Top 80 Irish phrases & slang words used in daily life

Need to brush up on your Irish slang? Here the top 80 most used Irish slang phrases.

Top 80 Irish phrases & slang words used in daily life

When you arrive in Ireland, you may be forgiven for thinking the English spoken here is a completely different language!

Indeed, since the dawn of time, the Irish have managed to invent our very own slang words and phrases to unleash on all unfamiliar with the lingo!

In this article, we highlight the most commonly heard Irish idioms and words, their meanings, and examples of how they are used in everyday speech.

You will be talking like a seasoned pro in no time!

Acting the maggot         

Meaning: Fooling and messing around  

Example: Stop acting the maggot

Bad dose           

Meaning: Severe illness

Example: You got a bad dose of it, didn’t you?

Bags (to make a bags of something)       

Meaning: Make a mess of doing something        

Example: He made a right bags of that

Bang on             

Meaning: Right, accurate, correct           

Example: You are bang on

Banjaxed     

Meaning: Broken           

Example: The chair is banjaxed

Black stuff

Meaning: Guinness       

Example: A pint of the black stuff, please

Boyo    

Meaning: Male, juvenile             

Example: Come on, you boyo!

Brutal  

Meaning: Awful, dreadful           

Example: It was a brutal tackle

Bucketing down

Meaning: Raining hard 

Example: It is bucketing down

Bunk off             

Meaning: Skip (school, work)     

Example: Do you want to bunk off tomorrow?

Chancer             

Meaning: Someone who takes a risk      

Example: He is a real chancer

Chiseler

Meaning: Young child (Dublin slang)      

Example: He was a chiseler at the time

Ciotóg  

Meaning: Left-handed  

Example: I am a Ciotóg and proud

Cod/codding ya

Meaning: To pull someone’s leg

Example: I am only codding ya!

Craic    

Meaning: Fun, gossip, goings-on

Example: What’s/where’s the craic?

Crack on            

Meaning: Continue on, get going            

Example: I must crack on, lots to do

Culchie

Meaning: Person from rural / agricultural area   

Example: She is a culchie originally

Cute hoor          

Meaning: Person who quietly engineers things to their own advantage  

Example: He is a real cute hoor

Delira and excira            

Meaning: Delighted and excited (Dublin slang)   

Example: Are you delira and excira about it?

Deadly 

Meaning: Brilliant, fantastic, great

Example: That was a deadly film

Donkey’s years 

Meaning: For a very, very long time        

Example: They have lived there donkey’s years

Dosser 

Meaning: Someone not working or is messing about, up to no good        

Example: They are a couple of dossers

Meaning: Eat the head off          

Meaning: To give out to someone          

Example: Don’t eat the head off me

Eejit      

Meaning: Complete fool, doing something silly  

Example: You are such an eejit

Earwigging

Meaning: Listening in on a private conversation

Example: You were earwigging again, yes?

Effin’ and blindin’          

Meaning: Swearing and cursing

Example: He was effin’ and blindin’ nonstop

Eff off  

Meaning: Polite swear word (for the F word)      

Example: Ah, just eff off, will ya

Fair play!           

Meaning: Well done!    

Example: Fair play, mate!

Feck Off             

Meaning: Go away (polite version), used to show surprise or shock         

Example: Feck off . . . . don’t be bothering me

Fella     

Meaning: Used for your guy, as in ‘me fella’; partner/husband/boyfriend

Example: Is your fella going to be there?

Fierce   

Meaning: Very good, great, excellent

Example: It was a fierce performance

Fine thing          

Meaning: Good-looking man or woman

Example: That guy is a fine thing

Floozie 

Meaning: Woman of dubious moral attributes   

Example: The place is full of floozies

Fluthered

Meaning: Very drunk    

Example: I was absolutely fluthered last night

Gaff      

Meaning: Home; to have a ‘free gaff’ means you are home alone

Example: I will pop over to your gaff later

Gammy

Meaning: Crooked, or odd-looking         

Example: He had a gammy leg

Gander

Meaning: Quick glance 

Example: Take a quick gander in here first

Gas       

Meaning: Funny or amusing      

Example: He is a gas man

Gawk   

Meaning: To stare rudely            

Example: Stop gawking

Get outta that garden! 

Meaning: Fun phrase used in a conversation to get a laugh, reaction       

Example: Wud ya get outta that garden!!!

Grand  

Meaning: Many uses; most often used as a reply to ‘How are you?’,  ‘How are you feeling?’, or being told of a decision       

Example: We will meet you there – “Grand”; Dinner will be in 10 minutes – “Grand”

Hames/haymes

Meaning: Complete mess           

Example: I made a complete haymes of that work

Holy Joe             

Meaning: Self-righteous or religious person

Example: She is a bit of a holy joe actually

Holy show         

Meaning: Disgraceful scene       

Example: She made a holy show of herself

How’s she cuttin’?         

Meaning: Hi; How are you?; What’s news?         

Example: How’s she cuttin’?

Howya 

Meaning: Hi, hello         

Example: Howya doin’?

Jackeen

Meaning: A rural person’s name for a Dubliner  

Example: You are a jackeen…my sympathies!

Jacks    

Meaning: Toilet

Example: I’m off to the jacks

Jo maxi

Meaning: Taxi, cab         

Example: We can get a jo maxi in later

Kip        

Meaning: A dump of a place and also a sleep      

Example: I had a quick kip before dinner; it was a real kip of a hotel

Knackered         

Meaning: Exhausted, tired         

Example: I was completely knackered

Langers

Meaning: Drunk

Example: She was totaly langers last Friday

Lash     

Meaning: 3 meanings: to rain hard; to make an attempt at something; or to go out drinking

Example: It was lashing out of the heavens. Give it a lash. Let’s go on the lash Saturday.

Leg it    

Meaning: Run away quickly        

Example: Come on, we need to leg it now!

Locked 

Meaning: Very drunk    

Example: He was totally locked at closing time

Manky 

Meaning: Dirty, filthy, Disgusting

Example: My hair feels manky, it needs a wash

Moran 

Meaning: Fool  

Example: He looks a right moran

Mortified           

Meaning: Highly embarrassed   

Example: I was mortified when I realised my mistake

Mot      

Meaning: Girlfriend (Dublin slang)          

Example: Where’s your mot tonight?

Murder

Meaning: Very difficult or to really want to do something            

Example: Finding a taxi was murder. I could murder a Guinness.

Nixer    

Meaning: Job done for cash to avoid tax

Example: He can do it as a nixer for you

Not the full shilling

Meaning: Not fully sane

Example: I don’t think he is the full shilling

On the tear       

Meaning: Going drinking            

Example: We were on the tear last night

Ossified

Meaning: Drunk             

Example: We got ossified

Oul fella             

Meaning: Your father, dad (Dublin slang)            

Example: My oul fella is out at the moment

Oul Dear / Oul Wan

Meaning: Your mother, mom    

Example: My oul dear is out shopping

Pictures           

Meaning: Movies, film      

Example: We went to the pictures a week ago

Puss (To have a puss on you)

Meaning: Sulky face      

Example: Take that puss off your face

Rugger Bugger

Meaning: Someone posh, loud and loves rugby 

Example: He is a rugger bugger for sure

Savage 

Meaning: Great, brilliant            

Example: It was a savage contest till the end

Scarlet 

Meaning: Very embarrassed

Example: I was scarlet

Shattered          

Meaning: Exhausted     

Example: After driving, I was shattered

Slag      

Meaning: A verb used to make fun of someone in a nice way or else it has the same meaning as elsewhere, i.e., common prostitute            

Example: He was only slagging you, don’t worry

Sorry    

Meaning: Means sorry and also ‘excuse me’, ‘pardon me’            

Example: Sorry, can I get in there please

Story? (What’s the)       

Credit: Tourism NI

Meaning: Hi, what’s happening?             

Example: What’s the story, Rory?

Suckin’ diesel (Now you’re)        

Meaning: Now you’re talking, now you’re doing well      

Example: Now you are suckin’ diesel, my friend!

The Pale             

Meaning: Anywhere in the region of Dublin        

Example: I am living just outside The Pale

Thick    

Meaning: Extremely stupid

Example: He is as thick as a plank

Throw shapes   

Meaning: Show off, sometimes aggressively       

Example: They were all throwing shapes in the pub

Trinners             

Meaning: Trinity College Dublin

Example: Did you go to Trinners to do your degree?

There you have them: the top 80 Irish slang words you’ll probably hear when visiting Ireland!

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