Do you think you understand this Irish? You might be surprised. Here's a list of some Irish words that are truly unique.
This is savage! Your language skills may be a bit banjaxed but these words are gas!
The Irish have a way with words! It's a fact known around the world. From novelists like James Joyce and Roddy Doyle to playwrights such as Sean O'Casey and Conor McPherson, the Irish have transfixed the world with their storytelling. How, you ask? With their wonderful use of the Hiberno-English language (that's Ireland's use of the English language, in case you wondered).
To those who have not immersed themselves in the Irish way of speech or have never had the pleasure of venturing to this Emerald Isle, it may seem strange but we have adopted the English language and very much made it our own.
Here are some Irish slang phrases that most Americans have never heard. Try them out on your friends!
It is a term of affectionate derision, often used among friends or family members as a playful insult. The word is believed to have originated from the Irish language, where it is spelled "idiút," which means the same thing.
The word is also seen as a more colorful and expressive way to describe something that is broken or damaged than more formal words like "broken" or "damaged."
The Black Stuff
When an Irish person refers to a pint of "The Black Stuff," they are typically referring to a pint of Guinness beer.
Langered is a slang word commonly used in Ireland that means someone is heavily intoxicated, usually after a night of heavy drinking. The word is often used among friends or acquaintances to describe someone who is visibly drunk and can barely stand up or speak coherently.
When an Irish person calls someone "a chancer," they are typically referring to someone who takes risks or makes bold moves without proper preparation or consideration of the consequences.
When someone in Ireland calls something "deadly," they are typically using it as a slang term to mean "excellent" or "fantastic." The term has a positive connotation and is often used to express enthusiasm or admiration for something.
A dry sh***e
When an Irish person calls someone "a dry sh***e," they are typically using it as a slang term to describe someone who is seen as boring, uninteresting, or lacking in humor. The term is often used in a somewhat humorous or lighthearted way, and it is generally not intended to be taken too seriously.
Eat the head off
When an Irish person says they will "eat the head of you," they are using an idiomatic expression to indicate that they are very angry or annoyed with you. The phrase is typically used in a somewhat hyperbolic way and is not meant to be taken literally.
It is often used as a less offensive version of the word "f***" and is used to express surprise, frustration, or excitement.
When an Irish person says "runners," they are using a slang term for athletic shoes or sneakers.
When an Irish person uses the word "savage," they are typically using it as a slang term to indicate that something is great, impressive, or exciting.
Do a legger
When an Irish person says "do a legger," they are using a slang term to indicate that someone is leaving or running away from a situation or a problem.
Go away outta that
When an Irish person says "go away outta that," they are using a common colloquialism to express disbelief or skepticism about something that has been said or done.
*Originally published in 2014. Updated in March 2023.