Irish Slang: Top 80 most used expressions


Arriving in Ireland, you may be forgiven for thinking you have been hoodwinked, cajoled, led up the garden path or just plain misinformed as to the language widely spoken here. Since before time us Irish have managed to invent our very own Slang words and phrases to unleash on all unfamiliar with the lingo! Here, I have highlighted the most commonly heard words, their meanings and provided examples of how they are used in everyday speech. Have fun, you will be talking like a seasoned pro in no time!

Credit to suziehq for the list

Acting the Maggot Fooling and messing around Stop acting the maggot
Bad dose Severe illness You got a bad dose of it, didn’t you
Bags (To make a bags of something) Make a mess of doing something He made a right bags of that
Bang on Right, Accurate, Correct You are bang on
Banjaxed Broken The chair is banjaxed
Black Stuff Guinness A pint of the black stuff please
Boyo Male, Juvenile Come on you boyo!
Brutal Awful, Dreadful It was a brutal tackle
Bucketing down Raining hard It is bucketing down
Bunk Off Skip (school, work) I know you bunked off today
Chancer Someone who takes a risk He is a real chancer
Chiseler Young child (Dublin slang) He was a chiseler at the time
Ciotóg Left-Handed I am a Ciotog and proud
Cod/Codding ya To pull someone’s leg I am only codding ya!
Craic Fun, Gossip, Going on’s What’s / Where’s the craic?
Crack on Continue on, Get going I must crack on, lots to do
Culchie Person from rural / agricultural area She is a culchie originally
Cute hoor Person who quietly engineers things to their own advantage He is a real cute hoor
Delira and Excira Delighted and Excited (Dublin slang) Are you delira and excira about it?
Deadly Brilliant, Fantastic, Great That was a deadly film
Donkey’s years For a very very long time They have lived there donkey’s years
Dosser Someone not working or is messing about, up to no good They are a couple of dosser’s
Eat the head off To give out to someone Don’t eat the head off me
Eejit Complete fool, doing something silly You are such an eejit
Earwiging Listening in on a private conversation You were earwiging again, Yes?
Effin’ and Blindin’ Swearing and Cursing He was effin’ and blindin’ non stop
Eff off Polite swear word (for the F word) Ah just eff off will ya
Fair play! Well done! Fair play mate!
Feck Off Go away (polite version), used to show surprise or shock Feck off . . . . don’t be bothering me
Fella Used for your guy, as in ‘Me Fella’ partner/husband/boyfriend Is your fella going to be there?
Fierce Very Good, Great, Excellent It was a fierce performance
Fine thing Good looking man or woman That guy is a fine thing
Floozie Woman of dubious moral attributes The place is full of floozie’s
Fluthered Very Drunk I was absolutely fluthered last night
Gaff Home, to have a ‘ free gaff ‘ means you are home alone I will pop over to your gaff later
Gammy Crooked, or odd looking He had a gammy leg
Gander Quick glance Take a quick gander in here first
Gas Funny or Amusing He is a gas man
Gawk To stare rudely Stop gawking
Get Outta That Garden Fun phrase used in a conversation to get a laugh, reaction wud ya get outta that garden!!!
Grand Alot of Uses, most popular are: reply to How are you, How are you feeling, Being told of a decision We will meet you there – ” Grand “; Dinner will be 10 minutes – ” Grand “
Hames/Haymes Complete mess I made a complete haymes of that work
Holy Joe Self Righteous person She is a bit of a holy joe actually
Holy show disgraceful scene She made a holy show of herself
How’s she cuttin’? Hi,How are you, What’s news? How’s she cuttin’?
Howya Hi, Hello Howya doin’?
Jackeen A rural person’s name for a Dubliner You are a jackeen . . . .my sympathies!
Jacks Toilet I’m off to the jacks
Jo Maxi Taxi, Cab We can get a jo maxi in later
Kip A dump of a place and also a sleep I had a quick kip before dinner; It was a real kip of a hotel
Knackered Exhausted, Tired I was completely knackered
Langers Drunk She was totaly langers last Friday
Lash 3 meanings – To rain hard, To make an attempt at something or To go out drinking It was lashing out of the heavens, Give it a lash or Let’s go on the lash Saturday
Leg it Run away quickly Come on, we need to leg it now!
Locked Very drunk He was totally locked at closing time
Manky Dirty, Flithy, Disgusting My hair feels manky, it needs a wash
Moran Fool He looks a right moran
Mortified Highly Embarrassed I was mortified when i realised my mistake
Mot Girlfriend (Dublin slang) Where’s your mot tonight?
Murder Very Difficult or to really want to do something Finding a taxi was murder, I could murder a Guinness
Nixer Job done for cash to avoid tax He can do it as a nixer for you
Not the full shilling Not fully sane I don’t think he is the full shilling
On the tear Going drinking We were on the tear last night
Ossified Drunk W got ossified
Oul Fella Your Father, Dad (Dublin slang) My oul fella is out at the moment
Oul Dear / Oul Wan Your Mother, Mom My oul dear is out shopping
Pictures Movies, Film We went to the pictures a week ago
Puss (To have a puss on you) Sulky face Take that puss off your face
Rugger Bugger Someone posh, loud and loves Rugby He is a rugger bugger for sure
Savage Great, Brilliant It was a savage contest till the end
Scarlet Very embarrassed I was scarlet
Shattered Exhausted After driving, I was shattered
Slag nb: Use a verb to mean make fun of someone in a nice way oe else it has the same meaning as elsewhere ie – common prostitute He was only slagging you, don’t worry
Sorry Means Sorry and also Excuse me, Pardon me Sorry, can I get in there please
Story? (What’s the) Hi, What’s happening What’s the story Rory?
Suckin’ diesel (Now you’re) Now your talking, Now your doing well Now you are suckin diesel my friend!
The Pale Anywhere in the region of Dublin I am living just outside The Pale
Thick Extremely stupid He is as thick as a plank
Throw shapes Show off, sometimes agressively They were all throwing shapes in the pub
Trinners Trinity College Dublin Did you go to Trinners to do your degree?


  • Iso

    This is a great list. There’s one missing though, “to shift” “So did you shift anyone last night?”
    Also, about “to eat the head off”, I think the translation “to give out” is already Irish, some British people don’t understand that, they say “to tell off”.

  • Alphaosven

    Bunk off is a British phrase.
    To ‘mitch’ is better for being truant.

    Crack on is also a British phrase and is almost solely reserved for brain-dead Premiership footballers giving cliched post-match interviews. Bull on would be a similar Irish phrase.

    Never heard either of the above used by anyone Irish. The rest are spot on.

    • Graham Wade

      Both of those are used regularly on northside Dublin (where I grew up) and have been for donkeys. Do you think perhaps that’s because it’s part of the Pale? Muppet! (There’s another one – or am I not allowed to use that because it’s American?)

    • stephen

      on the hop

  • Dizzi

    You’ve got some of these wrong… Completely misinterpreted.

    • Graham Wade

      Like what? I’m sorry but you’re wrong, they’re all spot on.

  • Jack Perry

    Thanks! Very entertaining list.

  • Cathy

    Mmm, mostly accurate except for those mentioned already, and what moron can’t spell moron??

  • fromthepale

    or “meet” as in to snog someone ” here would you meet her?”

  • fromthepale

    “session moth” a girl or women who goes out drinking everynigh “youre a session moth”

  • Brendan

    How about plamaus, to compliment someone just so they do something for you.

  • yo

    yeah ok almost none of that is irish it’s pure bad english that’s all how could it every build an identity since 1916?

  • ray

    They are all spot on fairplay to ye, here’s another one, “I’d lamb bate yer one” meaning she’s fairly attractive mainly used in Dublin.

  • ray

    Knock the bollix ou ye, also used in Dublin for when someone is annoying you.

    • Seán

      The same phrase but with ‘ballix’ is heavily used in Belfast.

  • Rob Fitz

    Heres some to add to the list.. Flake – to send with excessive force – “he flaked the ball up the field” Gack – something horrid – “That sandwich was absolutely gack!”

  • Lucy

    Ah jaysus to forget the ” The Shift” is criminal. “Eat the head off of” too as someone pointed out previously. ” I will yeah” had landed me in quite a few troublesome situations in work with misinterpretation… possibly round the list up to a 100? Also honour mention to ” ya Luadar” perhaps?

  • jedi44

    For most of these, read Scottish Slang too.

  • TerryJ

    Langers! haha! Found an Irish Slang app that has all of these plus some more classics!

  • Danann

    Is it not MOH, as in My Other Half, as opposed to MOT? You missed some of the traveller slang that is used beyond the pale like BEURE/FEEN (not sure on the spelling) for good looking girl/boy…also the use of WOEFUL in the positive eg. “she was a woeful beure”, meaning that the girl was in fact, very good looking. Love the slang!

  • Alan Cartlidge

    These are not all Irish – many are Welsh and English!!!!!

  • EmerMc

    ‘Yer man’ and ‘yer one’! This is on that we should not have to keep explaining! Please inform the masses.

  • Rob Fitz

    Update the list!!! We have commented with words to add to the list. Add them in!

  • Steve Harnett

    Where is ‘thanks a million’?

  • Pedantic Pete

    Obviously written by an Irish person: “to give out to” is a purely Irish phrasal verb. Should be on the list not used in an explanation!

  • Gammy can also mean lucky. As in, ‘that was real gammy of you!’

  • Jack

    Very interesting for me.I have heard some of the sayings but surprised on some.Thanks for the post,I have shared in the USA to my Irish friends.

  • Dr. Mashkoor AL Awadi

    Very nice..

  • Pogue Mahone is missing