Learn the Lingo: Irish Slang Glossary

For foreigners, the Irish accent can be quite difficult to understand, and it doesn’t help when a few random words and phrases are added too, which really don’t make any sense. But they make sense to the Irish, of course. Got some free time on your hands? Learn a little bit of Irish slang and common phrases below. 

Acting the maggot 

Meaning: Fooling/messing around 

Example: ‘Stop acting the maggot’ 

Black stuff 

Meaning: Guinness (Irish beer) 

Example: ‘I’m choking for a pint of the black stuff!’ 

Craic (Pronounced ‘Crack’) 

Meaning: News/gossip OR fun/laughter 

Example: ‘What’s the craic?’ OR ‘The party was great craic’ 

Deadly 

Meaning: (Not to be confused with literal meaning) Great/Fantastic  

Example: ‘What a deadly meal that was’ 

Eejit 

Meaning: Idiot 

Example: ‘That lad is a right eejit’ 

Fella 

Meaning: Partner/Boyfriend/Husband 

Example: ‘Her fella is so handsome!’ 

Gaff 

Meaning: House 

Example: ‘I’ve a free gaff tonight’ 

Hames  

Meaning: A mess 

Example: ‘I was an absolute hames on Sunday morning’ 

Jo maxi  

Meaning: Taxi 

Example: ‘Jump in the jo maxi’ 

Kip 

Meaning: A nap 

Example: ‘I’m going for a quick kip before we head out’ 

Lashing 

Meaning: Heavily raining 

Example: ‘It’s absolutely lashing outside!’ 

Manky 

Meaning: Dirty/filthy  

Example: ‘That floor needs a mop, it’s manky’ 

Nip

Meaning: Nude/naked

Example: ‘I drove by a beach the other day, everybody was in the nip!’

On the tear 

Meaning: Going out drinking 

Example: ‘We’re going on the tear at the weekend’ 

Pictures 

Meaning: Cinema  

Example: ‘Do ye fancy going to the pictures?’ 

Quality 

Meaning: Very good 

Example: ‘How was your dinner?’ ‘Quality!’ 

Right 

Meaning: Very/real 

Example: ‘I was right tired today’ 

Saunter 

Meaning: Stroll/Walk 

Example: ‘I’m going for a wee saunter down the street’ 

Translation: ‘I’m going for a little walk down the street’ 

Tricks 

Meaning: Commonly used as a greeting 

Example: ‘How’s tricks?’ 

Translation: ‘How’s things?’/’How’s you?’ 

Up to 90 

Meaning: Very busy  

Example: ‘I’ve been up to 90 all day today in work!’ 

Translation: ‘I’ve been very busy in work all day today!’ 

Whist 

Meaning: Be quiet 

Example: ‘Would you whist!’ 

Yoke 

Meaning: A general phrase for a ‘thing’ 

Example: ‘What’s that yoke there?’ 

Find this slang glossary useful? Check out our Scottish slang glossary here, you might find some similarities!  

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