“What’s the craic”, a common Irish greeting, is not the only slang phrase that we Irish like to use daily. Here are the top ten most popular Irish slang words.
Believe it or not, most of our day to day conversations consist of regular Irish slang words that, funny enough, not everyone understands, even us Irish.
Slang words vary from county to county and pair that with each county’s distinct accent, you’ll be forgiven for not understanding what on earth we are trying to say.
Don’t give up on trying to decipher the leprechauns’ language just yet, because we have created the ultimate cheat sheet: a guide to Ireland’s best slang words.
So, next time you head out to the local country pub, you can converse with the locals without a second thought. Some of these may make no sense, but hey, that’s the beauty of it. So, let’s take a look at the top ten most popular Irish slang words.
10. Yoke – aka thing
Next time someone asks you to pass the ‘yoke’ over or asks what this ‘yoke’ is. You’ll quickly know that it’s not an egg they’re talking about. In fact, it could be almost anything.
9. Sound – aka reliable
The sentence may go a little like this: “Ah yer man over there, he’s a sound lad”.
This is a positive comment meaning he is a good guy.
8. Bogger – aka country folk
Some similar examples from around the world may be hick/hillbilly/bogan.
In Ireland, if you’re from anywhere outside a big city like Dublin, you’re pretty much considered a ‘bogger’, possibly referring to the land of the bogs, which is famous in Ireland.
7. Yer man/yer wan – aka the man/the woman
This one may sound peculiar, but believe it or not, it is probably the most common of all Irish slang words.
When speaking about someone in Ireland, we generally start by saying, “Ya see yer wan over there”, and then continuing on the story we are about to tell.
It’s a way of talking about someone without mentioning their name, whether it’s a man or a woman.
6. Gaff – aka house
Next time you’re invited to a ‘gaff’ party, you can relax as it just means someone is having a house party and you’re welcome. Gaff parties can be the best Irish parties you’ll find!
5. Plastered – aka drunk
Do you overhear Tom talking about how plastered John was at the gaff party last weekend, and you wonder what kind of accident did he get into?
Well, ‘plastered’ is an Irish term for drunk, not injured as you would imagine. So indeed, Jack is grand now!
4. Craic – aka fun or banter
Interestingly, the word craic is Irish for fun, so you may see many bars with signs outside saying ‘cráic agus ceoil’ (fun and music), so don’t be alarmed as it’s nothing illegal.
3. Gas – aka hilarious
Mary might say, “Jack told us all a joke at work the other day, it was absolutely gas”. This Irish slang word means Mary thinks Jacks joke-telling skills are pretty good, not that she thinks he has some flatulence problem.
2. Jacks – aka toilet
So, you might be on a night out and one by one, people keep saying they’re “going to the jacks”.
You might be confused and wondering who this Jack guy is that people keep approaching, but it’s actually just a slang term for toilet.
It is so popular in Ireland that some places may even have it written on the door, so look out for it next time.
1. Grand – aka fine or ok
And at number one on our list of the most popular Irish slang words is, of course, grand.
Grand is a word that is used by everyone no matter what age or where they are from in the country.
It purely means everything is fine or all is ok. “Sure, it’ll be grand,” is something we all like to say a lot, no matter the situation. We’re a nation full of optimists, after all!
So now that we’ve reached the end of our list of the most popular Irish slang words, you may have had a few of those ‘ah-ha’ moments, reminiscing over that time you once heard the lad beside you talking about his bogger friend who came to the gaff party at the weekend and got absolutely plastered but everyone thought he was gas craic.
We may not have covered every slang word in the Irish language, but that’s even more reason to get out there and try your hand at deciphering a few of those words we haven’t mentioned here.
No doubt, there will be many more of Ireland’s best slang words that you will come across, so get a head start and you’ll be sounding like one of us in no time.