Monday, March 17, 2008

St Patrick's day question

Can anyone think of another Irish gaelic word (apart from 'galore') that is in ordinary English usage?

(Pogue Mahone doesn't count).


Shades said...

The crac...

Chris said...


(Ok, so I looked it up here )

Sionnach said...

Paul there are dozens

Brogues - Brogan - shoes

Slogan - sluagh ghairm -call to people - ie a war cry

Galore - Gu Leor - enough, plenty.

And on and on

happy St Patricks Day

deaglan said...

Shanty - sean tí (old houses)

To put the Kaibosh on something - cie bas (death cap - worn by judge when passing an execution).

Whiskey - uisce bheathea (obviously)

slew - from sluagh (a large amount)

smithereens - smidrín (Old Irish - little pieces)

No doubt there are more...

Paulie said...

I was wanting to slightly raise the bar here - words that people who speak English - but wouldn't be able to point to Ireland on a map (lots of Americans, for example). The only words in these comments (and the Wikipedia page Chris points to) that would fit that bill, I think are:


Wikipedia says that Kaibosh is disputed. I think I've only heard Irish people use the word 'slew' as well.

The rest are anglicisations of Irish words that describe Irish things (I admit, 'brogue' is borderline here though). Even Tory doesn't really count - it was intended as an insult and it stuck.

And 'slogan' and 'smithereen' aren't on the wikipedia page, so if anyone has time to update it....

Little Atoms said...

Bugger. Going to be thinking about this all day now

Little Atoms said...


Little Atoms said...

'Dig' as in understand - from 'tuig'

Little Atoms said...

'twig' possibly having the same root, so to speak.

Paulie said...

'Dig' / 'twig' from 'tuig'!

Really? Do you know that this is the derivation, or are you surmising here LA?

I'd be quite pleased if a bit of hipster had gaelic origins....

Little Atoms said...

Surmising, Paulie - but I can't think of a better explanation for why we have both 'dig' and 'twig' meaning pretty much the same thing.

There is this book

but I heard an interview with the guy, and to be honest, a lot of it seemed pretty much like the old books about how Ireland saved western civilisation, or, to be more precise, like the Indian dad from Goodness Gracious Me who claimed everything he liked was Indian ('of course Superman is Indian - where else can a man run faster than a train')