.

Example: ‘How was work today?’ ‘It was grand.’

19. Quare – very

You’ll hear the word quare when someone is really trying to emphasise what they’re saying.

Example: ‘We had a quare laugh last night.’

18. Yoke – literally anything

Yoke can mean literally anything, one of the most useful Irish slang words you need to know.

The word yoke can be used to refer to absolutely anything. Usually something you can’t remember the actual name of.

Example: ‘Where’s the wee yoke for changing the TV channel?’

17. Cat – awful

No, we are not referring to the animal here (although it does mean that in Ireland too). The word cat is often used in Ireland to describe something or someone awful.

Example: ‘What did you think of the film last night?’ ‘It was cat.’

16. Gammy – useless

Can be used to describe something useless, injured, or broken.

Example: ‘I fell when I was skiing. Now I have a gammy knee.’

15. Jammy – lucky

If you're jammy, you're lucky, one of the Irish slang words you need to know if you're visiting Ireland.

Jammy is often used to describe someone lucky.

Example: ‘John won £50 in the lottery, jammy b*stard.’

14. Scundered – embarrassed

When an Irish person does something embarrassing, you will often hear them say they are ‘scundered’ about it.

Example: ‘I can’t believe what I did last night. I’m absolutely scundered.’

LEARN MORE: Top 10 weirdest Irish slang words used every day, RANKED

13. Dander – a stroll

Why not go for a dander around Ireland, a pleasant walk, another of the top Irish slang words you need to know.

Dander is an Irish slang word used to describe walking or strolling.

Example: ‘Do you want to come for a dander round the park?’

12. Faffin’ – messing about

Faffin’ is the word used to describe doing something, but not really doing anything.

Example: ‘What took you so long?’ ‘Ah, I was faffin’ about.’

11. Hallion – someone who messes about

Hallion is often used to describe a rascal, someone who messes about, or is up to no good, specifically children.

Example: ‘James was getting on like a hallion at the party yesterday.’

10. Banjaxed – broken

Banjaxed can be used to describe something that is broken or someone tired or drunk.

Example: ‘I got home from work and felt banjaxed’.

9. Shift – kiss

If you're getting the shift, it means you're making out with someone, one of the Irish slang words you need to know.

Shift is used to describe making out with someone.

Example: ‘How was your date? Did you shift?’

8. Dote – cute

Dote can be used to describe someone or something cute or adorable.

Example: ‘Have you met Sarah’s wee one? He’s a wee dote.’

7. Plastered/Steamin’ – drunk

There are many Irish slang phrases to describe someone drunk, but two of the most common are plastered and steamin’.

Example: ‘I was plastered/steamin’ last night.’

READ: You can pick up more in our article on the top five Irish insults, slurs, slang and curses

6. Baltic – cold

If it's cold outside you'll frequently hear Irish people saying it's baltic.

Baltic can often be heard when describing the weather in Ireland.

Example: ‘You don’t want to go out in that. It’s baltic out there.’

5. Geg – funny

Geg can be used to refer to someone who is funny or someone who says something funny.

Example: ‘Have you met Stacey? She’s a geg.’

4. Slagging – insulting

Slagging is used to refer to insulting someone or talking bad about them.

Example: ‘Why are you slagging me?’

SEE MORE: 32 slang words: one mad slang word from every county of Ireland

3. Kip – sleep

Kip is used to say you are going to sleep.

Example: ‘I’m feeling pretty tired, so I’m away for a kip.’

2. Poke – ice cream

While you might call it an ice cream, the Irish nickname it a poke, a strange word to get your head around.

Poke is used to describe ice cream, specifically a cone from the ice cream van.

Example: ‘Mummy, can I get a poke from the poke van?’

1. Melter – an annoying person

Melter is used to describe someone annoying or getting on your nerves.

Example: ‘He is a melter recently.’

Your questions answered about Irish slang words you need to know

Read our article and still have some questions? Then we have you covered! Below, we have outlined the most frequently asked questions about the Irish slang words you need to know.

What is feck in Irish slang?

Feck in Irish slang, is, as you can guess it, slang for the expletive that you’re thinking of! It is less serious and more frequently used in the south of Ireland.

A popular Irish saying would be, “Show the fatted calf, but not the thing that fattened him”. It warns against giving away the secrets of your success.

What is rare in Irish slang?

Whole normally the word rare would mean something uncommon or unique, in Ireland, and in particular places like Donegal, it means strange.

MORE IB4UD ARTICLES ON IRISH SLANG WORDS

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20 MAD Derry slang phrases that ONLY make sense to locals

Catch yourself on: Irish SLANG PHRASE meaning explained

20 mad GALWAY SLANG phrases that only make sense to locals

20 MAD Armagh slang phrases that only make sense to locals

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