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10 Irish Slang Words To Perfect Your Brogue

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  • 1

    'Ah, sure look it.'

    This phrase is spreading and becoming more prominent as part of every day conversations. The real beauty of this phrase is that it can have so many meanings and be dropped into so many different types of conversations. 

    Here are some common examples:

    1. As an answer to a rhetorical question

    Somebody points out that that the weather is bad and rather than reply with a detailed explanation, a simple "ah, sure look it" conveys you agree.

    "Isn't it a rotten day out there."

    "Ah, sure look it."

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  • 2

    'Grand' (an iconic bit of Irish slang)

    My favorite Irish sentence is combining 'Ah sure look' and 'grand.'

    My former Irish colleague Natasha used to reassure me in any situation by replying 'Ah, sure look, you'll be grand." All of my worries would fade away after hearing that. 

    Grand means OK. You'll hear it most commonly used as a response to, 'How's it going'/'How are you feeling?'/'How are you today?' It's worth noting that when someone says that they're 'grand', they may not necessarily be so. 

  • 3

    'Spuds' or 'Práta'

    The Irish word for potato is "práta" (prawh-tah) but it's more commonly used in the west where local people actually speak Irish. There are loads of other options, however, most people use 'spuds.'

  • 4

    'The Boot' of the car

    The trunk (North American English) or boot (British/Irish English) of a car is the vehicle's main storage or cargo compartment, often a hatch at the rear of the vehicle.

    Example: This boot is full of dogs! 

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  • 5

    'Craic'

    'Craic,' pronounced like 'crack'  is a term for news, gossip, fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation. It is often used with the definite article – the craic – as in the expression "What's the craic?" aka "What's going on?" 


  • 6

    'Gas'

    Gas" is Irish slang that means funny. It can refer to a person, "He's gas!" or a situation "That's gas!" It can also be used to depict shock or disbelief. For example, "Jesus, that's gas!

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  • 7

    'Fair Play'

    This is another common Irish phrase that has transcended borders. It is the Irish way of saying "Well done." If anyone has done even a remotely good job or achieved something, then the Irish praise comes in the form of "Fair play" or "Fair Play to ya." 

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  • 8

    Sláinte (Cheers)

    "Cheers" in Irish is sláinte which is pronounced a bit like "slawn-che". Sláinte means "health", and if you're feeling brave, you can say sláinte is táinte ("slawn-che iss toin-che"), meaning "health and wealth". Best to say sláinte over pints of Guinness. 

  • 9

    'Slagging'

    Slagging means to make fun of. If you've read this detailed guide to Irish insults, you'll have an idea of the types of slags that Irish people throw at each other. For example, 'He was slagging me, so I gave him a kick in the bollox'.

  • 10

    'Up to 90'

    'Up to 90' means flat out busy doing something. You'll often hear this one used in response to questions like 'How was work today' – 'Ah, shtap – sure I've been up to 90 since half 7'.

    Now, there's another potential use for this Irish phrase, and that's when describing someone that's bull-thick (aka angry). 

    For example, 'She's been up to 90 since she came home and saw what the dog did to the couch in the living room'. You can also say 'The craic was up to 90' is you were having a great time. 


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