Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

15 Irish Slang Words and Phrases You Need to Know

Just like in Southern California, Ireland has its own unique slang terms and expressions (and which I find to be much more amusing). Here are the top 15 most common Irish colloquialisms I have come across so far in my time abroad in Cork!

1. What’s the craic?

Image source: https://www.blogger.com/blogin.g?blogspotURL=http://happy-hooligan.blogs…

Craic (pronounced like crack) does not refer to drugs but to ‘fun.’ “What’s the craic” meaning “is there anything fun happening?” It’s also often used as a greeting as in “what’s up?” or “what’s going on?” If the criac was 90! that just means it was a very good time.

2. Acting the maggot.

Image Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/laughing-funny-disney-83YPtFOmc9x3a

Messing around; acting like a fool.

3. Jax/ Jacks.

Image Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/movie-spongebob-jZY4oNYS0hudG

The toilette/ bathroom.

4. Eejit/ Gobshite.

Image Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/angry-mean-girls-shut-up-tluiyIK3KcxIQ

An idiot; a loud-mouth who talks a lot but has nothing of value to say.

5. How’s the form?

Image Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/flirting-friends-joey-e3C8aVoMqFPCE

Another way of asking “how’s it going?” or “how are you doing?”

6. Chips vs crisps.

Image Source:http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/35facn

Chips (Ireland) = french fries while crisps= chips (US)

It’s confusing, I know, but you get used to it eventually.

7. Shift.

Image Source: http://www.gifbin.com/reverse/986449

If a guy in a club drunkenly asks if you want to shift, just say no because it never ends well. It means he wants to kiss or make out.  

8. Mouldy.

Image Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/party-drunk-kristen-wiig-YqruxpTQqHwXK

Refers to someone who is really drunk (you could also use “ossified”) or something disgusting.

9. Cheers!/ Thanks a million!

Image Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/drinking-johnny-depp-8JCwuk8n2Y6iI

Thank you. Usually said after giving or receiving something.

10. Wrecked.

Image Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/cameron-diaz-zzSWAAAKSSbVm

Tired; exhausted. Normally used after going out the night before.

11. The black stuff.

Image Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/beyonce-beyonc-gmlscrn-yFjtJZdIGb3Tq

Also known as Guinness. So grab a pint and channel your inner Beyonce! 

12. Savage.

Image Source: https://gifyoutube.com/

Excellent.  Something that’s cool, hardcore or badass.

13. Quarter til, quarter past, half past…

Image Source: http://www.broadwaybox.com/daily-scoop/actor_friends-10-commandements-fo…

How the Irish tell time. Quarter til means 15 minutes before the hour, quarter past is 15 minutes after the hour, and half past is half an hour after the hour.

14. I will yea!

Image Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/jim-carrey-liar-beioFFLyB9O0M

Sarcastic way of saying “I definitely won’t.”

15. Coddin’ ye.

Image Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/emma-stone-movie-film-p7RpYa0hiK7q8

I’m only kidding!


Happy travels and may the luck of the Irish be with you!

UCLA, 3rd year. Communication Studies major.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️