THE Ultimate Guide to Irish Slang + Irish vs. American terms

Irish Slang

So one of the great things about moving to Ireland was that I didn’t have to worry about a language barrier. Sure, I was moving to a different country with no job lined up and no living arrangements made, but hey! At least I wouldn’t have to worry about everyone speaking in a different LANGUAGE too, right?!


Officially, the Irish speak English. But what they really speak is a language of their own, trust me. A language full of very odd Irish slang terms and a complete disregard for some of the English language’s most basic rules. Moving to Ireland I was not only confused by some thicker Irish accents I came across (which basically need subtitles), but also by some words that I had never heard of.

“I’m having the absolute fear after a crazy session at my mate’s gaff then a late night chipper.”

Yes, this is a sentence that could potentially come out of an Irish person’s mouth and yes, that actually means something. Want to know? Well, here’s a list of Irish slang/terms and their American counterparts! I’m sure this list could go on and on, but these are all Irish slang phrases/terms I’ve experienced living in Dublin for the last 6 months! Some may be used only in Dublin, but good to know none the less!


BOBBIN — bobby pin
BEER MAT — coaster
TILLS — cash registers
FREAKED — annoyed / upset
LOCKED — drunk
SHIFT — kiss
MINTED — rich
KNICKERS — panties/underwear
WHAT’S THE STORY? — What’s up? / How’s it going?
CRAIC — fun / good times / banter
CHIPS — french fries
CRISPS — potato chips
SERVIETTES — napkins
NAPPY — diaper
YOUR MAN (male) / YOUR ONE (female) — man / woman you’re talking about
RUBBISH — trash
TAKEAWAY — take out / to go
KIP — nap
GAFF — house, usually used when referring to a really nice house
SAP — dope
VESTED TOP — tank top
PURSE — wallet
GERKIN — pickle
TROUSERS — pants
RIDING — sex
A RIDE — a good-looking person
PET HATE — pet peeve
WAGON — a bitch
“THE HACK OF YA” — “The state of you”
WRECKED — tired
GAURDS / GARDA — the police
STONE — about 14 pounds (unit of measurement)
THE BOOT — the trunk (of a car)
THE FEAR — drinker’s remorse the morning after a night of heavy drinking
JUMPER — sweater
SAVAGE — really good
SOUND — reliable
GRAND — fine / ok / alright
SCUMBAG — lowlife / thug
EEJIT — idiot
FAIR PLAY — well done
SLAG — to make fun of someone
RAGING — angry
SHITE — shit
“COME HERE” — when you’re talking to someone and indicating that important info or gossip is about to be said
SCARLET — embarrassed
JACKS — toilet
SAMBO — sandwich
SESSION — drinking all day long
BIN LINER — trash bag
SLÀINTE — Cheers!
TORCH — flashlight
RUBBER — eraser
DEADLY — awesome
BOLD — naughty
SCALDY — something or someone disgusting
HANGING — hungover
BISCUIT — cookie
FAG — cigarette
CHEERS — thank you
RUNNERS — tennis shoes/sneakers
CALL TO YOU — come to your house
PRAM — stroller
CHIPPER — a take-away restaurant that sells primarily fish and chips (fries), as well as other various fried things
I’M AFTER… — to have just done something
GIVE OUT — complain
TAKE THE PISS — joke around, be sarcastic
HALF FOUR — if the time is 4:30, it’s “half four,” not “four thirty.” 7:30 is “half seven,” and so on.


So, after vigorously studying all of the above, you should be able to translate the following:

“Fair play to ya! You shifted your one, that was deadly!” translates to “Well done! You kissed her, that’s awesome!”

“I’m after going to the pub to ‘ave a few pints of the black stuff, and now I’m locked. Don’t want to be hanging tomorrow.” translates to “I just went to the pub for a few pints of Guinness, and now I’m drunk. Don’t want to be hungover tomorrow.”

“I’ve had one too many bold takeaways…I’ve put on about 2 stone and am after buying bigger trousers!” translates to “I’ve had one too many naughty (in this case, unhealthy) take out meals…I’ve put on about 30 pounds and just bought bigger pants!”

“I’m absolutely wrecked so I can’t call to you until about half four.” translates to “I’m so exhausted so I can’t come over until about four-thirty.”

Hope this dictionary of sorts is handy for anyone visiting or moving to Ireland! Download a visual below, to have on hand when you need!

Irish Slang


Have any other phrases or terms to add to this list?