Are you planning a trip to Ireland? Or maybe you’re living there now? Or do you have an Irish colleague at work that you’d like to impress? We love nothing more than when foreigners adopt our slang words so I give you my Top Ten!
1) What’s the Craic?
This is without a doubt the most common Irish expression which you’ll hear all the time in any part of the country. It simply means “what’s up?” “how are things?”
This is more used in the North of the country than anywhere else and it functions as a diminutive. It has a similar meaning to “little” but we use it more generally also. For example, “Would you like a wee cup of tea?” it doesn’t necessarily mean that the cup will be small. Expect to hear this a lot in Northern Ireland!
I know what you’re thinking… doesn’t gas refer to unpleasant bodily functions such as burping or farting? Well, yes… but in Ireland it also means funny. For example: “Last night was gas,” (last night was really funny, we had a good time).
Eejit is a much beloved word in Ireland and loosely it means “idiot” but it’s not quite as aggressive as “idiot”.
If something is banjaxed it’s broken. For example: “I couldn’t get the car to start this morning, it’s well and truly banjaxed.”
6) The Black Stuff
It doesn’t take too much imagination to work out what the black stuff is: yes, it’s Guinness. If you’re ever in a pub make sure to get a pint of the black stuff.
7) Bucketing Down
Ireland has approximately 225 days of rain so it makes sense that we have various expressions to describe our wet weather. When it’s raining heavily we can say “It’s bucketing down.”
Perhaps you’ve heard of deadly but in another context. If something is deadly it can cause…. well, death. A shark is a deadly animal, rat poison is deadly, too much of the Black Stuff can be deadly… but in Ireland we say deadly to mean fantastic or great. For example: “I saw the new Quentin Tarantino movie last night, it was deadly!”
Grand as an adjective normally refers to something grandiose and ostentatious, for example “the grand palace”. However, in Ireland it simply means “fine” and we say it a lot! Instead of replying to “How are you?” with “I’m fine,” say “I’m grand,” instead and the natives will fall in love with you.
Another expression here that’s used more in the north than anywhere else which translates directly to “drunk”. For example, “I was so blocked last night, had too many pints of the black stuff.”
Now you’re ready to go out and wow and dazzle the natives of Ireland with your awesome cultural knowledge.
Dazzle: to impress someone