Guide to Irish Lingo: For International Students

As an international student living with five Irish roommates, I’ve already been exposed to quite a few different terms in the last four weeks. If you haven’t had a chance to learn much Irish lingo yet, don’t worry; I’ve got ya covered. Although I’m sure there are many more, here are the words that have had me going, “wait, what?”

1. Craic

Pronounced “crack,” this word seems to be the equivalent of fun or a good time. I’ve often been hearing, “It’ll be a good craic!”

2. Grand

Much to my confusion, “grand” doesn’t actually mean great. I’ve been told that it’s more of a word to describe just okay, or not too bad. If you’re like me, “grand” normally brings images of something majestic and great. Not here!

3. Yoke

Pronounced like the yolk of an egg, the term “yoke” is the equivalent of a thing. My roommates toss this term around to describe just about anything from a pan to TV remote.

4. Boot

“Boot” is the term used for what many people would call the trunk of a car. It’s the back hatch that lifts up! The hood is called a bonnet.

5. Shift

To shift here means to kiss. I learned this one pretty early on, because I heard a lot of people talking about “going in for the shift” at a bar or club.

6. Gone off

My roommates use the phrase “gone off” or “going off” to describe food that has gone bad or expired. Just the other day my roommate asked if I had any bread because hers had “gone off!” Her bread didn’t wander off somewhere. It just went bad.

7. Jumper

From what I’ve gathered so far, a jumper here means a sweater or sweatshirt. Not a one-piece bodysuit or romper, which is what I picture when I hear the word jumper.

8. Chips

Even though this word is definitely familiar, chips are not the same thing here as they are in other parts of the world. Chips here are actually French fries. Actual potato chips are called crisps. Imagine my shock when I ordered a pizza with chips and I opened up the bag to find French fries. Not a bad surpise, though!

This basic guide should help you to decipher most phrases you’ve heard from Irish students around campus. Before you know it, YOU might be busting out  these terms!

By University of Limerick International Student Stephanie Hodges

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