IRISH SLANG: Top 101 Words & Phrases Used in Daily Life

Need to Brush Up on Your Irish Slang? Here are the Top 101 Most-Used Irish Slang Phrases.

Irish Slang Words and Phrases Featured Image: Left side shows the Derry Girls with the phrase 'raging', right side shows Irish lads with the phrase 'deadly'.

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

While the English language prevailed across Ireland throughout the 19th century, the Irish developed plenty of slang phrases to make the language their own.

Indeed, since the dawn of time, the Irish have managed to invent our very own slang words and expressions 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!

Ireland Before You Die’s Fun Facts About Irish Slang:

  • Lots of Irish slang words have been borrowed from the Irish language – for example, craic.
  • Ireland has various dialects and slang words also differ throughout the country. For example, Dublin slang is completely different from Cork slang.
  • Pronunciations vary widely, making words like “craic” (fun) sound like “crack,” which can make it hard for visitors to understand locals.
  • Thanks to iconic Irish TV shows like Father Ted and Derry Girls, hilarious Irish slang continues to spread around the world.
  • Irish slang massively reflects the humour of Irish people – fun, witty, and very sarcastic!

Everyday language In Ireland: Top 101 Irish Slang Words and Phrases

1. Acting the maggot

Meaning: Fooling and messing around.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Stop acting the maggot and concentrate on your homework!”

2. Arseways

Meaning: Mixed up, backwards, or wrong.

Usage Area: South of the border.

Example: “You’ve got it all arseways.”

3. Bad dose

Meaning: Severe illness.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

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

4. Bags

Meaning: To make a mess of doing something.

Usage Area: Dublin and surrounding areas.

Example: “He made a right bags of that.”

5. Bang on

Meaning: Right, accurate, correct.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “You are bang on.”

6. Banjaxed

A broken chair. Banjaxed is an Irish slang word to describe this.

Meaning: Broken or not working properly.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “The chair is banjaxed.”

7. Banter

Meaning: Playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “We had great banter at the pub last night.”

8. Black stuff

Meaning: Guinness.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “A pint of the black stuff, please.”

9. Bleedin’ ride

Meaning: Good looking person.

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “See your man over there? He’s a bleedin’ ride, isn’t he?”

10. Boggin’

Meaning: Dirty or disgusting.

Usage Area: Northern Ireland.

Example: “That place was boggin’ after the rain.”

11. Boyo

Meaning: Male (juvenile).

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “Come on, you boyo!”

12. Bout ye!

Meaning: How are you?

Usage Area: Belfast.

Example: “Bout ye? How’s things?”

13. Brutal

Meaning: Awful, dreadful.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “It was a brutal tackle.”

14. Bucketing down

Heavy rain. Bucketing down is the Irish slang phrase to describe this.

Meaning: Raining heavily.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “It is bucketing down.”

15. Bunk off

Meaning: Skip (school or work).

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “Do you want to bunk off tomorrow?”

16. Chancer

Meaning: Someone who takes a risk.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “He is a real chancer.”

17. Chiseler

Meaning: Young child (Dublin slang).

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “He was a chiseler at the time.”

READ ALSO: Dublin Slang Phrases

18. Ciotóg

Meaning: Left-handed.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “I am a Ciotóg and proud.”

19. Cod/codding ya

Meaning: To tease or joke with someone (pull someone’s leg).

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “I am only codding ya!”

20. Craic

Meaning: Fun, gossip, goings-on.

Usage Area: All of Ireland and popular with the Irish diaspora worldwide.

Example: “What’s the craic?”

21. Crack on

Meaning: Continue on, get going.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “I must crack on, lots to do.”

22. Culchie

Meaning: Irish person from rural/agricultural area of Ireland.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “She is a culchie originally.”

23. Cute hoor

Meaning: A person who quietly engineers things to their own advantage.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “He is a real cute hoor.”

24. C’mere til I tell ya

Meaning: Precedes a statement to indicate more information.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “C’mere til I tell ya, did you hear your one Suzanne is getting fired?”

25. Deadly

Meaning: Brilliant, fantastic, great.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “That was a deadly film.”

A man who thinks the beer is class! Deadly is an Irish slang word to describe this.
A man who thinks the beer is class! Deadly is an Irish slang word to describe this.

26. Delira

Meaning: Delighted

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “Are you delira about it?”

27. Donkey’s years

Meaning: For a very long time.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “They have lived there donkey’s years.”

28. Dosser

Meaning: Someone not working or messing about.

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “They are a couple of dossers.”

29. Eat the head off

Meaning: To give out to someone.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Don’t eat the head off me.”

30. Eejit

Meaning: Complete fool, doing something silly.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “You are such an eejit.”

31. Earwigging

Meaning: Listening in on a private conversation.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “You were earwigging again, yes?”

32. Effin’ and blindin’

Meaning: Swearing and cursing.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “He was effin’ and blindin’ nonstop.”

33. Eff off

Meaning: Polite swear word (for the F word). Also used as an exclamation of disbelief.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Ah, just eff off, will ya.”

34. Fair play!

Meaning: Well done!

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Fair play, mate!”

35. Feck Off

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

Usage Area: South of the border.

Example: “Feck off… don’t be bothering me.”

36. Fella

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

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Is your fella going to be there?”

37. Fierce

Meaning: Very good, great, excellent.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “It was a fierce performance.”

38. Fine thing

Meaning: Good-looking man or woman.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “That guy is a fine thing.”

39. Floozie

Meaning: Woman of dubious moral attributes.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “The place is full of floozies.”

40. Fluthered

Meaning: Very drunk.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “I was absolutely fluthered last night.”

41. Gaff

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

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “I will pop over to your gaff later.”

42. Gammy

Crooked, or odd-looking. Gammy is the word to describe this.

Meaning: Crooked, or odd-looking.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “He had a gammy leg.”

43. Gander

Meaning: Quick glance.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Take a quick gander in here first.”

44. Gas

Meaning: Funny or amusing.

Usage Area: South of the border.

Example: “He is a gas man.”

45. Gaelic

Meaning: Refers to the Irish language. It can also refer to Gaelic football (sport).

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Many Irish slang words come from Irish Gaelic” or “Are you still playing Gaelic?”

46. Gerrup Outta That

Meaning: Expression of disbelief or dismissal.

Usage Area: Kidare.

Example: “Gerrup outta that, you’re joking!”

47. Get outta that garden!

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

Usage Area: Navan.

Example: “Wud ya get outta that garden!!!”

48. Giz’ a shot of that

Meaning: Can I have/use whatever you are holding/using?

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “C’mere, giz’ a shot of your burger there, will ye?”

49. Grand

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

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “We will meet you there – ‘Grand’.”

50. Hallion

Meaning: A rascal or mischievous person.

Usage Area: Northern Ireland.

Example: “He’s a wee hallion, always up to something.”

51. Holy Joe

Meaning: Self-righteous or religious person.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “She is a bit of a holy joe actually.”

52. Holy show

Meaning: Disgraceful scene.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “She made a holy show of herself.”

53. How’s she cuttin’?

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

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “How’s she cuttin’?”

54. Howya

Meaning: Hi, hello.

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “Howya doin’?”

55. Jackeen

Meaning: A rural person’s name for a Dubliner.

Usage Area: Rural Ireland.

Example: “You are a jackeen… my sympathies!”

56. Jacks

Meaning: Toilet.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “I’m off to the jacks!”

57. Jaysus

Meaning: Exclamation of surprise or emphasis.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Jaysus, it’s freezing today!”

58. Jesus, Mary, Joseph

Meaning: Expression of surprise or shock.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, what happened here?”

59. Jo maxi

Meaning: Taxi, cab.

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “We can get a jo maxi in later.”

60. Kip

Meaning: A dump of a place and also a sleep.

Usage Area: Dublin.

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

61. Knackered

A man sleeping because he is tired. He is knackered if you are talking in Irish slang.

Meaning: Exhausted, tired.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “I was completely knackered.”

62. Langers

Meaning: Drunk.

Usage Area: Cork and the surrounding areas.

Example: “She was totally langers last Friday.”

63. Lash

Meaning: Referring to bad weather, specifically to rain hard, to make an attempt at something, or to go out drinking.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

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

64. Leg it

Meaning: Run away quickly.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

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

65. Locked

Meaning: Very drunk.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “He was totally locked at closing time.”

66. Manky

Meaning: Dirty, filthy, disgusting.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “My hair feels manky, it needs a wash.”

67. Melter

Meaning: Someone who is annoying or a nuisance.

Usage Area: Northern Ireland.

Example: “Stop being such a melter!”

READ ALSO: Belfast Slang Phrases

68. Minerals

Meaning: Soft drinks.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Pick up some minerals at the shop.”

69. Moran

Meaning: A derogatory term meaning fool.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “He looks a right moran.”

70. Mortified

Meaning: Highly embarrassed.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “I was mortified when I realised my mistake.”

71. Mot

Meaning: Irish term for a girlfriend.

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “Where’s your mot tonight?”

72. Mouldy

Meaning: Very drunk.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “He was absolutely mouldy after the party.”

73. Murder

Meaning: Very difficult or to really want to do something.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “I had such a long day. I could murder a Guinness!”

74. Nixer

Meaning: Job done for cash to avoid tax.

Usage Area: Dublin and the surrounding areas.

Example: “He can do it as a nixer for you.”

75. Not the full shilling

Meaning: Not fully sane or lacks intelligence.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

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

76. On the tear

Meaning: Going drinking.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “We were on the tear last night.”

77. Ossified

Meaning: Drunk.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “We got ossified.”

78. Oul fella

Meaning: An affectionate term for your father, dad (Dublin slang).

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “My oul fella is out at the moment.”

79. Oul Dear / Oul Wan

Meaning: Your mother, mom.

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “My oul dear is out shopping.”

80. Pictures

Meaning: Movies, film.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “We went to the pictures a week ago.”

81. Piss / Pissed

Meaning: To be very drunk or to tease someone

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example 1: “I was really pissed last night in the pub!”

Example 2 (to tease): “He was taking the piss out of everyone.”

82. Puss (To have a puss on you)

Meaning: Sulky face.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Take that puss off your face.”

83. Rugger Bugger

Meaning: Someone posh, loud and loves rugby.

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “He is a rugger bugger for sure.”

84. Savage

Meaning: Great, brilliant.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “It was a savage contest till the end.”

85. Scarlet

Meaning: Very embarrassed.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “I was scarlet.”

86. Scundered

Meaning: Embarrassed or ashamed.

Usage Area: Northern Ireland.

Example: “I was scundered after tripping in front of everyone!”

87. Shattered

Meaning: Exhausted.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “After driving, I was shattered.”

88. Slag/Slagging

Meaning: To make fun of someone in a nice way.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “He was only slagging you off, don’t worry.”

89. Sláinte

Meaning: Cheers or good health (used when toasting).

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “We raised our glasses and said, ‘Sláinte!'”

90. Sorry

Meaning: Commonly used even when not at fault, often as a polite gesture.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Sorry, can I get in there please?”

91. Steamin’

Meaning: Very drunk.

Usage Area: Northern Ireland.

Example: “He was absolutely steamin’ after the pub.”

92. Story? (What’s the)

Meaning: Hi, what’s happening?

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “What’s the story, Rory?”

93. Suckin’ diesel (Now you’re)

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

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

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

94. The Pale

Meaning: Anywhere in the region of Dublin.

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “I am living just outside The Pale.”

95. Thick

Meaning: Extremely stupid.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “He is as thick as a plank.”

96. Throw shapes

Show off, sometimes aggressively and usually when drunk. Throw shapes is the Irish slang phrase for this.

Meaning: Show off, sometimes aggressively and usually when drunk.

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “They were all throwing shapes in the pub.”

97. Trinners

Meaning: Trinity College Dublin.

Usage Area: Dublin.

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

98. Wee dote

Meaning: A term of endearment for a cute or lovely person, often a child.

Usage Area: Northern Ireland.

Example: “That baby is a wee dote.”

99. Wee fella

Meaning: Little boy.

Usage Area: Northern Ireland.

Example: “Look at the wee fella, he’s so cute!”

100. Wind yer neck in

Meaning: Calm down or mind your own business.

Usage Area: Northern Ireland.

Example: “Wind yer neck in and stop causing trouble.”

101. Wreck the gaff

Meaning: To destroy a place (literally), or go mad (figuratively).

Usage Area: Dublin.

Example: “Jaysus, Saturday night was mental, we absolutely wrecked the gaff! You should have seen the state of it the next morning!”

Irish slang just outside the top 101:

Quare

Meaning: Very or extremely.

Usage Area: All of Ireland, especially in Northern Ireland.

Example: “That was a quare good film!”

I will yeah!

Meaning: Used sarcastically to indicate that no intention of doing something.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Are you going to do your homework?” “I will yeah!”

Sauntering

Meaning: Walking in a very slow, relaxed way.

Usage Area: Derry.

Example: “He was just sauntering down the street there!”

READ ALSO: Derry Girls Slang Phrases

Gombeen

Meaning: A shady person.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “He’s a real gombeen, always up to no good!”

Give my head peace!

Meaning: Stop bothering me.

Usage Area: Northern Ireland.

Example: “Away and give my head peace and stop asking so many questions!”

Cracker

Meaning: Fantastic or excellent.

Usage Area: Northern Ireland.

Example: “That present is a real cracker.”

Dirtbird

Meaning: Someone who is messy or dirty!

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Look at the state of him, he’s a right dirtbird!”

Minger

Meaning: Someone very unattractive or unpleasant.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “She’s an absolute minger!”

Poke

Credit: pixabay.com / @stevepb

Meaning: An ice cream cone, especially one from an ice cream van.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “Can you please get me a 99 poke?”

I’m weak

Meaning: Finding something extremely funny.

Usage Area: All of Ireland.

Example: “I’m weak after hearing that joke!”

FAQs Answered About Irish Slang

Why do the Irish say Feck?

Feck is a less offensive alternative to a well-known wear word.

What do the Irish call a girl?

There are various Irish slang phrases for girl, including lass, bure, or colleen.

What is a very Irish thing to say?

“What’s the craic?” is probably the most common Irish slang greeting in Ireland and it means “what’s happening?” or “How are you?”

What is cool in Irish slang?

“Deadly” or “Savage” are Irish slang terms which mean something is very cool, good or impressive.

What is funny in Irish slang?

“Gas” is an Irish slang term which means something that is very funny or amusing.

How do you insult in Irish?

Some insults from Irish slang are fecker, eejit, gowl, tool, gobshite, among many others. Check out our top Irish insults here.

Further Reading: More Irish Slang Articles

Top Cork Slang Phrases

Top Dublin Slang Phrases

Top Belfast Slang Phrases

Top Wicklow Slang Phrases

Top Tipperary Slang Phrases

Top Galway Slang Phrases

Derry Girls Slang Phrases

Irish Slang about being drunk

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