105 Irish Slang Words & Phrases You Should Know (2024) (2024)

Hey there, folks! Get ready for a wild ride through the amazing world of Irish slang. It’s like a language all on its own, packed with colourful phrases, hilarious expressions, and a whole lot of Irish charm. From the streets of Dublin to the cosy pubs of Galway, the Emerald Isle is bursting with unique and vibrant lingo.

In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through the crazy, wonderful world of Irish slang. We’ll dig into its origins, dish out some popular phrases, and show you how it adds a whole lot of magic to everyday convos. So grab a pint (of the black stuff!), kick back, and let’s dive into this linguistic playground called Irish slang. Sláinte, my friends!

The origins of Irish slang

Irish slang has a wild mix of origins that will make your head spin! It all starts with the Irish language, or Gaeilge, which brought a lot of words and phrases into the mix. Then there’s Ireland’s history, with all its fights for freedom and British influence, leaving a mark on the slang game.

And let’s not forget about the regional flavours! Slang can change from county to county, showing off the unique vibes of each place. But it’s not just history and geography – popular culture and music also shape the slang scene.

Read: Everything you need to know about British Slang

105 Irish slang words and phrases

Get ready for a rollicking list of Irish slang that’ll have you grinning from ear to ear! We’ve rounded up some of the craziest, funniest, and most commonly used words and phrases in Ireland. From “craic” (meaning fun) to “yoke” (meaning thingamajig), this list will give you a taste of the linguistic wonders that make Irish English so unique. So, buckle up and prepare for a whirlwind tour of Irish slang!

1. Acting the maggot

Definition: Behaving mischievously or foolishly.

Example: “Stop acting the maggot and focus on your work!”

2. Amadán

Definition: Fool or idiot.

Example: “He drove on the wrong side of the road? What an amadán!”

3. Arseways

Definition: Messed up or confused.

Example: “I tried to fix my car, but I ended up doing it all arseways.”

4. Bagsy

Definition: Claiming something or reserving it for yourself.

Example: “I bagsy the front seat in the car!”

5. Banjaxed

Definition: Broken or ruined.

Example: “Sorry, mate, but your phone is banjaxed. It won’t turn on.”

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6. Barrer

Definition: A wheelbarrow.

Example: “Can you grab the barrer from the shed? We need it for the gardening.”

7. Beour

Definition: A girl or woman.

Example: “Did you see that beour over there? She’s stunning!”

8. Black stuff

Definition: Guinness beer.

Example: “I’m in the mood for a pint of black stuff at the pub.”

Check our ultimate guide to the best Guinness in Dublin!

9. Bleedin’

Definition: An intensifier, similar to “bloody” in British English.

Example: “It’s bleedin’ freezing outside! I can’t feel my fingers.”

10. Bogger

Definition: A person from rural areas.

Example: “He’s a proud bogger; he loves the countryside.”

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11. Bog roll

Definition: Toilet paper.

Example: “We’re out of bog roll; can you pick some up from the store?”

12. Bollocks

Definition: Nonsense or foolishness.

Example: “Don’t listen to him; he’s just talking bollocks.”

13. Boyo

Definition: A term of address for a boy or man.

Example: “Alright, boyo? How’s it going?”

14. Buck eejit

Definition: An extremely foolish or stupid person.

Example: “He poured milk before adding cereal. What a buck eejit!”

15. Cat

Definition: An unpleasant or difficult situation.

Example: “The traffic was an absolute cat; it took forever to get home.”

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16. Chancer

Definition: a person who takes risks or engages in opportunistic behaviour, often with the intention of gaining an advantage or achieving success.

Example: “He’s a real chancer; he always takes on new projects without much planning but somehow manages to come out successful.”

17. Chipper

Definition: A fish and chip shop or takeaway.

Example: “I’m craving some fish and chips; let’s hit up the chipper down the street.”

18. Chiseler

Definition: A child.

Example: “Watch out for that little chiseler; he’s full of mischief.”

19. Clatter

Definition: A lot or large amount.

Example: “I’ve got a clatter of assignments due next week; it’s going to be a busy one.”

20. Clem

Definition: To steal or take something without permission.

Example: “Did you see her clem that candy from the store?”

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21. Cop on

Definition: To gain understanding or common sense.

Example: “You need to cop on and start taking your responsibilities seriously.”

22. Craic

Definition: Fun or entertainment.

Example: “We had a great night out at the pub; the music and craic were fantastic.”

Check things to do in Dublin for a taste of the local craic!

23. Culchie

Definition: A person from rural areas.

Example: “He’s a true culchie at heart, always talking about farm life and the countryside.”

24. Deadly

Definition: Excellent or amazing.

Example: “That concert last night was deadly! The band put on an incredible show.”

25. Deadly buzz

Definition: An exciting or thrilling experience.

Example: “Going on a roller coaster was a deadly buzz; my heart was racing!”

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26. Dose

Definition: An annoying or unpleasant person.

Example: “She’s such a dose; she always complains about everything.”

27. Eejit

Definition: An idiot or foolish person.

Example: “I can’t believe he tried to fix his computer by hitting it. What an eejit!”

28. Eff off

Definition: An impolite way to tell someone to leave or go away.

Example: “If you don’t like it, you can eff off!”

29. Fair play

Definition: Acknowledgment or approval of someone’s actions.

Example: “You finished the project ahead of schedule? Fair play to you!”

30. f*ck

Definition: A milder alternative to a stronger expletive.

Example: “f*ck! I spilled coffee on my new shirt.”

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31. Feek

Definition: A term of endearment for someone attractive.

Example: “Look at her; she’s a right feek!”

32. Fella

Definition: A man or guy.

Example: “I’m going out with a fella I met at the pub last week.”

33. Flah

Definition: Show off or boast.

Example: “He’s always flahing about his new car and expensive clothes.”

34. Fry

Definition: A traditional Irish breakfast.

Example: “Nothing beats a hearty fry-up with bacon, eggs, and black pudding.”

35. Gaff

Definition: House or home.

Example: “I’m having a party at my gaff this Saturday; you should come.”

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36. Gammy

Definition: Injured or sore.

Example: “I twisted my ankle playing football; it’s a bit gammy now.”

37. Gas

Definition: Funny or entertaining.

Example: “That comedian had us in stitches; he was absolutely gas.”

38. Gobsh*te

Definition: A foolish or ignorant person.

Example: “Ignore him; he’s just a gobsh*te with no clue what he’s talking about.”

39. Geebag

Definition: An annoying or unpleasant person.

Example: “She’s always complaining and causing trouble; what a geebag.”

40. Gowl

Definition: An idiot or foolish person.

Example: “He crashed his car again? What a gowl!”

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41. Grand

Definition: Good or satisfactory.

Example: “The weather’s grand today; let’s go for a walk in the park.”

42. Hames

Definition: A mess or something done in a clumsy or chaotic manner.

Example: “She made a hames of her presentation; it was all over the place.”

43. Holy show

Definition: A complete mess or disaster.

Example: “The party turned into a holy show when the cake fell off the table.”

44. Howya

Definition: A greeting, short for “How are you?”

Example: “Howya! Long time no see. How have you been?”

45. Jackeen

Definition: A Dubliner, sometimes used derogatorily.

Example: “Don’t mind him; he’s just a jackeen who thinks Dublin is the center of the universe.”

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46. Jacks

Definition: Bathroom or toilet.

Example: “I’ll be back in a minute; I need to use the jacks.”

47. Jammers

Definition: Extremely crowded or full.

Example: “The pub was jammers last night; we could hardly move.”

48. Jaysus

Definition: An exclamation of surprise or shock, derived from “Jesus.”

Example: “Jaysus! Did you see the size of that spider? Scared the life out of me!”

49. Jumper

Definition: Sweater.

Example: “It’s chilly outside; don’t forget to wear a warm jumper.”

50. Keen

Definition: Very eager or enthusiastic.

Example: “She’s really keen to start her new job and make a good impression.”

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51. Knackered

Definition: Exhausted or worn out.

Example: “After running a marathon, I was absolutely knackered.”

52. Langer

Definition: An endearing term for a silly person.

Example: “You’re such a langer; always making me laugh with your jokes.”

53. Lashing

Definition: Pouring rain.

Example: “Better grab an umbrella; it’s lashing outside.”

54. Legends

Definition: Highly respected or admired individuals.

Example: “Those two musicians are absolute legends in the music industry.”

55. Lethal

Definition: Excellent or amazing.

Example: “His guitar skills are lethal; he can play any song flawlessly.”

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56. Like

Definition: Used as a filler word for emphasis or to indicate similarity.

Example: “I was, like, so tired after the party.”

57. Lock-in

Definition: An after-hours gathering in a pub.

Example: “The pub owner invited us for a lock-in after closing time.”

58. Manky

Definition: Dirty or disgusting.

Example: “I’m not touching that manky old sock; it’s covered in dirt.”

59. Melter

Definition: A person who annoys or irritates others.

Example: “He keeps calling and bothering me; he’s such a melter.”

60. Messages

Definition: Groceries or shopping.

Example: “I need to pick up a few messages from the supermarket.”

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61. Mog

Definition: A term of affection for a child or a pet.

Example: “Come here, you little mog; give me a hug.”

62. Mucker

Definition: A friend or companion.

Example: “He’s been my mucker since we were kids; we’ve always had

each other’s backs.”

63. Muppet

Definition: A foolish or gullible person.

Example: “He fell for the prank; what a muppet!”

64. Naggin

Definition: A small bottle of spirits.

Example: “Let’s bring a naggin of whiskey to the party for some shots.”

65. Nixer

Definition: An informal or casual job.

Example: “I took a nixer as a bartender at the local pub for some extra cash.”

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66. Off your rocker

Definition: Crazy or mentally unstable.

Example: “Are you off your rocker? No one believes that wild story.”

67. Oul dear

Definition: Mother or an older woman.

Example: “I’ll have a chat with my oul dear and see what she thinks.”

68. Oul fella

Definition: Father or an older man.

Example: “My oul fella loves to tell stories about his younger days.”

69. Paralytic

Definition: Extremely drunk or intoxicated.

Example: “He went to the party and got paralytic on tequila shots.”

70. Pissed

Definition: Drunk.

Example: “After a few pints, he was completely pissed.”

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71. Plonker

Definition: An idiot or fool.

Example: “He’s always making silly mistakes; what a plonker.”

72. Press

Definition: Cupboard or closet.

Example: “I stored the dishes in the press; they’re in the kitchen.”

73. Pure

Definition: Very or extremely.

Example: “She’s pure excited about her upcoming trip to Paris.”

74. Puss

Definition: Face or expression.

Example: “Why the long puss? Is something bothering you?”

75. Quare

Definition: Unusually or very.

Example: “That ride was quare fast; it made my heart race.”

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76. Ride

Definition: A sexually attractive person or an enjoyable experience.

Example: “She’s a right ride; everyone’s got a crush on her.”

77. Rotten

Definition: Extremely bad or unpleasant.

Example: “The milk in the fridge has gone rotten; it smells awful.”

78. Savage

Definition: Amazing or impressive.

Example: “The sunset at the beach was savage; the colours were breathtaking.”

79. Scarlet

Definition: Extremely embarrassed or mortified.

Example: “I spilled coffee on my shirt in front of everyone; I was scarlet.”

80. Scundered

Definition: Embarrassed or uncomfortable.

Example: “I tripped and fell in front of everyone; I was scundered.”

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81. Sham

Definition: A term of address for a friend or acquaintance.

Example: “Hey, sham, how’s it going?”

82. Shift

Definition: A kiss.

Example: “They had their first shift under the mistletoe at the Christmas party.”

83. sh*tehawk

Definition: A troublemaker or annoying person.

Example: “He’s always causing problems; what a sh*tehawk.”

84. Slagging

Definition: Playfully teasing or mocking someone.

Example: “We were slagging each other about our football teams.”

85. Sláinte

Definition: Cheers or good health.

Example: “Let’s raise our glasses and toast to the newlyweds—sláinte!”

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86. Sound

Definition: Cool, reliable, or trustworthy.

Example: “He’s a sound guy; he’ll always have your back.”

87. Spanner

Definition: A foolish or clumsy person.

Example: “He dropped his phone in the toilet; what a spanner!”

88. Spuds

Definition: Potatoes.

Example: “I’m making a traditional Irish stew with plenty of spuds.”

89. Stall the ball

Definition: To wait or pause a moment.

Example: “Stall the ball, I need to grab my jacket before we leave.”

90. State

Definition: A mess or chaotic situation.

Example: “Her room was in a complete state; clothes everywhere.”

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91. Steamin

Definition: Drunk or intoxicated.

Example: “After a night at the pub, he stumbled home, absolutely steamin’.”

92. Stocious

Definition: Very drunk.

Example: “They came back from the party stocious, singing and laughing.”

93. Stooked

Definition: Extremely tired or exhausted.

Example: “After hiking all day, I was stooked and ready for a good night’s sleep.”

94. Stunner

Definition: A very attractive person.

Example: “Did you see that girl at the party? She’s an absolute stunner.”

95. Suds

Definition: Soap or shampoo.

Example: “Pass me the bottle of suds; I need to wash my hands.”

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96. Swift one

Definition: A quick drink.

Example: “Let’s pop into the pub for a swift one before heading home.”

97. Tae

Definition: Tea.

Example: “Would you like a cup of tae? It’s just brewed.”

98. Take the piss

Definition: Mock or make fun

Example: “He likes to take the piss out of his friends, but it’s all in good fun.”

99. Up to ninety

Definition: Very busy or hectic.

Example: “I’ve been up to ninety with work lately; it’s been non-stop.”

100. What’s the story?

Definition: A common way to ask “How are you?” or “What’s happening?”

Example: “Hey, mate! What’s the story? Long time no see!”

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101. Wee

Definition: Small or little.

Example: “Could you pass me that wee book from the shelf?”

102. Whisht

Definition: Be quiet or hush.

Example: “Whisht now; the movie is about to start.”

103. Yer man

Definition: Referring to a specific person, usually when you can’t recall their name.

Example: “Yer man from down the street fixed my car; he’s a great mechanic.”

104. Yer wan

Definition: Referring to a specific woman, usually when you can’t recall her name.

Example: “I saw yer wan at the store; she was looking for some milk.”

105. Yoke

Definition: An object or thing (already mentioned, but included for completeness).

Example: “I found this yoke in the garage; I’m not sure what it’s used for.”

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To Sum Up

In a nutshell, Irish slang is pure gold, livening up conversations, and giving Irish culture that extra kick of awesomeness. Whether you’re hanging out with your mates, hitting the pubs, or diving into Irish books or tunes, learning the lingo opens up a whole new world of banter and connections.

So, next time you’re in Ireland or chilling with an Irish pal, don’t be shy to throw in some Irish slang. It’s a surefire way to bond and have an epic time. Cheers to the mighty Irish slang!

Visiting Dublin and looking for the craic? Why not check I Lár, our Dublin hostel for the best in comfort and value, we’d be delighted to welcome you!

105 Irish Slang Words & Phrases You Should Know (2024) (2024)
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