On Being Irish Part 2

The other day at work, I was speaking to an Irish/Scottish friend who said a word that I, as an Irish expat, have not heard or used in eons.  The word was ‘messages’.  Any guesses as to what that might mean????  To us Irish, it means ‘groceries’, a list of groceries which need to be purchased.

I swear I haven’t used that word since 1996!  When I did, the German/American person to whom I was speaking looked at me with a contorted facial expression that truly belied her utter confusion (and suspicion that I just might be a lunatic).  Well educated, well travelled, she had no clue to what I was referring.  And now, I can see why!  How do you get from ‘groceries’ to ‘messages’????

My recent conversation with one of my kind (or at least half of my kind!) got me thinking about other aspects of my language/vocabulary/behaviours I have adapted in order to be understood in an expat world.  Having departed my homeland almost 20 years ago, the usual suspects crop up and require translation!

The letter ‘R’ is pronounced ‘are’ and not ‘or’

The letter ‘H’ is pronounced ‘aitch’ and not ‘haytch’

A pint of Genius = A pint of Guinness

Amadan = Fool

Banjaxed = Broken/not working

Be Gosh and Begorrah= No translation needed anywhere in the world!

Bog = Loo

Bogtrotter = A person from the countryside

Bold = Naughty

Bucketing down = Raining heavily

Built like a brick $hit house = Built like a body builder/monster/tank

Cod = To tease/joke/kid

Culchie = Someone from the countryside as opposed to the city

Delph = Crockery

Dry Shite = A boring person

Eat the head off = Verbally attack

Eejit = Idiot

Feck = self explanatory!

Flah’ed out = Very tired

Fluthered = Very drunk

Gawk = To stare

Giving out = Telling off

G’way outta dat (that) = Don’t be silly

Go through someone for a short cut = An even more serious telling off (seems we do a lot of telling off in Ireland!!!)

Gobshite = Idiot

Gobdaw = Gobshite (see above)

Gone in the head = Crazy

Grand = Lovely/fine

Hammered = Very drunk

Header = Crazy person

Head the ball = Header (see above)

Holliers = Holidays

Holy Show = Utter embarrassment

Hooley = Party

Hot Press = Airing cupboard

It was greaat craic = It was great fun

Janey Mack = Gosh

Jammy = Lucky

Jaypers = OMG!

Jaysus = Not exactly praying to Jesus…..

Kip = Nap

Kitchen press = A kitchen cupboard

Knacker = Pikey

Knackered = Shattered

Mitch = Skip school

Moth’ = Girlfriend

Nixer = Job done for cash in hand

Not giving a fiddlers’ feck = Not giving a damn

Ossified = Had more than one too many

Perishing = Freezing

Pictures = Movies

Pissed = Annoyed

Quare (a distorted version of ‘queer’) = Very (used for emphasis)

Raging = Furious

Scab = A person who constantly borrows money/frugal

Shenanigans = Goings on

Shift = To snog/kiss

Sloshed = Drunk

Stop the Lights! = No way!

Tear a strip off  = A serious telling off

The Black Schtuff = Guinness

The jacks = The loos

Thick = Stupid

To be sure, to be sure (must be repeated) = Of course

What’s the craic? = What’s going on?/What’s happening?

Wrecked = Exhausted

Wet the baby’s head = Celebrate the birth of a baby with a drink of the alcoholic variety

And that’s just some of the Irish slang!  Just writing this post has forced me to dredge my memory for sayings and phrases that were a part of me and my everyday life.  I now have to focus intensely to recall them.  As much as I enjoy living in melting pots, be it in Dubai, Hong Kong, London….nothing brings a smile to my face as quickly as someone who throws out those Irish phrases without a care in the world as to whether they will be understood or even misunderstood!

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