Irish slang explained: 21 of our quirkiest expressions
Life & Style

Irish slang explained: 21 of our quirkiest expressions

THE Irish language is a hard one to grasp for anyone visiting the country, we'll admit.

What's more, even if we're speaking English, our accents are quite challenging to decipher, granted.

And even if you manage to navigate your way through a chat with a local irishman, without running into any language or accent-related troubles, there's a cacophony of slang we all use that might still trip you up.

On the one hand, we're sorry for being so difficult.

On the other, we're not sorry at all. Our slang is fantastic.

Here's some of the best:

Acting the Maggot

Meaning: Fooling and messing around

Example: "Stop acting the maggot"

Black Stuff

Meaning: Guinness

Example: "A pint of the black stuff please"


Meaning: Male, Juvenile

Example: "Come on you boyo!"


Meaning: Fun, Gossip, Goings on

Example: What's/Where's the craic?


Meaning: Person from a rural area

Example: "She's a culchie originally"


Meaning: Complete fool, idiot

Example: "You are such an eejit"


Meaning: Listening in on a private conversation, eavesdropping

Example: "You were earwigging again, weren't you?"

Feck off

Meaning: ... Go away (I've cleaned that up a bit)

Example: "Feck off man, stop bothering me"


Meaning: Very good, great, exellent

Example: "It was a fierce performance"

Fine Thing

Meaning: Good looking man or woman

Example: "She's fine thing, she is"


Meaning: Home, house

Example: "I'll swing by your gaff later tonight"


Meaning: Funny, amusing

Example: "He's gas, that fella"


Meaning: Good, fine, a positive response

Example: *when asked how you're feeling* "I'm grand, thanks"

How's she cutting'?

Meaning: How are you?, What's up?

Example: "Hey man, how's she cuttin'?"


Meaning: Drunk

Example: "I was absolutely bangers last night"

Oul Fella

Meaning: Your father, Dad

Example: "My oul fella will love this sweater I bought him"


Meaning: Great, Brilliant

Example: "It was a savage match this afternoon"

Suckin' Diesel

Meaning: Now you're talking, now you're doing well

Example: "Now you're sucking' diesel, fella"

The Pale

Meaning: Anywhere in and around Dublin

Example: "I'm living just outside The Pale at the moment"

Throw shapes

Meaning: Show off, sometimes aggressivley

Example: "They were all throwing shapes in the pub last night"

Your man

Meaning: That man, man

Example: "I saw your man from U2 on the news last night"