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131 Top Irish Slang Words – Don’t Visit Ireland Without Knowing These

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They say Irish people have the gift of the gab, and these Irish slang words will make you realise just what they mean! 

I remember when I shared my article on things that Irish people say versus what they really mean, and the reaction was priceless. Over 100k shares, and I enjoyed the feedback. 

Since then, I realized there are a LOT more Irish slang words, and yes, these are location-specific, so places like Cork and Dublin will have a completely different vocabulary. It’s crazy, I know, but once you have a basic understanding of it, you will be surprised just how much easier it is to understand what an Irish person is saying. 

I decided to give a more straightforward meaning to these Irish slang words. Yes, you can break each one into more complex meanings, but I just wanted to keep things simple. As a fellow Cork man, you’ll know that the Irish have a way with words that are as unpredictable as the weather. From ‘banjaxed’ objects to ‘manky’ situations and everything in between, Irish slang is a linguistic rollercoaster that’ll leave you both ‘gobsmacked’ and ‘in stitches.’ So, grab your ‘cupla focail’ (a couple of words) and prepare to decipher the delightful, sometimes bewildering, and always ‘gas’ (funny) vocabulary of the Irish people.”

Here are over 100 Irish slang terms and their meanings:

Best Irish Slang words you need to know

  1. Craic – Fun or enjoyable time but also can mean very good, bad, not so good and even depressed, depending on your tone of voice. See the full explanation here.
  2. Sláinte – Cheers to your health.
  3. Feck – A milder version of a certain expletive.
  4. Gobshite – A foolish or annoying person.
  5. Yoke – A thing or object.
  6. Gaff – Home or house.
  7. Pints – Glasses of beer.
  8. Deadly – Excellent or cool.
  9. Langer – A foolish or annoying person.
  10. Jammers – Very crowded or busy.
  11. Shift – To kiss someone passionately.
  12. Banjaxed – Broken or ruined.
  13. Pure Mule – A complete lie.
  14. Jacks – Toilet or restroom.
  15. Quare – Very or extremely.
  16. Eejit – A foolish person.
  17. Sound – Good or dependable, you’ll also hear people describing someone as ‘Sound’.
  18. Yer one – Talking about a girl in the third person
  19. Yer man – Talking about a guy in the third person
  20. Wagon – A difficult or annoying person.
  21. Ride – An attractive person.
  22. Bold – Mischievous or disobedient.
  23. Off the Wall – Crazy or unusual.
  24. Manky – Dirty or unpleasant.
  25. Mucker – A friend or mate.
  26. Press – Cupboard or closet.
  27. Skanger – A rough or unrefined person.
  28. Gas – Funny or entertaining.
  29. Lash – To rain heavily.
  30. Bag of Tayto – A packet of potato chips.
  31. Whinge – To complain or moan.
  32. Savage – Great or impressive.
  33. Knackered – Exhausted or tired.
  34. Scratcher – Bed.
  35. Header – A crazy or foolish person.
  36. Tick – Credit or a loan.
  37. Wrecked – Extremely tired or drunk.
  38. Ride out – A good-looking person.
  39. Holy Show – A mess or embarrassing situation.
  40. Scoops – Alcoholic drinks.
  41. Bold as Brass – Very confident or audacious.
  42. Suss – Understanding or knowledge.
  43. Amadán – A fool or idiot.
  44. Wagon of a Young Fella – A difficult child.
  45. Pox – Annoying or frustrating.
  46. Skite – To hit or slap.
  47. Gobdaw – A foolish or silly person.
  48. Jammers – Full or crowded.
  49. Hames – A mess or a disaster.
  50. Jaysus – An exclamation of surprise or shock.
  51. Muppet – A foolish or clueless person.
  52. Fierce – Very or extremely.
  53. Pure Savage – Excellent or outstanding.
  54. Header – A crazy or reckless person.
  55. Jammers – Packed or full.
  56. Dose – A nuisance or an annoyance.
  57. Lock-In – Staying in a pub after closing hours.
  58. On the Tear – Going out drinking.
  59. Me Hole – A rude way of saying no.
  60. Cack-Handed – Clumsy or uncoordinated.
  61. Flute – An idiot or a fool.
  62. Numpty – A foolish or clueless person.
  63. Nixer – A job done off the books.
  64. Spuds – Potatoes.
  65. Shite Talk – Nonsense or empty talk.
  66. Get the Shift – To try to kiss someone.
  67. Buck eejit – A complete fool.
  68. Muck savages – People from the countryside.
  69. Plámás – Flattery or sweet talk.
  70. Wet the Tea – Make a cup of tea.
  71. Mála – Bag or handbag.
  72. Amadan – A foolish or idiotic person.
  73. Clatter – A loud noise.
  74. Balaclava – A ski mask or face covering.
  75. Schkelp – A hard blow or hit.
  76. Shank’s Mare – Walking.
  77. Sound as a pound – Completely reliable.
  78. Bould – Bold or daring.
  79. Yizzer – You all.
  80. Cailín – Girl or young woman.
  81. Luvvie – Affectionate term for someone.
  82. Gawk – To stare or look foolish.
  83. Nark – A person who complains a lot or rats you out.
  84. Plonker – A foolish or gullible person.
  85. Tool – A foolish person.
  86. Go on ya good thing – Encouragement.
  87. Knob – A foolish or annoying person, one of those Irish slang words that is important to know.
  88. Welly – Effort or force.
  89. Banter – Playful teasing or joking.
  90. Press the Flesh – To shake hands.
  91. Swank – To show off or brag.
  92. Piss Artist – A heavy drinker.
  93. Get Stuck In – To start eating.
  94. Arseways – Backwards or messed up, one of those funny Irish slang words! 
  95. Holy Joe – A pious or sanctimonious person.
  96. Full Shilling – Mentally sound.
  97. Muck – Dirt or filth.
  98. Diddies – Breasts.
  99. Last Night – A recollection of the night before. 
  100. Header Ball – A reckless person.
  101. Buckled – Extremely drunk.
  102. Minus Craic – Someone who was not fun.
  103. Sham – Irish slang for friend or acquaintance.
  104. Feckless – Irresponsible or lazy.

Now, those are primarily from southern Ireland. Northern Ireland has an entirely different vocabulary again! 

But don’t worry, here are 30 Common Irish slang words from Northern Ireland:

  1. Bouts – Problems or issues.
  2. Aye – Yes.
  3. Wee – This term is used to describe something that is very small or little.
  4. Mucker – Friend or mate.
  5. Buck eejit – A complete fool.
  6. Kex – Trousers or pants.
  7. Catch yourself on – Get a grip or be sensible.
  8. Quare – Very or extremely.
  9. Spide – A young person often associated with anti-social behaviour.
  10. Slap of the oven – A hot day.
  11. Lick – To hit or strike.
  12. Canny – Clever or shrewd.
  13. Yarn – A story or tale.
  14. Bap – A bread roll.
  15. Scundered – Embarrassed or ashamed.
  16. Bap – Bread roll or bun.
  17. Wee dote – A term of endearment for a child.
  18. Catch yourself on – Behave sensibly.
  19. Ganch – To complain or moan.
  20. Swall – To swallow.
  21. Header – A foolish person.
  22. Belter – Excellent or great.
  23. Ballymena Banshee – A noisy neighbour.
  24. Sled – To hit or strike.
  25. Hoke – To search or rummage.
  26. Eejit – A foolish person.
  27. Pure dead brilliant – Extremely good.
  28. Coupan – Face.
  29. Houl yer whisht – Be quiet or stop talking.
  30. Gubbed – Defeated or beaten.

These are just a few examples of Northern Irish slang words and Irish phrases which can add a unique and colourful flavour to conversations in the region.

Please note that some of these Irish expressions are more common in certain regions of Ireland, and their meanings may vary slightly depending on context and usage. Although they are commonly used Irish slang words. 

So now if I said these phrases to you,

Sure, let’s head out for a bit of craic, maybe get a lock-in and start off in your gaf first you should know exactly what I mean? Haha.

But yes I am these were common Irish slang words growing up. You would be surpried just how many times these words come into everyday conversation. So, the next time you find yourself in the land of saints and scholars, don’t be a ‘feckin eejit’; embrace the ‘banter’ and ‘sound’ out your newfound knowledge of Irish slang. 

‘Slán go fóill’ – goodbye for now, and may your days be filled with ‘craic,’ ‘gas,’ and plenty of ‘savage’ moments!”

What Irish slang words do you know that I might have missed? 

Comment below and let me know your favourite Irish slang words! 

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