Here are 15 sayings that only Irish people say

Have you ever walked on the street and someone passes by you and says “Hey. How are you?” and you answer back “I’m fine thank you and you?”. But the person already walked away. Asking ‘How are you?’ is just an Irish way to say ‘Hello’ and not a way to engage conversation.

Here are 15 Irish slang words explained to better understand your Irish friends/partners.

  • What’s the craic?

This is a very common one. Irish people will always ask you ‘what’s going on’. But be aware of the spelling it’s ‘craic’ and not ‘crack’.

  • Grand / Sound / Deadly

If you are asking a question and the answer is positive, Irish will rarely say ‘ok’ or ‘alright’ or ‘great’. But ‘it’s grand!’, ‘sound’, ‘deadly’ (if you go to the Eastern/Midlands of Ireland). ‘It’s grand’ is THE Irish word for positive approval.

  • I’m grand vs I’m fine

If you are  asking someone Irish if s/he is fine and s/he responds ‘I’m grand’ it means that they are truly fine. Actually, they are feeling good. But, if s/he answers ‘I’m fine’ then you can start to worry. It means that they are not fine at all. 

  • Mental

‘This is mental!’ is what you will usually hear in Ireland and it means ‘crazy’.  

  • A pint / A few scoops

When Irish people say that they are ‘going for a pint’ or ‘going for a few scoops’ it means that they are going for a drink at the pub. You will hear that a lot.

  • How’s a going? / How’s things?

Coming back to the introduction. ‘How’s a going?’ or ‘How’s things?’ will be answered.

  • Ye / Yous / Yer

‘Ye’ comes from the Old English ‘ge’. In Early Modern English it meant ‘you’ as a formal honorific and  informally too. ‘Yous’ is the plural form of ‘you’ commonly used in Donegal (border with the North). ‘Yer’ means ‘your’ in the dialectal speech.

  • Lads / Lad / Doll

If you are in a group of people where there are boys and girls, you will be called ‘lads’. But If you are a boy you are a ‘lad’. And if you are girl, you are a ‘doll’.  

  • What are ye at?

‘What are ye at?’ translates into ‘What are you doing?’. And it can also be used in a more vulgar way for ‘WTF’.

  • Going to the jacks

In Ireland, you don’t ‘go to the toilet’. You ‘go to the jacks’.

  • Thanks a million

If you want to say ‘thank you very much’ in a Irish way, then ‘thanks a million’ is the word. Yes, you are giving million thanks to that person. It comes from the Gaelic phrase ‘Go raibh míle maith agat’ (Guh RAV mee-lə MAH a-gut) which directly translates to a million thank yous.

  • That’s class

Are you impressed by something? Or is something going your way? ‘That’s class!’ is what you will hear from your Irish pals. It translates to ‘that’s nice’ or ‘that’s cool’.  

  • Not too bad / Not so bad

‘How are you? Not too bad.’ It may not sound convincing at all. But when Irish people say ‘not so bad’, they really are not. They aren’t ‘grand’ but not ‘fine’ either.

  • Giving out

You are ‘giving out’ to someone when you are speaking in an angry way.

  • Feck

Last but not least, ‘Oh Feck!’. It’s a more childish and less vulgar way to say the f word. And if you are feeling really Irish you can say ‘What the feck!’ instead of ‘What the f***!’.  

You can now impress your Irish friends and partners with all of these words.

*Help by Rachel Timoney, Ellen O’Donoghue and Melissa Anderson*

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