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!