Written by:
Mar 6, 2023

Top 5 Irish Gaelic Slang Words You Need to Know

Haigh! (Hi!) Are you ready to delve into the fascinating world of Irish Gaelic? Lucky for you, Language Drops is launching a brand new Irish Gaelic language course this month! To get you fired up about learning this intriguing language, we've put together a list of the top 5 coolest and most essential Irish Gaelic slang words you need to know.

So what are you waiting for? Let's get started on this wild and wonderful journey of Irish language learning!

  1. Craic (pronounced "crack") - Craic is a term that's commonly used in Ireland to describe a fun and enjoyable time but there are actually multiple ways of using it. The phrase "What's the craic?" has two common uses in Irish. It can be used as a friendly greeting, such as "Hey Alex, what's the craic?," but, it can also be used to inquire about a particular situation, as in "What's the craic with that girl? I haven't seen her in ages." Oppositely, the phrase ‘minus craic’ is used to describe a situation when there was no fun being had at all.

  1. Grand - Name a more iconic Irish slang than “grand”! It's an instant response when someone asks how you're doing, but don't be fooled, just because someone says they're "grand," it doesn't always mean they are. In fact, the Irish use "grand" to mean "okay" or "alright" due to a cultural tendency to be skeptical of things that are supposedly very good. Despite this, "grand" is still a super versatile word that can be used in multiple situations and regions throughout Ireland. So don't worry too much, if someone tells you "it's grand," everything is probably going to be alright.

  1. Banjaxed - Feeling worn out? Your copy machine is broken? Then, it’s time for you to memorize the word “banjaxed”. This is a term that the Irish use to describe something that's broken or not working properly. The origin of the word comes from the Irish verb "banjax," which means "to break or smash." But don't let the meaning fool you - "banjaxed" is actually a lovely expression! It's a way of saying that something (or someone) isn't quite up to par, and it's often used in a playful or humorous way.

  1. Slagging - Are you ready to learn about one of the most beloved Irish pastimes? The term “slagging” refers to playful teasing or banter among friends, and it's a cherished tradition in Ireland. While some might see it as an insult, for the Irish, slagging is a way of showing bonding and affection with others. In fact, it's even used as a compliment in certain situations! So if you're looking to truly immerse yourself in Irish culture, mastering the art of slagging is a must.

  1. Lash - To the Irish, this word can mean different things depending on the context. If you tell someone to 'give it a lash', you're encouraging them to give something a go. When it's pouring rain outside, you might hear someone say 'it's lashing out of the heavens'. And if someone says they're 'on the lash', that means they're out drinking - definitely a handy phrase to know for St. Patrick's Day! So if you hear someone say they're 'on the lash', it means they're out having a good time, enjoying some drinks with friends.

Learning Irish Gaelic slang is a fun and interesting way to better understand the language and culture. And with our new Irish Gaelic language course, it's easier than ever to learn! So why not give it a lash and start learning Irish Gaelic today?

Go n-eirí an t-ádh leat! (Good luck!)

Zita Palik is a Hungary based Language Content Coordinator and a 80's music maniac.

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