Talk Like a Local: Our Guide to Irish SlangMarch 23, 2017 10:00 am
Accents aside, there’s more to understanding the Irish on your visit to Dublin. Here’s a quick guide to Irish slang below
When coming to Ireland, it’s easy to get lost in conversations if you’re not keyed into the local slang. Despite the fact that Dubliners speak primarily English, their own culture has made its mark on the language with Gaelic phrases intertwined into greetings and hundreds of new meanings attached to words that would mean something different anywhere else in the world. Here’s some common phrases you should brush up on before you leave below.
“What’s the craic?”
When somebody says this common Irish greeting to you, they’re asking how you’re doing or to find out if something’s going on. The Gaelic word craic (pronounced ‘crack’) can mean a number of different things ranging from gossip to a fun event – you’ll probably get a different answer regarding what it means exactly depending on who you’re asking. It’s a very casual way of greeting someone and you’re likely to hear it a few times while in Dublin.
A: What’s the craic?
B: It’s going alright, thanks.
“It’ll be grand.”
This one’s a little confusing – grand takes on a slightly different meaning when in Ireland. When someone says something is ‘grand’, it actually means that whatever they’re referring to is okay or fine.
A: How was the pub last night?
B: It was grand.
If you’re planning to head to St. Patrick’s Day or want to grab a pint at an Irish pub, this phrase is quintessential. Pronounced slahn-cheh, the word originally means health in Gaelic and is used in a similar to ‘Cheers!’ in English.
“Your man/Your one”
Another confusing turn of phrase, your man refers to any man – even if you don’t know them. The same goes for ‘your one’, but that refers specifically to a woman. Used frequently to refer to somebody in the context of a story, it’s similar to saying ‘that guy’ or ‘that woman’.
A: Your man at the counter gave me the wrong change.
When someone ‘gives out’ to somebody, it means that they’re telling them off for something they’ve done. You definitely want to avoid being the brunt of the scolding.
A: My neighbours gave out to me for how loud the party was last night.
Used to literally describe the colour of a humiliated flush, when someone says that they’re ‘scarlet’, they’re saying that they’re very embarrassed. If someone you know has done something pretty embarrassing, you can also tell them that you’re scarlet for them.
A: I was scarlet after I spilled my wine all over him.
“Got any fags on you?”
Don’t be alarmed – the word fag takes on a different meaning in Irish slang. Fags refer to cigarettes in Ireland (as well as other parts of Britain) and while occasionally people may use the word in a nastier context, it’s mainly understood to mean cigarettes.
A: I’ve got a couple of fags left.