A Guide to Irish Slang

SLANG (noun): A type of language consisting of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal, are more common in speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a particular context or group of people.

If you do a quick google search, you’ll discover that the official languages of Ireland are Irish and English. While there’s certainly a decent amount of Irish around, almost everyone speaks English. Sure, to an American ear, there’s an accent. But the language is the same, right? It’s the same English?


Irish is a language full of slang terms and (sometimes) a complete disregard for the English language’s most basic rules. While the accents can be thick enough to merit subtitles in some places, it’s really the slang that poses the biggest barrier.


“Me and the lads are goin’ out for a bit a craic.”

“Fair play to ya! I’m heading to my mate’s gaff after we grab a chipper. Your man makes deadly crisps.” 

“Yeah, don’t want to be hanging tomorrow. I’ll give ya a shout at half six.” 

Now, I realize that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration, but people really, really do talk like that. That is why I wanted to make a handy Irish Slang cheat sheet for anyone that comes to Dublin – hopefully this way you won’t be as lost as I was!

Craic – A good time/fun

Fair play – Good for you/nice

Gaff – House/apartment/place of residence, usually really nice

Chipper – A take-away restaurant that sells primarily fish and chips, various fried things, etc.

Your Man/Your Won – That guy/that girl

Deadly – Awesome

Sambo –  Sandwich

Hanging – Hungover

Give ya a shout – I’ll call/text you

Half six – Six Thirty. So 3:30 isn’t three thirty, it’s half three.

Biscuit – Cookie

Tricolor – The Irish flag

Grand – Okay, cool, sounds good

Come here – Listen to me

Acting the maggot – Being a dick

Bin – Trash can

Torch – Flashlight

Session – Extended period of drinking

Black stuff – Guinness

A ride – Someone that is attractive

Riding – Sex

Shift – A kiss

Plaster – Band-aid

Taking the piss – Making fun of

Slag – Make fun of

Give out – Complain

Bang on – Right on the nose

Fiver – Five Euro

Quid – Equivalent to the american bucks, as in “that costs four bucks/quid”

Queue – line

Shite – Crap

Buggy – Stroller

Nappy – Diaper

Fag – Cigarette

The fear – A really bad hangover

Ah sure look – A filler phrase, basically means yeah

The jacks – the toilets

Boggers – Derogatory term for someone who lives outside of Dublin

Yous – All of you (plural of you)

Bad form – A bad idea

Happy days – Wow/that’s great

Knackered – Drunk

Wrecked – Drunk

Pissed – Drunk

Bolloxed – Drunk

Buckled – Drunk

Gazebo’d – Drunk

With the fairies – Drunk

Locked – Drunk

In rag order – Drunk

In ribbons – Drunk

Jumper – Sweater

Jammers – A busy place

Cheek/Cheeky – Brash/irreverant

Eejit – Idiot

Beer mat – Coaster

Till – Cash register

Minted – Wealthy

Chips – Fries

Crisps – Chips

Lift – Elevator

Yoke – A catchall word. Kind of like “thing”

Takeaway – To-go (Chinese takeaways are the best, btw)

Vest – Tank top

Runners – Tennis shoes

Pet hate – Something you dislike

Garda – The police

X – A smiley face replacement in texts/social media

Stone – Roughly 14 pounds

That’s gas – That’s funny

Bold – Bad/naughty

Call to you – Come over to your house

The hack of you – The state of you

Trad – Traditional Irish music

Donnybrook – A public fight

Sláinte – Cheers

Sláin – Bye

Fáilte – Welcome

Yankee/A Yank – An american 🙂

So there you have it, folks. I’m sure there’s some things I’ve forgotten or will add later on, but there’s my guide to Irish Slang! I hope that whenever you visit Dublin (or Ireland) this guide helps you out. Be sure to let me know!





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