Sometimes America and Ireland are two countries separated by a common language.
Hiberno-English refers to the various forms of the English language spoken in Ireland. There are differences between Hiberno-English and American English, including variations in pronunciation, vocabulary, and some grammatical structures.
Some words have different meanings in Hiberno-English compared to American English. For example, in Ireland, "jumper" is used to refer to a sweater, while in the United States, "jumper" typically means a person who jumps, or it can refer to a type of dress. The word "boot" in Ireland refers to the trunk of a car, while in the United States, it is more commonly used to describe footwear.
It can be a minefield!
Here are nine words that mean very different things in Ireland and America:
Table: As in “table a motion.”
Directly opposite meanings: In the US means to remove and end the motion in Ireland means present it.
Ride: Careful here!
Asking for a ride in the US means you need a lift. In Ireland, it means you're asking someone to get intimate with you.
Pharmacist in Ireland, and a specialist in chemistry in the US.
This means french fries in Ireland and potato crisps in America.
Be especially careful with this one! Backside in the US, vagina in Ireland.
Means soccer in Ireland, and American football in the US.
Get your driving terms straight! In Ireland, it means the hood of the car while in America it is a child’s head covering
Means two weeks as in “see you in a fortnight “ – According to my nephew's childhood in America, it means having a sleepover in a blanket fort you and your best friend made that afternoon.
Very common in Ireland as in “I’m grand” –i.e. fine. In America it means big.
* Originally published June 2014. Updated in 2023.