How Well do you Know Your Irish Slang?

John Miller

What would you do with the "telly"?

The telly, of course, is the television. Telly is a common word for TV in the areas around the United Kingdom.

If your little Irish child does well on a school assignment, what might you say?

"Fair play to you, little one." It means that they did a good job.

If something is "brilliant," it is _____.

If something -- anything -- is "brilliant," it is rather good. Or it might even be great.

Why is your toddler "in bits"?

Oh, your little boy is in bits because you won't let him eat that food he found in the dirt. "In bits" means very upset.

What's more likely to be "grand"?

If something is "grand," it's rather good. And an attractive redhead in Ireland is a grand thing, indeed.

What does it mean if your best mate got "topped"?

"Topped" means killed. "Poor Joseph, he went off to the war and got topped. I guess we'll see his whole family at the wake."

If you're a tourist with a camera in Ireland, you'll definitely take some _____.

You'll want a lot of "snaps" of the places you see in Ireland. And if you meet some nice people, you might want pictures of them, too.

True or false, if you have a child, do you want her to be a "spalpeen"?

A spalpeen is kind of an irresponsible moron. So you probably don't want that kind of future for your red-headed child.

In Ireland, what is "craic"?

In Ireland, a craic is a good, rollicking time. Whether you're a local or a tourist, a craic is always a welcome respite from hard times.

In Ireland, what does it mean if someone says, "slainte"?

In Ireland, during a good craic, many people will say, "slainte!" It means cheers, and it's pronounced, "slon-chuh."

Why would someone be "legless"?

To be legless means to be drunk. Because when you're really drunk, you can't seem to get your legs under you.

If your significant other has a bad day and needs to vent about it, he's going to do what?

"Come on now, give out. It'll make you feel better if you talk about how awful your boss is."

If you want someone to listen to you, you might say what?

Sometimes you have to really press some one to pay attention to you. "Come here to me," and listen up, because I have something important to say to you.

If someone drinks too much at the local tavern, he is _____.

"Watch out for that McVicker guy, he drank too much and now he's jarred!" Jarred means overly intoxicated.

The word "right" is often used to express what, exactly?

"He was right angry after his cow got hit by that train!" "Right" is often used to describe the intensity of a statement or condition.

What's it mean if someone asks you, "How are you keeping"?

It's a pleasantry and a point of small talk. "How are you keeping" simply means, "How are you doing?"

What's another way to ask someone how they are doing?

It's a phrase with agricultural origins. "How's she cutting," is a phrase often used to ask someone how they are doing.

In Ireland, what would you put in the "skip"?

The "skip" is the garbage bin. So if you need to throw something in the skip, make sure it belongs there or you'll never get it back.

If someone is feeling "gutted," how are they doing?

When the worst of life hits, you might feel gutted. It means that you're very, very upset about something.

What's most likely to happen to a "gurrier"?

A gurrier is a juvenile delinquent. If he can't change his ways, he'll get arrested.

If your tractor is "banjaxed," what is it?

It means it's broken. "That tractor is banjaxed! Now we'll never get our chores done in time to join in the craic!"

What does it mean if someone is "not the full shilling"?

"That weird lad, he's not the full shilling." It means that someone isn't all there, perhaps out of stupidity or just bad genes.

What's "deadly"?

Something that's deadly isn't likely to kill you. It means that something is really, really great.

What would you do with "drisheen"?

Drisheen is a type of blood sausage. So you'd be likely to eat it, and you'll love it, we promise!

What does it mean if you "call" on someone?

This one isn't unique to just Ireland. If you call on someone, it means you're visiting them in person.

Why would you tell someone to "lay off"?

"Lay off, man, I'm tired of feeling wrecked over this potato famine!" To "lay off" means to leave someone alone.

What's slang for the men's restroom?

Too much of that Irish bitter and now you have to pee. Better find the jacks so you can relieve yourself!

If the craic takes a sour turn and people get angry, they might end up in what?

Too much Irish beer might result in a row, or a fight. Row rhymes with cow, not how.

If you're going to "kip," what are you going to do?

Too much of the craic will leave you feeling a wee bit weary. Better take a kip (nap) and rest up a bit.

Why are you "wrecked"?

After working all day long and then partying with your friends all night, you're wrecked. You need a kip, or better yet, a good night's sleep.

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About This Quiz

Slainte, you lovers of all things Celtic! The magical island of Ireland has spawned generations of mystical legends and lore, and not a little lingo. How much do you know about Irish slang?

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