How Well do you Know Your Irish Slang?

By: John Miller
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
How Well do you Know Your Irish Slang?
Image: Shutterstock

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?
What would you do with the "telly"?
Dig a potato field
Watch TV
The telly, of course, is the television. Telly is a common word for TV in the areas around the United Kingdom.
Kidnap a bank teller

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If your little Irish child does well on a school assignment, what might you say?
"Crikey!"
"My fair lady."
"Fair play to you."
"Fair play to you, little one." It means that they did a good job.

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

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Why is your toddler "in bits"?
He's really upset
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.
You accidentally ran over him with the lawn mower
He's eating bits of cracker in the dirt

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What's more likely to be "grand"?
A public restroom
A handsome redhead
If something is "grand," it's rather good. And an attractive redhead in Ireland is a grand thing, indeed.
A delicacy made from rotten potatoes

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What does it mean if your best mate got "topped"?
He died
"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."
He rode an amusement park ride
He ate fish and chips

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

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True or false, if you have a child, do you want her to be a "spalpeen"?
true
false
A spalpeen is kind of an irresponsible moron. So you probably don't want that kind of future for your red-headed child.

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In Ireland, what is "craic"?
Good times
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.
A famine
A type of leprechaun

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In Ireland, what does it mean if someone says, "slainte"?
"A dingo ate my baby!"
"Cheers!"
In Ireland, during a good craic, many people will say, "slainte!" It means cheers, and it's pronounced, "slon-chuh."
"You're dead meat!"

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Why would someone be "legless"?
He fought in the Great War
He's drunk
To be legless means to be drunk. Because when you're really drunk, you can't seem to get your legs under you.
He's a Scottish invader

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If your significant other has a bad day and needs to vent about it, he's going to do what?
Give out
"Come on now, give out. It'll make you feel better if you talk about how awful your boss is."
Pan for gold
Make potatoes

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If you want someone to listen to you, you might say what?
"Do a jig"
"Smell my fingers"
"Come here to me"
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.

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If someone drinks too much at the local tavern, he is _____.
Jarred
"Watch out for that McVicker guy, he drank too much and now he's jarred!" Jarred means overly intoxicated.
Jimboed
Jimmied

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The word "right" is often used to express what, exactly?
Happiness
Direction
Intensity
"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.

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What's it mean if someone asks you, "How are you keeping"?
"Do you like my potato casserole?"
"Can I have some stout?"
"How are you doing?"
It's a pleasantry and a point of small talk. "How are you keeping" simply means, "How are you doing?"

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

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In Ireland, what would you put in the "skip"?
A child
Garbage
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.
A certain species of weasel

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If someone is feeling "gutted," how are they doing?
Extremely upset
When the worst of life hits, you might feel gutted. It means that you're very, very upset about something.
Hungry
Lonely

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What's most likely to happen to a "gurrier"?
He'll get arrested
A gurrier is a juvenile delinquent. If he can't change his ways, he'll get arrested.
He'll become prime minister
He'll eat 10 pounds of potatoes in one sitting

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If your tractor is "banjaxed," what is it?
Complete with plumbing and air conditioning
Broken
It means it's broken. "That tractor is banjaxed! Now we'll never get our chores done in time to join in the craic!"
Jet-powered

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What does it mean if someone is "not the full shilling"?
They don't have any Guinness beer
They are not all there
"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.
They are impoverished

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What's "deadly"?
A venomous cobra
A rabid goat
Something that's really great
Something that's deadly isn't likely to kill you. It means that something is really, really great.

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What would you do with "drisheen"?
Crush it with broken glass
Eat it
Drisheen is a type of blood sausage. So you'd be likely to eat it, and you'll love it, we promise!
Put it into the bank

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What does it mean if you "call" on someone?
You sent them a Facebook message
You called them on the phone
You met up with them in person
This one isn't unique to just Ireland. If you call on someone, it means you're visiting them in person.

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Why would you tell someone to "lay off"?
You are quitting your job
You need a vacation
You want them to leave you alone
"Lay off, man, I'm tired of feeling wrecked over this potato famine!" To "lay off" means to leave someone alone.

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What's slang for the men's restroom?
Jacks
Too much of that Irish bitter and now you have to pee. Better find the jacks so you can relieve yourself!
Jehovah
Janey

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If the craic takes a sour turn and people get angry, they might end up in what?
A row
Too much Irish beer might result in a row, or a fight. Row rhymes with cow, not how.
A pow
A wedding

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If you're going to "kip," what are you going to do?
Take a nap
Too much of the craic will leave you feeling a wee bit weary. Better take a kip (nap) and rest up a bit.
Dig for potatoes
Find some Irish eyes

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Why are you "wrecked"?
You ate too many potatoes
You crashed your car
You're really, really tired
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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