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 for this piece.

Word / Phrase Meaning Source / Deriviation
Allergic A strong expression of dislike:
“I’m allergic to dat fella – I don’t like him.”
All gillete Dressed-up
All-a-baa Up-for-grabs. Usually said by children playing when objects were flung up in the air.
Ark, The The Arcadia ballroom that stood on the Lower Glanmire Road
As old as Atty Hayes’s goat Very old Attiwell Hayes, a Cork brewer of the late 18th and early 19th century, kept a pet goat which lived to a great age.
Away for slates Do well or be successful: “After the goal Cork were away for slates”
Ballahs Game involving small steel balls played in association with the game of “glassey alleys” Northside
Ball hopper Joker or mischievously humorous person
Balm out Lie 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
Banker A feral pigeon. Young pigeon enthusiasts would trap bankers and bring them home to their pigeon-lofts to breed racing pigeons
Bar-of-gold The most  favoured child in a family, usually the youngest: “Young Danny is Mary’s bar-of-gold.”
Bareas Bare feet
Barracka Barrack 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”).
Bathinas Bathing togs/suits
Bate (Pronounced like ‘baat’.) A piece (of bread/meat): “There’s a bate of bread for ye.”
Bawlk the robber Scruffily dressed: “Look at the cut of yer man, he looks like bawlk the robber.”
Baytur Idiot
Bazzer Haircut
Beat that in two throws! A term of approval used when something remarkable has been said or done From 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 binooo Signal / 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
Blackas Blackberries
Blood-and-bandages The 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 girl An unfashionably dressed young woman
Boy, The The 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’
Breezer A 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.
Bronson Eccentric person
Bruss Crumbled 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
Buckshee Something for nothing — a gift, a freebie Possible 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
Buffer A 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.”
Cawhake To 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?
 Chainies Bits of broken table ware with which girls played. “Playing chanies” was common Most likely an older pronunciation of china (cups and saucers) in the plural
‘Chalk it down’ Absolutely right
Cheeser To 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
Chessie A chestnut, especially one used in the children’s game ‘conkers’
Choicer Nothing: ‘He hardly did it for choicer’
Clobber Clothes, particularly a man’s suit: “Johnny got a lovely clobber in Cronin’s.”
Collie A uniformed warden of public parks Memory, personal experience
Conjun box A savings box, typically for children
Conkers A children’s game played with chestnuts which had string put through holes bored through their centres.
Connie dodger Formerly 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.
Connishurer A gossip
Dagenham Yank A Corkman working in Fords in Dagenham back home on vacation. Many Corkmen got employment in the Ford plant in Dagenham.
Dawfake A badly made object. ‘That’s an awful dawfake of a chair’
Dawk A dig. ‘Give him a dawk to shut him up’
Deko see Have a deko
Diddle-um A savings scheme operated by a few people, usually women. Compare with ‘manage’.
Doing a line Being in a relationship with somebody ‘Joe and Angela are doing a line for years’
Dolled-up Dressed-up
Donkey’s gudge A cake whose ingredients include stale bread/ stale cake and raisins
Dooshie/doonshie Very small ‘Can I have a dooshie piece of chocolate?’
Down the banks A reprimand. ‘I gave him down the banks’ – ‘I reprimanded him’
Dowtcha boy! Term of approval Presumably a shortened version of ‘I wouldn’t doubt you, boy!’
Drink the cape off Saint Paul Capacity for holding strong drink ‘Paddy had ten pints but that fella could drink the cape off Saint Paul’
Drisheen A 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
Fagaas The 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 jacket A tight-fitting coat
Feck The game of pitch-and-toss
Feek To have sex with Northside
Fifty Failure to turn up for an arranged meeting, especially a date ‘Tom is raging; he got a fifty last night’ Possibly from fifty per-cent
Flah Have sexual intercourse. Also used as a noun meaning a promiscuous woman. Possibly from the Irish ‘fleadh’ which means ‘festival’.
Fudgies Odds and ends carried by little boys in their pockets, which they swapped
Funt A kick
Gadget Melodeon
Gatch (Pronounced ‘gaatch’) Gait, carriage, personal deportment. Usually used disparagingly. ‘Look at the gatch of him.’
Gatting Are you going ‘drinking’
Gawks Feeling ill/like you’re going to be sick. “That breast in a bun gave me the gawks”.
Gildy Looking after ones appearance.  Munster fusileers
Gillete see ‘All gillete’
Give (someone) a berril Call on somebody
Glassy alleys A small glass sphere used in the children’s game marbles
Gobs A game played with pebbles. White smooth marble pebbles where highly prized for this game and these were also known as “gobs”.
Gom Idiot/foolish person.
Going-on-scrips/scripts Instructions/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’
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’
Goose-as Gooseberries
Gowl  Silly, unpleasant person ‘Don’t mind him, he’s only a gowl.’
Guzz-eyed Cross-eyed
‘Hand me down the moon’ Extremely tall person
Haunted Very lucky ‘The Glen were haunted to win that match’
Have a deko Take a look at
Head-the-ball Foolish/silly person. Someone who’s headed a football so often that it’s affected his brain.
Hobble To steal: ‘Joe hobbled the apple in the shop’
Hoggy Ba’s Horgan’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 Railway From 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
Jag A date with a member of the opposite sex ‘I’ve a jag with the oul’ doll tonight’
Johnny Raw-Jaws A cranky person, especially a cranky man
Joulter A man’s nickname
Lamp To look at something/someone “Bill was lampin’ the lasher”
Lang, see: On the lang Also 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
Lasher A good-looking young woman.
Leadránach Tedious, 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?’
Loberty Trouble, especially financial. ‘That man is in the height of loberty.’ Coal Quay dealers 1960s
Logie Sluggish, slow, lazy ‘I’ve no energy, I’m logie from the heat’
Lop A penny. ‘Give the child a few lops’
Lowry A dig/punch ‘Give someone a lowry’ Bandon Road area circa 2000
Ma’s Mope A foolish person Slang used by older generation
Manage A savings scheme operated by a few people, usually women. ‘Don’t forget to give Mary the money for the manage’ Compare diddle-um.
Mass/meas Worth/value ‘I’ve mass on that’ From the Irish ‘meas’ meaning ‘judgement/regard’
Massive Very good/beautiful ‘The Christmas dinner was only massive’
Mawser Old cat/old woman
Me daza Term of approval ‘That lemonade is me daza’
Meb Idiot ‘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’
Mockeeah Pretend, fictional Mock-ee-ah
Moylo Drunk
Niner The card game nine-card brag
Nobber Promiscuous man
Noo-de-naw An indecisive person
On the lang Being absent from school without permission
Oul’ doll Girlfriend/wife
Oul’ man’s arse Someone grown old whilst young.
‘Yer man dere is a right oul man’s arse…he never goes out playing or anything’
Oul’ Rowdlum A 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 paper Cork Examiner/Irish Examiner (newspaper)
(The) Passover Trinity Bridge over the south channel of the Lee The 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.
Pisawn A small delicate individual From the Irish ‘padhsán’ meaning a delicate, complaining person
Pooley A child’s word for urine Probably descriptive
Pranna Gardens A 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.’
Rake A large quantity, usually of alcoholic drink ‘Mick is dyin’, he had a rake of pints last night’
Rasa Raspberry cordial
Rocker A 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 dollies Runners/Trainers/Running shoes Rarely used, old slang
Sconce/Have a sconce at Look/Take a look at
Score A road bowling match ‘Are ye goin’ to the score out Dublin Hill?’
Scove Walk/stroll ‘Do you fancy going for a scove?’
Scrip Subscription ‘My father always paid his scrip to the trade union’ Probably an abbreviation of ‘subscription’
Scuttering gun Water pistol
Septic Very vain. ‘Look at your man, he thinks he’s it, he’s septic.’
Seven shows of Cork Verbal abuse ‘Mary was so annoyed she gave Danny the seven shows of Cork.’
Shaping Showing 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
Skeeories Haws, the fruit of the hawthorn tree, the kernel of which was used as ammunition for pea-shooters Most likely from sceachóirí the Irish name for the fruit
Skite/On the skite A bout of heavy drinking ‘Paddy’s wife is away an’ he’s on the skite’
Skull Loaf of bread with a round, skull-like shape
Slock (apples) Steal apples from an orchard ‘We slocked apples in Murphy’s garden yesterday’
Spogger A peak cap
Spur/spurblind Visually impaired/blind Probably from ‘purblind’
Square pushing Courting/kissing and cuddling The phrase is also used in Dorset in England.
Stailc Tantrum ‘That child is in a stailc.’ From the Irish ‘stailc’ meaning ‘sulkiness’
Steerinah A steering cart. A homemade  cart for children, usually with ball bearings for wheels.
Strawkalling Just passing the time/Doing nothing much A 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 rabie Get very angry or worked up Possibly from rabid in the sense of ‘raging’
Televated Dressed-up
Tom Shehawdy An 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 top A pine cone Probably from the resemblance of a pine cone to a spinning top toy for children
Tuck see Tocht
Two-bulb  Police van
Ucks/Ux The 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 gaza Climb 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’

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