People in Ireland speak English, but not exactly the "Queen’s English." With a little help from the Gaelic language—called Irish—the populace of the Emerald Isle have devised their very own collection of weird and wonderful words and phrases. Here are a few Irish colloquialisms to help you understand the next person you meet from Derry, Dublin, or Donegal.
Pronounced “rack,” this is a big one, and it means general banter or fun. Originally it was spelled crack when it was used by Ulster Scots. The Gaelic spelling of the word was not widely used in Ireland until it was popularized as the catchphrase in the Irish-language TV show SBB ina Shuí starting in the 1970s.
This term is used to describe something or someone who is very small.
Pronounced "wayne," this word means child.
4. Lethal or Leefs
These terms are mainly used northwestern Ireland, and both mean “great.” And leefs is also short for lethal.
Pronounced "kware,” this odd-looking word can be used in a variety of ways to mean great, very, and terrific.
6. Feck off
Quite possibly Ireland’s greatest linguistic achievement, this phrase is the perfect way to curse without technically cursing. Replace the e with a u, and you have what this slang term means.
A short, or wee (see above), walk.
This term refers to a slightly brisker walk that’s almost a strut, but with less self-confidence.
9. Aye and Naw
You can say aye for yes and naw for no.
While it might be confusing, yes means hello.
This term means it’s raining heavily. For example, if it’s lashing rain, you may want to just stay inside.
This word is used as a verb and it means to make a joke at someone else’s expense
13. Wired to the moon
You know that feeling you get when you’ve enjoyed a fairly big Tuesday night in a club, and then stumble into work the next morning after downing six espresso shots at the nearest Starbucks? That’s what some might call being wired to the moon.
14. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
When it comes to blasphemy, there are no half measures in Ireland. As a historically religious country, blasphemy is relatively frowned upon, so when an Irish person deems it absolutely necessary to take the Lord’s name in vain, they use the entire holy family.
You can use this word to say something is bad or awful. According to Ireland Calling it’s most likely short for the phrase “cat on a melodeon.” A melodeon is a small organ, so we can imagine a feline walking across one would not sound that great.
You can also use this word to describe something that’s bad.
According to Claddagh Design, you can use this term to describe someone as an idiot, but in an affectionate sort of way.
Again, another term to describe a person who isn’t so bright.
Yet another way to describe a person who is a bit of an idiot, or at least very annoying.
20. Haven’t a baldy notion
If you’re looking for a new way to say “I have no idea,” try this phrase on for size.
21. Wind your neck in
The perfect way to take someone who is overly arrogant down a peg or two? Tell them to wind their neck in. It basically means “be quiet!”
This means a long time.
This is a word for face.
A quick, or wee, look.
25. All lured
Another way to say you’re feeling delighted.