Top 25 Irish phrases & slang words used in daily life

Top 25 Irish phrases & slang words used in daily life

Coming to Ireland and fancy learning the local dialect? Here are 25 funny Irish words and phrases that are used every day across the Emerald Isle

You’ll probably have heard an Irishman enthusiastically saying “top of the morning to ya” on television at some point, but, in reality, we Irish almost never say this in daily life.

There’s a million and more unique Irish phrases out there that aren’t yet known to the world around, so we’re breaking them down for you to understand and use for when you next visit Ireland.

Here are 25 Irish phrases and slang words used in daily life.

25. Grand – a favourite Irish phrase

Grand is an adored Irish word used in place of words like ‘good’ or ‘fine’.

Example:         

Jack: ‘How was work today?’

Niamh: It was grand.’

24. Dead on – nice and simple

This means “No problem.” You’d likely say it in response to someone after they’ve asked a question.

Example:         

Patrick: ‘I’m gonna pay you later on.’

Niamh: ‘Dead on.’

23. Go for a poke – let’s go for an ice-cream

A 'poke', an Irish phrase for going for ice cream.

This simple Irish slang simply means to go for an ice cream.

Example‘It’s a lovely day out there, so I might go for a poke.’

22. Here’s me, wha? – showing your disbelief

Bit of a weird one, we admit, but it’s used in conversation to exaggerate one’s disbelief at something.

Example‘He said I looked good today—here’s me, “wha”?’

21. Boys a dear – on the end of some bad news

You’d say this if you had been jarred by something or if you received bad news.

Example‘Boys a dear, the food in this restaurant is dreadful.’

20. Culchie – come from the countryside

This one refers to a person who comes from the countryside and isn’t accustomed to metropolitan living.

Example: ‘That guy is from Donegal and he’s a big culchie.’

19. Scundered / scunnered – two for one

This Irish slang has two meanings and pronunciations. It can mean embarrassed (scundered, in Blefast and elsewhere) or depressed (scunnered, in the Ballymena area).

Example 1: ‘I fell and I was scundered.’

Example 2‘Not having a great day, I’m scunnered.’

18. Faffin – a comical Irish phrase

This comical Irish phrase basically just means “messing about”.

Example: ‘Stop faffin’ and do some work.’

17. Thon – an Irish phrase for any sentence

Thon simply means “the” or “those” in a sentence and can be used to describe pretty much anything.

Example‘Thon shoes would look good on me.’

16. Melter – give my head some peace

If someone is called the Irish phrase 'melter', they are giving you a headache.

Calling someone a melter means that they’re so annoying they’re metaphorically “melting” your head.

Example: ‘Oh my god stop talking, you’re such a melter.’

15. Ats us nai – that’s us now

This tends to be said after you’ve finished doing something, after you’ve gotten something to work, or when you’re doing something enjoyable.

Example:         

Linda: ‘I’ll pour you a glass of wine.’

Stacey: ‘Ats us nai’

14. Baltic – freezing outside

When it is freezing outside the Irish phrase would be 'baltic'.

Nope, this one isn’t referring to the Baltic Sea, it’s actually Irish slang for how cold something is.

Example‘It’s Baltic outside!’

13. Steaming – too much to drink

If you are drunk from too much alcohol, the Irish phrase would be 'steaming'.

Thankfully nothing to do with steam coming out of your body. You’d use this Irish phrase to describe how drunk you are.

Example‘I’ve done 6 shots and I’m steaming!’

12. Wind yer neck in – give it a break

This is a way of telling someone to shut up and it’s used very informally between friends.

Example:         

Sinead: ‘He’s such a piece of work.’

Sally: ‘Wind yer neck in!’

11. Boke – food didn’t go down well

This Irish phrase means to be sick and it’s easy to adopt into your daily dictionary.

Example‘That Chinese food was gross; I boked everywhere!’

10. Jammy – luck of the Irish

Credit: Alejendra Robles / Flickr

This word is often squeezed into conversation to humorously refer to someone as lucky.

Example:         

Colin: ‘I found a 20 euro note on the ground earlier.’

Mary: ‘You jammy git!’

9. Bout ye – a Belfast favourite

Hello, how are you? This is one of those Irish phrases you’ll hear a lot in Belfast.

Example:         

John: ‘Bout ye?’

Mary: ‘I’m good, thanks. You?’

8. Buck eejit – one of the funniest Irish phrases

The Irish phrase for a silly person is 'buck eejit'.

This simply means a silly person.

Example‘You’re a buck eejit, so ya are!’

7. Boggin’ – use it wisely

This is word means ‘disgusting’ – use it wisely.

Example‘Those clothes are boggin’.’

6. I’ll run ye over – not what it seems like

“Do you want a lift?” (No, they aren’t trying to run you over in a car!)

Example:         

Sarah: ‘I’ve no way to get to the party.’

Andrew: ‘I’ll run ye over.’

5. Parful – a popular Irish slang word

You can use this word this slang word to describing something/someone positively.

Example‘Those cakes were parful!’

4. Some yoke – high praise

Being described as a yoke means you’re an awesome person, but the word yolk itself can be used however you want.

Example‘Cheers, you’re some yoke.’

3. A milly – fake tan and tracksuits

A female in fake tan and a tracksuit is sometimes referred to as a 'milly' in Irish slang.

A milly is a term for a female who is typically covered in fake tan and dressed in tracksuits.

Example‘You look like such a milly.’

2. Catch yourself on – best to wise up

An informal way of telling someone to pull themselves together or wise up.

Example:         

Jack: ‘I don’t want to go to work today.’

Mary: ‘Catch yourself on.’

1. Wee – the most popular Irish phrase and slang word

The Irish have a tendency to describe just about everything as “wee.” It’s mostly an endearing way of making conversation sound more informal.

Example‘That’ll be 11 euro. Would you like a wee receipt?’

And voila, that’s our top 25 best Irish phrases and slang words. Make sure to start using these expressions regularly if you want to blend in with the locals—with some practice you’ll sound Irish in no time.