Learn Irish Slang In Under 20 Seconds
March 10, 2002 8:28 PM   Subscribe

Learn Irish Slang In Under 20 Seconds
Jaysus - an expression of disbelief or despair: "Jaysus! Didya see that?" "Jaysus woman! Will ya leave me be?"
discuss amongst the fecking banjaxed gobshites in your midst.
posted by quonsar (27 comments total)
Nice one, It is gas!
posted by riffola at 8:44 PM on March 10, 2002

no one swears like the irish.
posted by will at 8:44 PM on March 10, 2002

That's gas. Where's my fookin' Roddy Doyle bukes?
posted by mcwetboy at 8:48 PM on March 10, 2002

We have a lot of these in Australia, but Baker Street? Heh.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:19 PM on March 10, 2002

I like how they don't mention "Pogue ma hone" anywhere in there, and then use it on the bottom directed at americans and other foreigners.

Pogue ma hone would be "kiss my ass". Which I know, of course, not because of my 1/32nd irish blood, but because of The Pogues (with Shane, of course).

Ah, the pogues.
posted by malphigian at 9:38 PM on March 10, 2002

Addendum: since an aussie just posted above, I thought I would mention that The Pogues version of Waltzing Matilda(scroll down) is the best I've heard.

Er, sorry, if I just derailed the thread...
I'm feckin' cabbaged cuz a' the bleedin' Theraflu™. *cough*. Bollocks to you windy skangers!
posted by malphigian at 9:54 PM on March 10, 2002

> Pogue ma hone

Jaysus, ya feckin' gobshite, would you learn how to spell.

It's "Póg mo thóin". You got the phonetics right, but jaysus, it looks feckin' awful spelt out like that, so it does.

No one I know ever says "windy skangers", though the word "skanger" is used on it's own.

Any slang questions particularly Dublin ones, I'm the one to ask, because I'm MetaFilters number one Dub, and youz Yanks haven't got a bleedin' clue. Alrigh'?
posted by tomcosgrave at 2:30 AM on March 11, 2002

I forgot to add in a ;-)
posted by tomcosgrave at 2:30 AM on March 11, 2002

On the strength of Father Ted I always wanted to do a website called ArsBiscuits.com, or the Art of Eating Biscuits. ChocolateReview would be functionally equivalent so there's little point, but I still love that name. ArsBiscuits.
posted by vbfg at 2:48 AM on March 11, 2002

Ah, Mr Cosgrave, perhaps you could elucidate something: I always thought that use of the work "feck" stemmed from it's employment in the popular television programme Father Ted as an expletive, the humour being derived from the fact that although it's sounds like "fuck" it is in fact a perfectly innocuous word in Gaelic. This site, however translate it simply as "fuck", thus robbing it of any humour or interest.



P.S. a lot of these "Irish" words are kind of universal, or at least general British Isles - "Arse", "Bleedin'" "Drink". In fact most of them. I'm surprised the author didn't include "Girls", so as to have included Father Jack's entire vocabulary. Although the Irish pronounciation of "Arse" accentuates the R ("Ah-RR-us") and the English pronounciation tends to draw it out ("Ah-h-h-h-sssss"). A most satisfying word, however you pronounce it.


Say it loud and there's music playing
Say it soft and it's almost like praying

posted by Grangousier at 2:52 AM on March 11, 2002


Apologies to the Americans, but Arse sounds better :)

An ass is an animal, anyway ;)
posted by robzster1977 at 3:31 AM on March 11, 2002

P.S. a lot of these "Irish" words are kind of universal, or at least general British Isles

Granted, but Irish English is almost a language of its own. And the Irish are better at extracting the meaning and flavour of English than anybody else, because each word is approached suspiciously and kicked to see if there's anything underneath or afoot, before being put to its expressive limits.

It's better to think of the Irish as bilingual, whether or not they can speak Irish. Their great lyrical and hard-hitting language(Ó Dónaill's Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla is one of my favourite "dictionary dips") is embedded in their use of English.

English slang spoken by the English(never mind the Scots)sounds crude and violent compared to the self-parody and humour that comes across when the Irish use it.

Anyway, sorry for being such a bore - there's a very good Irish Slang dictionary(Gerry's I think it's called)online but I can't be arsed to find it.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:59 AM on March 11, 2002

Here it is.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:00 AM on March 11, 2002

Grangousier - as a fellow dub of tomcosgrave's, i can say the word feck has been around for donkeys years, long before father ted anyway. I can remember my mum screaming it at me in my youth, ie : "come in and get your fecking dinner you useless streak of piss ye!". Also popular is "feckless", which is scots in origin apparently, meaning feeble and ineffective.
posted by kev23f at 4:23 AM on March 11, 2002

Oh, absolutely, sorry. My thought was more to do with the fact that a word that sounds almost exactly like (and is used in place of) a word that (in the early 90s at least) you could only use sparingly at 9:00 of a Friday evening could be spattered around so liberally. I was under the impression that this was because it actually meant something else. In gaelic. Or was that just something they told the commissioning editor at Channel 4. Or RTE. Or whoever.

Can't work out where to put the question mark there. Can we take it as implied?
posted by Grangousier at 6:05 AM on March 11, 2002

And I still recall the utter horror which overtook me when my wonderfully matronly Auntie Mae (of Kilfinane, Co. Limerick), spoke of Mrs Thatcher: "..and if she came near me, I'd shoot her feckin' hole out!"

I don't think she would say anything stronger than flippin'/freakin' in front of the children. Besides, father Jack's colourful & limited language would never get past the authorities if it was synonymous with "fuckin'", now would it?
posted by dash_slot- at 6:13 AM on March 11, 2002

Okay, this might get crude. Anyone taking offense, can eh, go and shite. Heh.

Feck, I think, comes from the old Irish verb "feic" - except you start to wonder how this is the case, when "feic" means "to see".

Originally, I do know that "feck" meant to steal, as in "I fecked an apple from the orchard". I reckon "feck" and "fuck" have become intertwined since they sound alike.
"Go and shite", is defintely Irish though, I have never heard an English person use this, and it essentially means to go away, get lost, or refuse to do something.

I've noticed a lot of Americans use the word "shite" (as in "shit") lately, which is interesting, this is an Anglo-Irish word. How did Americans start using this?

Bollocks (testicles) is another Anglo-Irish - in Ireland, in Dublin to be particular the word is "bollix", eg, "I will in me bollix". Actually this phrase is wonderfully interchangeable - "I will in me arse", "I will in me hole", "I will in me shite" - basically it's used to refuse to do something. Bollocks can also be used to say something is a load of crap. "That's a load of bollix".

Some other slang words used in relation to sex, if you're interested...

"Gettin' your bit", "Gettin' your hole", "Riding ", "Having a ride".

If you're really interested in how we say things around here, I recommend three movies (and the books) by Roddy Doyle, called The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van. You should be able to find enties for them at IMDB.

Hope that's helpful :-)
posted by tomcosgrave at 6:14 AM on March 11, 2002

Tom sez: I'm the one to ask, because I'm MetaFilters number one Dub

Ye are in yer hole.
posted by prolific at 6:41 AM on March 11, 2002

I am so, ya wagon. Now go and get back to feckin' work! Heh.
posted by tomcosgrave at 7:00 AM on March 11, 2002

I've noticed a lot of Americans use the word "shite" (as in "shit") lately, which is interesting, this is an Anglo-Irish word. How did Americans start using this?

I use "shite" out of affectation, just cuz it sounds so much cooler that "shit." I've also been known to mutter "shite and onions!" which is something I got out of a biography of James Joyce.
posted by dnash at 7:19 AM on March 11, 2002

I've noticed a lot of Americans use the word "shite" (as in "shit") lately, which is interesting, this is an Anglo-Irish word. How did Americans start using this?


At least that's where I got it.
posted by jpoulos at 7:21 AM on March 11, 2002

1. Americans use the word shite because it sounds funny and anglo-irish. we like to sound anglo-irish. we like to appropriate phrases.

2. i'm coming to dublin soon, i don't know when yet, but can we have a gathering?

3. I'm going to explain the use of the words 'yer man' and 'yer one' because I found them particularly difficult to understand. I thought that 'yer one' was spelled like 'yer wan' as in short for woman..., but it isn't. It doesn't actually imply ownership, as it sounds, but can be used as such:
a pipe has broken at the o'neill's house...
my mother:.'what's yer man's phone number?'
me: 'who?'
my mother: 'the plumber'
posted by goneill at 7:52 AM on March 11, 2002

Reminds me of Brad Pitt in the excellent film "Snatch"
posted by revbrian at 7:57 AM on March 11, 2002

Also interesting (and rooted in Gaelic grammar): Irish use of 'himself', 'herself', 'yourself' and 'myself'.

As in: 'Myself and Tom had a bit of a session the other night.'

And: 'Jaysis, is it yourself?'

Or: 'So, yourself and herself are getting married?'
posted by prolific at 8:19 AM on March 11, 2002

Brad pitts version of a 'pikey' talking was absolutely brilliant, especially considering other US actors efforts at doing irish accents. (i'm looking at you tom cruise)...(and you julia roberts). I once spent ten minutes staring blankly at a traveller woman and all she was saying was "have you any old carpets you want sharpening", or something, so fair play to brad for getting that mix of vaguely menacing gibberish spot on.

Re people saying Shite instead of shit, i reckon the scots say it way better than the Irish - they put a whack load of feeling into it for starters.
posted by kev23f at 8:25 AM on March 11, 2002

Pitt was great. i loved how the english fellers would just play along with what he said...great stuff...i like how they say "Me Da".
posted by clavdivs at 9:37 AM on March 11, 2002

I was in N.Ireland a few years back, having a round of golf with two young Irish golf pros and a Policeman who was only one year away from retiring on the Spanish coast, and we got to talking about slang terms for "fucking". I could get nowhere near their level of poetry when they pulled out the phrase "parting the piss lips" which I had to ask them to repeat about 12 times before getting each word. I'd try to phonetically spell it out, but it'd be a disaster. I've carried that foul little expression around with me, like a trinket, a piece of memorabilia, since then. What poetry.
posted by gnz2001 at 11:00 AM on March 11, 2002

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