When you find yourself in a new country you will also find yourself a little lost when it comes to their native language. In Ireland they speak English but not in exactly the same way as Americans.
Christmas of 2012 was my first time visiting my in-laws. I was just the girlfriend back then and I felt a lot of internal pressure to not be the ‘dumb American’—I’m not sure I actually succeeded. I remember one night we were out to dinner having “a Chinese” (their way of saying ‘having some Chinese food’), and after we went back to the house I had a good cry in my bedroom. The host had called me an “eejit.” To be fair, I was jet-lagged and homesick but my sensitive spirit got the best of me and I couldn’t believe I had just been called an IDIOT! Luke (husband) came into the room and tried to explain to me that ‘eejit’ was actually an affectionate term and it was more like being called a silly person, not an actual idiot…well that didn’t make me feel too much better but I had definitely learned something new—Don’t be offended when called an ‘eejit’.
Here are some more slang words you need to know so you don’t have a ‘me moment’ and look like a ‘dumb American’:
As explained above it means idiot, but affectionately.
Craic means fun! For example, “That was a bit of craic,” Or “Whats the craic?” It can also be used to ask, “how you are or what’s up.” When said like, “What’s the craic?” It can also mean a story, or the news!
You’ll hear this one a lot and my Irish family members say it all the time! ”Grand” can mean anything from “that’s amazing”, to “that’s lousy.” It’s all in their tone of voice and context! “It was grand.”
4. C’mere to me
This one confused me when I was over in Ireland because they don’t want you to actually come over, but usually just want you to listen to something they have to say.
5. Fair Play
Means “well done!”
This Irish word means exhausted. “I’m totally knackered.”
When you hear the word lashing it’s used to describe how hard it’s raining. “It’s lashing outside.” You’d better grab your raincoat!
8. Yer man/woman
“Yer Man” just refers to anyone not in your immediate vicinity that you’re trying to describe but don’t know their name. “Yer man over there.”
9. Giving out
“Giving out” is said to describe when someone is complaining or upset about something. “My mum was giving out to me for smoking.”
“Manky” is used to say something is gross or dirty. It can be used to describe anything from the weather, to food, or a person. “The dinner was manky.”
This term can mean small, or not. You just insert the word anywhere in a sentence and you’ll be fine. It’s used as a verbal crutch similar to the word, “like” “Aww, he’s just a wee one.” “Hand me that wee bagel.”
“Slag” is used to describe when someone is making a joke at someone else’s expense. “They were slaggin’ me.”
If something is “baltic” it’s freezing cold. “It’s absolutely baltic outside!”
“Dander” is a slow, relaxed walk.
To “faf” or be “faffin” is to be messing around, wasting time or probably acting like an eejit. “Stop faffin around.”
16. Wind your neck in
This is a good one! “Wind your neck in” is used to say “calm down.”
“Cuppa” refers to a cup of tea. If you are ever asked “Would you like a cuppa?” – make sure you always accept. It can actually be rude to decline. I tried that a few times at my granny’s house and she didn’t take no for an answer.
“Pants” is actually your underwear! When describing your pants you need to use the word “trousers.” I’ve made that embarrassing mistake quite a few times.
Delicious soft serve ice cream with a Poke chocolate bar inside. “Lets go round for a poke.” The answer to that is “yes! Always yes!”
20. The Boot
The boot is the trunk of your car! “Throw everything in the boot.”
Now lets see if you can translate this sentence:
Fair play but c’mere to me, when yer’ man is an eejit and asks to go for a wee dander to grab a manky poke and a cuppa, wind yer neck in, don’t wet your pants or start slaggin’ and just stop faffin’- pop out for dander even if its lashing, it will be a grand bit of craic even if its baltic, I don’t care if your knackered just have a wee go at it.