80+ Irish Words and Phrases That Are Bang On

If you’re planning a trip to Ireland or just a jaunt to an Irish enclave in your city, knowing some Irish slang words and phrases can do a lot to help you understand what the locals are saying. You may not want to necessarily use it yourself, at least not until you get the hang of how it’s actually used in real-world conversations (which could take quite a while). Even so, it's surely fun to listen in and understand the lingo!

Irish Slang Words Examples Irish Slang Words Examples

Everyday Irish Slang Words and Phrases

As with most areas, quite a few "unofficial" words and phrases are commonly used in Ireland. The exact meaning and usage may vary from one area to another, so be sure and pay close attention to the context in which these words or phrases are being used.

  • all hepped up - very angry
  • bang on - something that is good; just what you need or just right
  • banjaxed - a multipurpose word that can mean broken, tired or drunk
  • be wide - exercise caution; be careful
  • bucketing down - a heavy downpour of rain
  • culchie - someone who lives in the countryside
  • craic - fun; the latest fun news, gossip or scoop; banter, good conversation
  • deadly - amazing, awesome
  • fair play - that's great; good job; congratulations
  • gas - something or someone that is fun; things that are hilarious
  • give me a go - let me try; give me a chance
  • grand - great, lovely nice, awesome
  • great craic - a very fun time
  • jacks - the toilet
  • jammy - lucky
  • leg it - run or move quickly
  • minus craic - not fun at all; boring
  • no bother - it's fine; no problem
  • sangers - sandwiches
  • savage - outstanding, excellent; brilliant
  • shattered - tired, exhausted
  • slagging - making fun of someone; mocking in a light-hearted way
  • suckin' diesel - going well, moving forward
  • thanks a million - thank you
  • up to 90 - extremely busy
  • wrecked - exhausted, extremely tired; worn out
  • yoke - an item for which you can't remember the name
  • yer man - a male person, someone you don't know or you've forgotten their name
  • you might want to - a nice way of telling you what you should do

Irish Slang Insults

The Irish use quite a few words and phrases that function as slang insults, some of which seem quite creative. In Irish slang, there are many ways to state that someone is not smart, as well as several other types of insults.

  • acting the maggot - acting foolish, messing around
  • bollix - someone who is very annoying
  • chancer - a disreputable person
  • dope - a person who isn't very bright or has done something dumb
  • eejit - a person who is not smart or does idiotic things
  • feck - a mild expletive used instead of the other F word with many variations: fecker, feck off, etc
  • glunterpeck - an idiot
  • gobsheen - someone who is irritating or incompetent; not smart
  • kip - somewhere dirty, messy; a place that is not properly cared for
  • manky - dirty, unsanitary, unclean
  • not the full shilling - a stupid person
  • one can short of a six-pack - not all there (in the head); not very bright
  • pox - someone who is a nuisance; a bothersome person
  • scanger - hoodlum; someone who behaves badly and disrespects authority
  • scut - a foolish person; someone for whom one has contempt
  • sleeveen - someone sly or a cheater, as in a spouse or partner who is not faithful
  • the head on you - noting that someone looks messy, dirty or unkempt
  • thick - not very smart; stupid
  • wagon - an obnoxious or unattractive woman

Irish Slang Terms of Endearment

It's really interesting to discover how terms of endearment vary from one culture to another. Ireland has some lovely and unique terms of endearment for family members, friends, romantic partners, and even individuals that one finds attractive.

Irish Slang Words Examples
  • acushla - the beat of my heart
  • beour - a beautiful woman; one's girlfriend
  • dote - an adorable or wonderful person
  • fella - a boyfriend or spouse
  • good woman - affectionate term for a woman
  • good girl - affectionate term for a girl
  • mucker - good friend; pal
  • oul fella - one's father
  • oul dear/oul wan - one's mother
  • wean - child

Irish Slang for Drunk

In Ireland, there are lots of slang terms that can be used to indicate that someone is very drunk. If you're in Ireland and any of your companions have a bit too much to drink, use one of the following slank terms to express that they're quite intoxicated. Chances are, you'll never run out of different ways to say that someone is drunk once you master some Irish slang for being drunk.

  • battered
  • bladdered
  • blitzed
  • buckled
  • fluthered
  • full as a bingo bus
  • gone
  • half-cut
  • jarred
  • lamped
  • langers
  • legless
  • off his/her face
  • on the tear
  • ossified
  • pickled
  • pissed
  • polluted
  • rotten
  • sloshed
  • snattered
  • steamin'
  • stocious
  • two sheets to the wind

When in Ireland

Now that you're clear on some of the informal colloquial terms you're likely to hear in Ireland, you're ready to travel to the Emerald Isle. Of course, these are just some of the many fun Irish slang words and phrases that you'll hear during your time in Ireland. Chances are you'll pick up quite a few more if you keep your proverbial ear to the ground. You might also want to learn a bit about the basics of Gaelic before your journey to Ireland. Or, if you want to learn more European slang, get to know some British slang.