Words/Phrases You Will Hear a Lot in Ireland

Some of these you may know and some you may not, but these are terms you are likely to hear with a visit to Ireland.


“Hey, this place has great craic!”

General Terms

  1. Cheers! – often used as “Thanks!”
  2. Crack on – continue on
  3. Craic (pronounced “crack”)  – Fun or gossip. You may hear this as “What’s the craic?” or “That pub has great craic.” If a place has great craic then it is presumed to have grand conversation and good times.
  4. The Gardai – the Irish police
  5. Half eight – This would mean 8:30. Half eleven would be 11:30. Just how they denote a half hour.
  6. How’s the form?  – How are you?
  7. How’s she cutting? – How are things?
  8. It’s grand, I’m grand, you’re grand – Instead of saying something is “cool” or “awesome” you are likely to hear an Irish person say that something or someone is grand. Also, if you thank someone for something, their reply may be “Ah, you’re grand.”
  9. The Jacks, the loo or the bog – the restroom
  10. Knackered, Shattered or Wrecked  – words to describe being tired
  11. Mad – crazy. This is much more likely to be used over the word crazy, which is rarely if ever used. And words other than mad, like “cross,” would be used to describe someone who’s angry.
  12. Petrol – gasoline. Not called gas here.
  13. Pissed, Plastered, Flaming or Ossified – words to describe being drunk
  14. Queue/queuing – a line/waiting in line, say at a ticket office or a supermarket. This can also apply to car traffic.
  15. Wee – small
  16. Yoke – a thing or a person you can’t remember the name of off the top of your head, like Ireland’s version of a “thingamajig.”
  17. Your man or your woman – referring to someone you are speaking of



“Can’t get enough of the black stuff.”


  1. Afters – dessert
  2. Bangers – sausage
  3. Biscuit – cookie
  4. Black stuff – Guinness (of course!)
  5. Chips – French fries
  6. Crisps – potato chips
  7. Minerals or Fizzy Drinks  – pop/soda/soft drinks
  8. Off-license (Offy) – you see this a lot on store windows or awnings; it means that you can buy alcohol at this establishment to take with you and drink elsewhere (a liquor store).
  9. Streaky bacon – what Americans would think of as bacon. The bacon in Ireland is more like thinly sliced ham.
  10. Spuds – potatoes
  11. Sweets/Sweeties – candy
  12. Sláinte (pronounced slon-chuh) – a toast “to your health” or “cheers”
  13. Take-away – carry-out


Some Extras We Have Heard…

  1. Arseways – if you did something arseways then you messed it up!
  2. The boot – the trunk of a car
  3. Creche – daycare
  4. Current Account – at a bank this is just like a checking account in the U.S.
  5. Dodgy – disreputable, an area of crime
  6. GAA – Gaelic Athletic Association, which handles Gaelic football and is very important here. You rarely hear it called Gaelic football or even football, they’ll refer to it as “G-A-A” or “Gah.”
  7. Holiday – vacation
  8. Jumper – sweater
  9. Pictures or cinema – the movies. Instead go saying you are going to the movies you would say you are going to the pictures or to the cinema.
  10. Trainers or Runners – tennis shoes
  11. Trad – Traditional Irish music. Sometimes you will see pub signs listing “Trad Sunday Nights” or “Trad here!”
  12. Windscreen – windshield
  13. Wingey (pronounced “win-jee”) – cranky/fussy