A for Athlete

Top ten words the Irish use that never fail to confuse Americans[]

Irish lingo

By: Bernie Malone, Saturday, August 25, 2012 at http://www.IrishCentral.com


“You’re a gas man standing there in your runners, not a bother on ye!” If you understand this sentence then you’re well on your way to understanding how the Irish use the English language and make a version of it entirely their own.

We were inspired by an article featured in TheJournal.ie recently to put together a list of words that are uniquely Irish. Mores the point, words that the writer (relatively new Irish immigrant in New York) uses regularly and never fails to stump people in New York.

Here’s my pick of the top ten random Irish/English words:


This one seems like Irish logic to me. What do you do when you put on your sports shoes?...You run! Therefore your sneakers shall be known as runners.

Hotpress=== Again this seems totally logical to the Irish mind. The hotpress is the airing cupboard where you might store sheets and towel, next to the boiler. So therefore it is a press (cupboard) which is hot.

Gum boil/Mouth ulcer[]

Now, here’s where the office staff start to wince. The American name for this painful little spot on your tongue or gums is a canker sore. We’ve all decided that that sounds far worse that a gum boil so we’re going to stick with the Irish terminology on this one.


To use this in a sentence it would be “Do you know the yoke you use to make coffee." See, it’s simple. The Irish appear to be noun deficient and have many words that can be used to replace nouns. For example “Where did I put that thingamabob."


No, this is not someone who has hurled themselves off a building. It’s simply a sweater, not to be confused by a jumpsuit. Made famous by the Irish song “Where’s my Jumper” by The Sultans of Ping FC.


Mostly frequented after a night of gargle (alcohol), a chipper is a take-away that sells chips (French fries), fish, battered sausages and other fried foods.


Americans call it a sidewalk, but in Ireland it’s called a footpath. This is quite simply a path for your feet.


Not the variety of shoes that go on our feet. A boot is the trunk of your car. The place where your spare tire, groceries and other bulky items go. A common command as an Irish child was to “pop the boot."


In Ireland, a ride usually refers to an attractive person, male or female. It is not when your friend offers you a lift to the shop.


Perhaps referring to taxidermy, when an Irish person says they are ‘stuffed’ it means they have had their fill of food.