Common Irish Slang
The following hub is an account of vernacular phrases and words that can be heard said by the Irish in today’s modern society, not just by twenty something males such as myself, but by men and women from all backgrounds and ages. It is quite detailed in it’s usage and so commonly spoken it has become engraved in our everyday speech. This is a comprehensive guide for anybody visiting, studying or planning to work in Ireland, with an example of the word or phrase and an explanation to what they actually mean. So the next time you hear anything like ‘knacker’ ‘gobshite’ ‘sham’ etc. as you walk down the street, feel safe in the knowledge you know exactly what they are talking about.
CRAIC – This is the most commonly used word in Irish slang, and has a variety of different meanings such as ‘news’ or ‘fun’. A few common examples of the word ‘craic’ can be used in the following sentences such as, ‘that was some craic last night’, meaning ‘that was a great night’. It can be also used in a greeting such as… ‘Well! What’s the craic?’ Meaning ‘Hello, any news?’
GOBSHITE – Somebody who’s very stupid.
Gobshite derives from the word ‘gob’, meaning mouth and ‘shite’ meaning… well just take the e out of the word you’ll see for yourself. It’s more commonly used by the older generations when they smack a kid across the head who’s said something stupid or acted in a stupid way. You’ll normally hear it used in the following sentence… ‘He’s a pure and utter gobshite.’
SHAM – Another word with different meanings, in most parts of the country it means friend, but you wouldn’t say ‘he’s my sham’ because funnily enough that sounds camp, it’s more of a way of expressing yourself to a friend of yours by calling him sham when you meet him and It’s more a phrase for men. Women don’t call each other sham. In some parts of the country it’s insulting, i.e. ‘He’s a sham’, meaning he’s not a nice person. It can be confusing even for the Irish at times.
GOWL – Somebody who’s unbelievably stupid.
EEJIT – A fool, a common use for it is calling someone you think is a fool ,‘a big blithering eejit.’
SHNIZZLE – A strange phrase, it has only recently taken off thanks to Snoop Dog’s own version of invented slang a few years back, putting ‘izzle’ at the end of every word. Shnizzle is used in the form of a greeting…’What’s the shnizzle?’ Another use for it is when you feel confident around women or have become a womaniser, you turn around and say to your friends ‘I think I got my shnizzle on.’
CUALABUALA (Coola – Boola) - This means ‘fantastic’, ‘great’, ‘awesome’ it’s also used when you understand completely when a friends says where they’ll be, or what they’re doing at a certain time, it’s most commonly used to confirm a time and place when meeting someone.
KNACKER – An insult, similar to ‘scumbag’.
HEADER –Somebody who’s crazy, people from Dublin often use it with the slang word ‘bleedin’ before it, without the g at the end of the word. So somebody who is crazy is often described as in the following sentence…’He’s a bleedin header he is!’
SHIFT – This means to French kiss someone in a nightclub i.e. ‘I got the shift last night’.
JACKS – Another way of saying toilet…’I got to nip off to the jacks.’
BANJAXED – Meaning when something is broken that can’t be fixed. Again people from Dublin use the word bleedin in front of it i.e. ‘Me car is bleedin banjaxed!’
YOKE – When you can’t think of the word for the object you are looking for, you say ‘Where’s me yoke?’ another saying is ‘yokeamebob’ i.e. ‘Pass me the eh…(clicks fingers)…the eh…you know…the yokeamebob’. Yokeamebob is similar to a ‘thingimejiggar’ or a ‘whatchyamacallit’
CULCHIE – Somebody from the countryside or in the eyes of Dublin people…anybody who’s not from Dublin.
SLAG – To kid or to joke with someone…’Sure I’m only slagging ya!’
RUBBERED – Another way of saying you were drunk…’Ah sham, I was rubbered last night.’
FECK – In Ireland, feck is an allowable swear word and widespread throughout the country. If you want to swear but you don’t want to get your mouth taped over, change the u to the e, you get feck…
GAMMY – This means useless or disgusting…’He has a gammy leg’ or ‘My god that looks gammy, get it out of my face!’
SICK – Another way of saying that something is unbelievable, ‘savage’ is another word that means the same thing. Basically words that mean something shockingly bad in other countries means they are shockingly good in Ireland.
BOCKY – This means to have a limp, ‘That man has a bocky leg.’
Common Irish Phrases
I will in me hole – ‘I will definitely not do that’
I will in me bollix – ‘I will most definitely not do that’
Stop acting the maggot- ‘Stop messing around’
Come here till I tell ya – ‘I really need to tell you something’
Ya did in your arse – ‘You’re lying to me’
She’s a cute whore that one – ‘There’s something shifty about her’
She has a right puss on her – ‘She needs to smile more’
He’s proper shook so he is – ‘He is extremely sick’
She gave me a right bollicking – ‘She screamed abuse at me’
You look desperate – ‘You don’t look well’
He’s about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike – ‘He has no outstanding talents’
Spotty Dog – ‘Brilliant’
Try this; it’s the cat’s pyjamas – ‘Try this you’ll love it’
Sexy Cabbage – ‘I approve’
Mouldy Cabbage – ‘I’m extremely hung-over’
She’d lie down in a bed of nettles that one – ‘She has no shame’
She has a face on her like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle – ‘She definitely needs to smile more’
How’s your hole? – ‘How are you doing’
To any fellow Irish hubbers out there who has any phrases of their own please comment and I can add them to the list, to all the rest of the hubbers around the world I hope that this guide is useful…Sláinte!...