In the first few weeks that I was in Dublin, I was warned to steer clear of any phrase that included the word “fanny,” given the correct spelling of the Irish equivalent of “idiot,” and toasted a glass of wine with the Gaelic for “cheers.” Irish jargon can catch you off guard initially, but you grow accustomed to it quickly. And it never seems to lose its charm. Below, you’ll find a list of Irish slang and phrasing that you should definitely know before heading to the Emerald Isle. It’s all in the lingo!
Cheers – A common phrase used in lieu of “Thank You”. There’s an inexplicable joy that comes with acknowledging a server or bus driver and saying cheers! It’s really an all-around feel good word.
Chips – French fries. Like fish n’ chips.
Craic (pronounced crack) – A term for having a good time. Ex: What’s the craic? Or, what’s going on/what’s happening/what’s the excitement?
Crisps – Potato chips. Side note: Hunky Dory Cheddar Cheese & Spring Onion are the best!
Eejit – An idiot. My favorite term as of late has been Ye feckin’ eejit! (See below: Feck)
Failte – Welcome!
Fanny – Whatever you do, do not mention anything about the fanny pack you’re sporting; you’ll turn heads and force jaws to drop. In Ireland, fanny refers to a woman’s private parts. Yeah, not what you were expecting, was it?
Feck – A less harsh version of the F-bomb. Parents have no trouble using it in front of their children, in public–anywhere that the word “crap” could be used in America, which is virtually everywhere. It does not have the same, harsh connotation as its “U” twin.
Gobsmacked – Astounded or astonished.
Quid – The equivalent of “euros”, when discussing the price of something. That shirt is ten quid.
Slainte – Cheers and good health! At a dinner with an old friend’s aunt and her friends, we passed around wine and clinked glasses, saying Slainte before eating.
Thanks a mil – Another way of saying “Thank You.”
Any slang I missed? Drop a note in the comments!