Cork Slang: How to speak like you’re from Cork

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Ever been to Cork but didn’t understand half the things the locals were saying? Look no further, now you can go there with confidence!

Below is a table which gives some examples of Cork slang as well as their meanings and where possible the source / derivation of the slang word or phrase. Thanks to our friends at corkpastandpresent.ie for this piece.

Word / PhraseMeaningSource / Deriviation
AllergicA strong expression of dislike:
“I’m allergic to dat fella – I don’t like him.”
All gilleteDressed-up
All-a-baaUp-for-grabs. Usually said by children playing when objects were flung up in the air.
Ark, TheThe Arcadia ballroom that stood on the Lower Glanmire Road
As old as Atty Hayes’s goatVery oldAttiwell Hayes, a Cork brewer of the late 18th and early 19th century, kept a pet goat which lived to a great age.
Away for slatesDo well or be successful: “After the goal Cork were away for slates”
BallahsGame involving small steel balls played in association with the game of “glassey alleys”Northside
Ball hopperJoker or mischievously humorous person
Balm outLie down (especially for sunbathing): “We were all balmed out on the beach.”
Banish (a ball)To put a ball out of bounds, especially over a wall where it cannot be retrieved “We had to stop playing ‘cos Tom banished the ball.”From the game of handball
BankerA feral pigeon. Young pigeon enthusiasts would trap bankers and bring them home to their pigeon-lofts to breed racing pigeons
Bar-of-goldThe most  favoured child in a family, usually the youngest: “Young Danny is Mary’s bar-of-gold.”
BareasBare feet
BarrackaBarrack Street
As well as meaning Barrack Street, when preceeded by ‘The’, it also was used as an abbreviation for The Barrack Street Brass Band. The Barracka’s rival, was The Butter Exchange Brass Band (abbreviated as “The Buttera”).
BathinasBathing togs/suits
Bate (Pronounced like ‘baat’.)A piece (of bread/meat): “There’s a bate of bread for ye.”
Bawlk the robberScruffily dressed: “Look at the cut of yer man, he looks like bawlk the robber.”
BayturIdiot
BazzerHaircut
Beat that in two throws!A term of approval used when something remarkable has been said or doneFrom the popular sport of road bowling
‘Be doggy wide’Keep alert/be careful ‘Be doggy wide with him, he’s tricky’
Berries/’The berries’Very good / the best ‘That apple tart was the berries’
Berril see ‘Give someone a berril’
Binoo / Give someone the binoooSignal / Sign / Give someone a signal: ‘Give Willie the binoo and we’ll go home’ Probably from the Irish word ‘beannú’ in the sense of greeting
BlackasBlackberries
Blood-and-bandagesThe red jerseys and white shorts of the Cork hurling and football teams. The words are often used affectionately to refer to the teams themselves. ‘Come on the blood-and-bandages.’
Bodice Pigs ribs / spare ribs — a popular Cork dish.
Bon Secours girlAn unfashionably dressed young woman
Boy, TheThe hero in a film: ‘John Wayne was the boy’
‘Break your melt’Test your patience to the breaking point ‘That fella would break your melt’
BreezerA fart. As children in Cork, we had a naughty rhyme which went:
‘Julius Caesar left a breezer
On the coast of France.
The King of Spain tried the same,
But he left it in his pants’
 K. B.
BronsonEccentric person
BrussCrumbled remains of anything but especially food (although “turf bruss” was a common expression).
There was a character known to children as Paddy the Bruss Man. He was the watchman in the Shandon sweet factory after hours. We would go to the gate of the factory and knock, and ask Paddy for a penn’orth of bruss, and he would hand us out what crumbled bits he had gathered from the machines in a “poke” and take the penny
Possibly from the Irish brúscar
BucksheeSomething for nothing — a gift, a freebiePossible derivation:
Baksheesh is a Persian phrase for charity or alms or a gift of some kind.n. pl. baksheeshA gratuity, tip, or bribe paid to expedite service, especially in some Near Eastern countries
BufferA person from a rural area. Often used in a mildly derogatory sense.
Bulb (off)Two people that look alike: “John is the the bulb off is father.”
CawhakeTo stop someone from doing something. To prevent something from taking place. To cause something to be abandoned or discarded. “They withdrew funding from the scheme and that put the cawhake on it”.Most likely from Irish “cá théadh” where would (something) be going?
 ChainiesBits of broken table ware with which girls played. “Playing chanies” was commonMost likely an older pronunciation of china (cups and saucers) in the plural
‘Chalk it down’Absolutely right
CheeserTo get a cheeser was to be painfully struck with the edge of a school ruler on the backside when you were not expecting it. Usually given by one schoolboy to another. The practice was often explicitly forbidden by headmasters.Reminiscent of a knife cutting cheese perhaps
ChessieA chestnut, especially one used in the children’s game ‘conkers’
ChoicerNothing: ‘He hardly did it for choicer’
ClobberClothes, particularly a man’s suit: “Johnny got a lovely clobber in Cronin’s.”
CollieA uniformed warden of public parksMemory, personal experience
Conjun boxA savings box, typically for children
ConkersA children’s game played with chestnuts which had string put through holes bored through their centres.
Connie dodgerFormerly a very strict Lenten diet was enjoined on Catholics; only one full meal and two small meals(collations) were allowed on fast days. A biscuit or two was also allowed with morning tea to prevent heartburn. Enterprising Cork bakers produced very large biscuits so that those on the Lenten fast could stave off the pangs of hunger while staying within the letter of the law. The biscuits were called ‘Connie dodgers’ after the Catholic bishop of Cork Cornelius Lucey.
ConnishurerA gossip
Dagenham YankA Corkman working in Fords in Dagenham back home on vacation. Many Corkmen got employment in the Ford plant in Dagenham.
DawfakeA badly made object. ‘That’s an awful dawfake of a chair’
DawkA dig. ‘Give him a dawk to shut him up’
Deko see Have a deko
Diddle-umA savings scheme operated by a few people, usually women. Compare with ‘manage’.
Doing a lineBeing in a relationship with somebody ‘Joe and Angela are doing a line for years’
Dolled-upDressed-up
Donkey’s gudgeA cake whose ingredients include stale bread/ stale cake and raisins
Dooshie/doonshieVery small ‘Can I have a dooshie piece of chocolate?’
Down the banksA reprimand. ‘I gave him down the banks’ – ‘I reprimanded him’
Dowtcha boy!Term of approvalPresumably a shortened version of ‘I wouldn’t doubt you, boy!’
Drink the cape off Saint PaulCapacity for holding strong drink ‘Paddy had ten pints but that fella could drink the cape off Saint Paul’
DrisheenA blood pudding made with sheep’s blood or cow’s blood or a mixture of both. It’s traditionally eaten with tripe.
‘Echo boys’ Men and boys who sell the Evening Echo on the streets of Cork
FagaasThe outside section of cigarette packets which were collected by youngsters, flattened and tied into bundles, and used as currency. An item such as a ball might cost you several hundred fagaas
Farting jacketA tight-fitting coat
FeckThe game of pitch-and-toss
FeekTo have sex withNorthside
FiftyFailure to turn up for an arranged meeting, especially a date ‘Tom is raging; he got a fifty last night’Possibly from fifty per-cent
FlahHave sexual intercourse. Also used as a noun meaning a promiscuous woman.Possibly from the Irish ‘fleadh’ which means ‘festival’.
FudgiesOdds and ends carried by little boys in their pockets, which they swapped
FuntA kick
GadgetMelodeon
Gatch (Pronounced ‘gaatch’)Gait, carriage, personal deportment. Usually used disparagingly. ‘Look at the gatch of him.’
GattingAre you going ‘drinking’
GawksFeeling ill/like you’re going to be sick. “That breast in a bun gave me the gawks”.
GildyLooking after ones appearance. Munster fusileers
Gillete see ‘All gillete’
Give (someone) a berrilCall on somebody
Glassy alleysA small glass sphere used in the children’s game marbles
GobsA game played with pebbles. White smooth marble pebbles where highly prized for this game and these were also known as “gobs”.
GomIdiot/foolish person.
Going-on-scrips/scriptsInstructions/rules ‘Ask Dan, he has all the goin’-on-scrips’
Gollun!Expression of astonishment. “Gollun, Look at the state of yer man dere, like”.Northside
Gonkapouch see ‘I will in my gonkapouch’
Goosa
A third person (out) with a couple
‘I’ve no one to go for a drink with tonight, girl’
‘Sure, go out with Jason and Shakira’
‘Go way ourra dat, I’d be like a goosa’
Northside
Goose-asGooseberries
Gowl Silly, unpleasant person ‘Don’t mind him, he’s only a gowl.’
Guzz-eyedCross-eyed
‘Hand me down the moon’Extremely tall person
HauntedVery lucky ‘The Glen were haunted to win that match’
Have a dekoTake a look at
Head-the-ballFoolish/silly person.Someone who’s headed a football so often that it’s affected his brain.
HobbleTo steal: ‘Joe hobbled the apple in the shop’
Hoggy Ba’sHorgan’s Buildings, off Magazine Road. ‘Hoggy’ is often used in Cork as a nickname for anyone named Horgan.
‘Hook-and-eye’Nickname for the former Cork & Muskerry Light RailwayFrom coupling device used on the trains
‘I will in my gonkapouch’ ‘I most certainly will not’
‘If you were sad, she’d make you lonesome’A phrase used to describe someone whose conversation is both gloomy and boring
JagA date with a member of the opposite sex ‘I’ve a jag with the oul’ doll tonight’
Johnny Raw-JawsA cranky person, especially a cranky man
JoulterA man’s nickname
LampTo look at something/someone “Bill was lampin’ the lasher”
Lang, see: On the langAlso known as getting a “langie”. A common dangerous practice by youngsters, especially boys, in former times, of hanging on to the back of a moving lorry, bus or horse and cart to get a free ride. “I got a langie up Grawn” “I’ll tell your Mam you were langing on to the bus”Personal experience in Cork
Langer(ii) Agitated, irritating, and obnoxious person.  (Term reputedly brought back from India to Cork by the Munster Fusileers who, while based in India, viewed the langur monkey as an irritating creature.  Sample phrase: ‘Go way ya langer’.
(ii) Penis (possibly related to the langur monkey which has a very long tail — up to 40 inches)
 Michael Lynch, Douglas, Cork
Langing on
Lapsy pa An indeterminate infection
LasherA good-looking young woman.
LeadránachTedious, boring ‘The film was very leadránach’From the Irish ‘leadránach’ meaning ‘slow, tedious’
Like‘Like’ peppers the speech of many Corkonians. It’s used as an interjection and has nothing at all to do with the usual meaning of the word. ‘D’ye know what I mean, like?’
LobertyTrouble, especially financial. ‘That man is in the height of loberty.’Coal Quay dealers 1960s
LogieSluggish, slow, lazy ‘I’ve no energy, I’m logie from the heat’
LopA penny. ‘Give the child a few lops’
LowryA dig/punch ‘Give someone a lowry’Bandon Road area circa 2000
Ma’s MopeA foolish personSlang used by older generation
ManageA savings scheme operated by a few people, usually women. ‘Don’t forget to give Mary the money for the manage’ Compare diddle-um.
Mass/measWorth/value ‘I’ve mass on that’From the Irish ‘meas’ meaning ‘judgement/regard’
MassiveVery good/beautiful ‘The Christmas dinner was only massive’
MawserOld cat/old woman
Me dazaTerm of approval ‘That lemonade is me daza’
MebIdiot ‘That fella is a right meb’
Mebs‘He made a pure mebs of the job’ – ‘He made a bags of the job’Northside
Melt see ‘Break your melt’
MockeeahPretend, fictionalMock-ee-ah
MoyloDrunk
NinerThe card game nine-card brag
NobberPromiscuous man
Noo-de-nawAn indecisive person
On the langBeing absent from school without permission
Oul’ dollGirlfriend/wife
Oul’ man’s arseSomeone grown old whilst young.
‘Yer man dere is a right oul man’s arse…he never goes out playing or anything’
 Northside
Oul’ RowdlumA humorous, affectionate name for a husband ‘I better go home to get Oul’ Rowdlum’s tea’ Street traders on Cornmarket Street, 1950s/1960s
Out with (someone)Be offended with/refuse to speak to (someone) ‘Barney is out with Mick’
Pana/Doin’ Pana(St) Patrick’s Street/Strolling down (St) Patrick’s Street (Corkonians usually leave out the ‘St’ part of the street name)
Paper/De paperCork Examiner/Irish Examiner (newspaper)
(The) PassoverTrinity Bridge over the south channel of the LeeThe bridge was formally opened by Gerald Goldberg , the Lord Mayor of Cork, in 1977. Mr Goldberg was a leading member of the Jewish community in Cork.
PisawnA small delicate individualFrom the Irish ‘padhsán’ meaning a delicate, complaining person
PooleyA child’s word for urineProbably descriptive
Pranna GardensA mispronunciation of the former Botanic Gardens which later became St Joseph’s Cemetery
Pure daycent
Excellent; brilliant e.g. ‘Dat feen’s a pure daycent player.’
Northside
RakeA large quantity, usually of alcoholic drink ‘Mick is dyin’, he had a rake of pints last night’
RasaRaspberry cordial
RockerA large stone but of manually movable size (not a boulder or fixed position rock).
“It wasn’t just a stone he threw. It was a rocker!”
Rubber dolliesRunners/Trainers/Running shoesRarely used, old slang
Sconce/Have a sconce atLook/Take a look at
ScoreA road bowling match ‘Are ye goin’ to the score out Dublin Hill?’
ScoveWalk/stroll ‘Do you fancy going for a scove?’
ScripSubscription ‘My father always paid his scrip to the trade union’Probably an abbreviation of ‘subscription’
Scuttering gunWater pistol
SepticVery vain. ‘Look at your man, he thinks he’s it, he’s septic.’
Seven shows of CorkVerbal abuse ‘Mary was so annoyed she gave Danny the seven shows of Cork.’
ShapingShowing off ‘Look at that one an’ she shapin.’
Shore A drain or any trap to take water from roads ,example of use; me mam poured the tea down the shore
SkeeoriesHaws, the fruit of the hawthorn tree, the kernel of which was used as ammunition for pea-shootersMost likely from sceachóirí the Irish name for the fruit
Skite/On the skiteA bout of heavy drinking ‘Paddy’s wife is away an’ he’s on the skite’
SkullLoaf of bread with a round, skull-like shape
Slock (apples)Steal apples from an orchard ‘We slocked apples in Murphy’s garden yesterday’
SpoggerA peak cap
Spur/spurblindVisually impaired/blindProbably from ‘purblind’
Square pushingCourting/kissing and cuddlingThe phrase is also used in Dorset in England.
StailcTantrum ‘That child is in a stailc.’From the Irish ‘stailc’ meaning ‘sulkiness’
SteerinahA steering cart. A homemade  cart for children, usually with ball bearings for wheels.
StrawkallingJust passing the time/Doing nothing muchA mispronunciation of ‘stroke hauling’, an illegal method of catching fish by impaling them on a sharp hook attached to a rod or pole. Note also the Irish word ‘stracáil’ meaning ‘struggling, striving’
Take a rabie / Throw a rabieGet very angry or worked upPossibly from rabid in the sense of ‘raging’
TelevatedDressed-up
Tom ShehawdyAn unkempt, dishevelled person. ‘Look at the state of him, he’s like Tom Shehawdy’Coal Quay traders circa 1950
Tocht (Pronounced ‘tuct’)A catch/lump in the throat due to emotion ‘The poor child is crying so much he has a tocht’From the Irish word ‘Tocht’ in the sense of deep emotion. Ó Dónaill’sFoclóir Gaeilge-Béarla has ‘Bhí tocht orm.’ – ‘I couldn’t speak with emotion’
Tory topA pine coneProbably from the resemblance of a pine cone to a spinning top toy for children
Tuck see Tocht
Two-bulb Police van
Ucks/UxThe core of an apple. ‘When you’re finished, will ye give us the ucks.’
Union, The An old name for St Finbarr’s hospital which was formerly the Cork Union workhouse. An older generation of Cork people had a great fear of ending up in the ‘Union’.
Wax a gazaClimb up a gas lamp. Often used as a way of telling someone to go away. ‘Go wax a gaza for yourself.’‘Gaza’ is slang for gas lamp
 Wazzie A wasp. ‘I got stung by a wazzie’
 Wide see ‘Be doggy wide’