dub speak

They say the best English is spoken in Dublin and Edinburgh – we’re not sure about Edinburgh but not only do we ‘Dubs’ speak the best English, we’re also known for our colourful words and expressions – some of which may need a bit of explaining!
 

  • ‘Dub’ a Dub is someone from Dublin. ‘The Dubs’ is Dublin’s heroic Gaelic football team.
  • ‘Craic’ – a particular form of enjoyment, pleasure and entertainment that can only be experienced in Ireland.
  • ‘A Pint’ – we don’t ‘Go For Beers’, ‘Have a Guinness’ or even ‘Go for a few drinks’, we simply “Go for a pint”. Doesn’t matter what you’re drinking or how many.
  •  ‘Yer Man’ – a reference to another person, whose name seems unimportant - they may or may not be present. “Yer Man bought us all a drink”, “Yer man said he’d be here at 6”, “Who does yer man think he is?”
  • ‘Yer wan’ – the female version of ‘Yer Man’ – “Declan? You’ve been starring at yer wan all evening. For God’s sake buy her a drink”.
  • ‘The aul’ pair’ – one’s parents
  • ‘The aul’ dear’ – one’s mother
  • ‘The aul’ man’ or ‘The aul’ fella’ – one’s father
  • ‘The Gaff/Our Gaff’ – a term that refers to the place you live – whether it’s a castle, a cottage or a one room apartment. Effectively, it’s where you go to live after ‘The aul’ pair’ kick you out.
  • ‘Get away outta that’ – No, this is not a way of asking you to leave, it’s a kindly way of saying ‘I’m not sure I believe what you’re telling me, it seems somewhat unlikely’. For example:
  • “Bono is my cousin.”, “Ah would you get away outta that!”
  • ‘Kip’ – the word kip has two meanings. It can refer to sleep: “I need a kip, I wasn’t in till 5 last night”. Alternatively it can describe an unpleasant house or home. Yes, it can be confusing: “I stayed at Donal’s gaff after the party but it was such a kip I couldn’t get any kip”.
  • ‘C’mere to me’ – literally ‘Come here to me’, a phrase that implies the speaker wants to tell you something important or confidential. Don’t take it too literally, it is not an invitation to invade someone’s personal space.
  • ‘Banjaxed’ – When used to describe a thing, such as a car or a phone, it means broken, damaged, beyond repair. When used to describe a person – usually oneself – it means you stayed up past bedtime and had one too many drinks!
  • ‘Call the priest!’ – often pronounced in a stage-Irish accent, as in ‘Call the preeesht!’. This exclamation is used when someone confesses to an action – or action – that might not be approved of by more devout members of the Roman Catholic Faith. It is meant in fun so don’t feel compelled to go and find a priest. On the other hand, if someone says ‘Call the Doctor’ or ‘Call an ambulance’ they are probably being serious. I never heard of this one>?
  • ‘Muppet’ – though the term comes from the highly innovative and amusing characters created by Jim Henson for his movies, the Irish usage of the word tends to mean ‘Fool’ or even ‘Idiot’.See Amadán
  • Amadán – the Irish word for ‘Fool’.
  • ‘As Gaeilge’ – this literally means ‘In Irish’ as in ‘In the Irish Language’. So if someone says “What is milk as Gaeilge” they are looking for the Irish word for Milk which is ‘Bainne’. Our best advice is don’t try saying any of this in public, it could lead to tears – probably of laughter … at you. We just wanted you to know what it meant.
  • ‘Savage’ – see also ‘Fierce’. The English keep coming up with words and we keep giving them meanings. Both Savage and Fierce mean Very or Extremely. This can be good or bad. “He is a savage tin whistle player” can be good, unless you have a “Fierce hangover” …..
  • ‘Grand’ …… oh, where do we start. Yes, in common with other English speaking countries, ‘A Grand’ can mean a thousand dollars/euro. But here it can mean any number of things, so let’s take you through a few examples:
  • “How are things?” “Grand” (said with a smile) Things are good
  • “How’s it going?” “Grand” (said with a shrug) I’m hiding something
  • “Can I buy you a drink?” “Grand” (said with a smile) Yes please.
  • “Can I buy you a drink?” “You’re grand” (said calmly) No thanks (I’m just going/I have the car/my bus is due)
  • “Can I buy you a drink?” “No, you’re grand” (said with a firm manly look, with palm of hand held up) No, I insist on paying for everyone’s drink. Our advice, don’t get involved!
  • “Shall we get started?” “Grand so!” i.e. yes, OK.
  • “My boss is going to kill me, I’ve deleted the year’s accounts” “Don’t worry it’ll be grand”. An absolute disaster, but what is worrying going to achieve?
  • ‘Deadly’/’Deadly buzz’ “That’s great, things are fantastic, Way to go!”
  • Cat – bad, awful, nasty, horrible. Exceptions, ‘Cat Deely’, ‘Cat Woman’ and ‘Catatonia’.
  • ‘Quare’ – Strange, unusual, weird or out of the blue. “That quare wan up at the bar has been giving you the eye”
  • “That’s a quare lot of money yer man won on the Lottery, so it was!”
  • ‘…… so it was’ – added to the end of a sentence this means, basically, nothing. At this stage we should probably point out, we can tell you what things mean but that’s about it. Half the time we don’t know what we’re saying ourselves!
  • Rotten, Ossified, Mouldy, Fluthered, Out-of-me- box, Plastered, Sick-in-the-Cab …. All terms for being unpleasantly drunk.
  • Knackered – tired or broken. See also ‘Banjaxed’ or ‘Buckled’
  • ‘Buckled’ – crushed under the weight of drink
  • Gobshite – a word used to describe someone who is more than a fool, eejit or amadán. An amadán was born that way, a Gobshite is that way by choice. “That fella was some gobshite, all the same!”
  • Eejit – Fool, Amadán.
  • ‘….. all the same’ – when appended to the end of a sentence, this has the equivalent meaning to ‘When all is said and done’ or ‘At the end of the day’. In other words, it contributes absolutely nothing – so it does!
  • “United were in good form, all the same”.
  • “That fella Stalin has a lot to answer for, all the same”. Might need a less political example here
  • “Wee”. As an adjective, this means ‘small’, as a noun it’s a child’s word for ‘piss’ … well, it’s important you know these things!
  • ‘Jacks’ or ‘Jax’ – a place in which to do a ‘Wee’, i.e. bathroom, see also: ‘Mna’,’Fir’ and ‘Leithris’.
  • ‘Leithris’ – toilet/bathroom ‘as Gaeilge’ – i.e. in the Irish language.
  • ‘Mna’ – this is the Leithris for Ladies ‘as Gaeilge’
  • ‘Fir’ – this is the Leithris for Men ‘as Gaeilge’
  • ‘Stall the ball’ – this is like the English phrase “I say old chap, would you mind holding on, there a moment” - said when something has just occurred to you. Picture Einstein walking down the Kramgasse in Berne, face palming himself and saying “Stall the ball there lads, I have it – it’s E=MC2!”
  • 'Puss’ – a sour or sulky facial expression or, for some unfortunates, your basic URF (Ugly Resting Face). “Would you look at the Puss on yer one? You’d think someone had given him a grapefruit enema!”
  • ‘Schlep’ – this word looks curiously yiddish in origin and, in fairness it could well be as Dublin once had a thriving Jewish Quarter. It means to haul, lift, hulk or throw –
  • “I had a mare of a day, schlepping sacks of concrete onto a truck”.
  • “We spent a couple of hours before the match schlepping pints”
  • ‘Mare’ – despite our almost worshipful adoration of horses in this country, the term ‘Mare’ has a negative meaning – “A mare of a day” is one of those days that seems to go on for ever and in which nothing goes right!

 

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