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15th Dec 2023

95 iconic Dublin slang phrases explained


Sure where would you get it?

Us Dubliners are very adept at slagging and in turn, adapting words as a result. Visitors to our shores will notice there’s a big difference between the English spoken on the Emerald Isle and elsewhere in the world.

While it may be confusing to newbies, there’s no need to worry, we’ve got you covered with some of the main phrases you might hear around town:

95. Shower of hail 

Used to describe a polka dot fabric

94. Get up the garden

Off you pop

93. Story? 

What’s happening?

92. Stall the ball 

Wait a minute

91. Bawling 


90. Flat out 

Working hard at something

89. Moydered 

Would kill for something (typically very trivial like a cup of tea or something)

88. Gallivanting

Off here there and everywhere doing god knows what

87. Streeling

Dragging something behind

86. Traipsing 

Having to follow someone around for ages (typically on foot)

85. Chancer 

Someone who would try anything

84. Gurrier 

A young lad who is capable of anything

83. Melt 

Someone who is extremely annoying or draining to be around

82. The messages 

The shopping

81. Mitch 

Skip school, also used as a verb “going mitchin”

80. I’ll wear the face off ya

I’ll kiss ya

79. Burst you

I’ll punch you

78. Shade 

Derogatory term for the Gardai, who are sometimes referred to as “the shades”

77. Amadán

Irish for eejit

76. Savage 

Brilliant, sometimes used as as a verb “absolute savage for pints”

75. Manky 

Filthy dirty

74. Locked 


73. Langers


72. Janey Mac!

Wouldn’t hear it too often these days, generally used to express a mild form of shock and surprise at something

71. Cameraman 

Someone who works hard when people are watching, particularly used in a work setting

70. Mé féiner

Bit of a bastardisation of the Irish, mé féin (which means “myself”) used to describe someone who only looks out for themselves

69. Knackered

So tired

68. That’s gas 

That’s funny

67. Jammers 

Absolutely packed, no room

66. Away with the fairies 

Their mind was elsewhere

65. Up the duff


64. Nice one, yeah 

Typically used in sarcasm when someone does something annoying to you

63. Delira


62. Hole 

Sex, typically used like this “did you get your hole last night?”

61. A goo

Love to go do something/go for a little look and see what happens, typically used “I’ve an awful goo on me for a drink”

60. Wrote off 

Absolutely gone, has gone past the point of any return

59. The hack 

The state of someone’s appearance, typically used as this following “the hack of your man”

58. Stop the lights 

I can’t believe it, has received a lot of attention from Gemma Dunleavy’s powerful song of the same name.

57. Simpleton 

Someone who isn’t the brightest

56. Dope 

A person who isn’t the most intelligent and who behaves as such

55. Browned off 

Really annoyed by something

54. Bang 

The smell of something, e.g “the bang of lynx Africa off your man”

53. Puss on them 

The face on them

52. Pox

Used to express something that’s not great can be a person “that pox” or as an adjective “that poxing weather”

51. Tick


50. Bleedin’ 

Really/very, generally used as follows “they are bleedin’ wrecking my head”

49. What’s the story?

What’s the news/what’s happening? Unfortunate if your name is Rory

48. Pup 

A mischievous individual who is acting out

47. Bold 

Knowingly behaving badly

46. Messer 

Being a bit of a brat

45. Acting the maggot

Acting the eejit, at stuff they shouldn’t be at

44. Making shapes 

Used to describe a hard-looking lad who is walking in an exaggerated fashion

44. Throw shapes/throwing shapes


43. On the tear

Going out-out with the intention of letting loose

42. Daniel Day 

Used to describe the luas, so-called after the famous Irish actor… Daniel Day-Lewis (Luas)

41. Leg it

Make a run for it

40. Jo maxi

Rhymes with.. taxi

39. Giz’ a shot of that

Can I have a go of that thing that you are using

38. Fair play 

Used when something has pulled off something pretty exceptional, typically used as “fair play to you altogether”

37. Eat your head off 

Giving out hell to someone about something they’ve done wrong, typically used by mams

36. Grief

Giving someone “grief” generally means they are giving them a hard time about something that maybe isn’t deserved

35. Giving out hell 

Really annoyed about something and giving everyone around an earful

34. Dog’s abuse 

Extremely annoyed and giving out to the person who caused it in a major way

33. Effin’ and blindin’

Meaning to use a whole pile of curse words together, when someone is angry about something.

32. Donkey’s years

An extended length of time, typically used as the following “I haven’t seen you in Donkey’s years”

31. Crips

A packet of crisps

30. Brolly

An umbrella

29. Lashing 

The rain is absolutely bucketing down

28. Bleedin’ ride

An attractive individual, generally a young one

27. Sound 

Someone who is just generally great to have around, or sometimes used when you want to display that you’ve understood something and that you are cool with it.

26. Black stuff

A pint of Guinness, often goes with the saying that originated from an ad “a pint of plain is your only man”

25. Bang on 

Someone who is just sound nice to be around and has genuine motives

24. State 

I was in an absolute state last night, the state of you at that party, used to describe something being a bit wrecked/broken

23. Wreck the gaff

Destroy the place/go mad

22. I’m only delighted

I’m extremely delighted about something, “I’m only” can be used ahead of a variety of emotions

21. That’s massive

That’s absolutely brilliant (generally said in response to some happy/positive news)

20. Sketch

Move it pronto, generally because someone you don’t want is coming

19. Y’up t’fuck /Get up t’fuck

Will you ever move, quick

18. The tide wouldn’t take her out

A true Dublin classic, funny on several levels and one that can be used again and again. Used to describe a gal who is having a few problems in the relationship department.

17. Gerrup ow’da

If you’d kindly stop that behaviour/chat this instant and remove yourself from my general vicinity that would be much appreciated. Generally a pretty harmless request, sometimes used in response to a silly or unbelievable comment to illustrate the listener’s disbelief.

16. I’m Lee Marvin

It’s no coincidence that this rhymes with starving

15. A real go by the wall and tiddle the bricks

An individual that you simply can’t trust, can also be shortened to a ‘go-boy’ (as in he’s a real go-boy)

14. Ya bleeding spanner

A real useless person who continually does stupid things

13. Go ask me bollix

I’m not going to answer your question/complete your request at the moment (or probably ever)

12. C’mere ’till I tell ya

I’ve something to tell you, pop over when you have a minute and I’ll tell you

11. Ya bleeding dope

You are one of the least intelligent people I have ever met in my entire life

10. I was scarlet

At the time I was feeling really embarrassed

9. An aul one

An older lady, typically in reference to someone’s mam or granny. Sometimes younger lads can refer to their partners as “me aul one” or “the aul one”, so it’s a term of endearment of sorts.

8. I need to hit the jax

I need to head away to the toilet

7. It was rapid

Quite an older saying but no less good, used to describe a positive experience

6. Shut up ya bleeding dirtbird

Please be quiet for a minute you irritant

5. I will in me fuck

I’m categorically stating that this will not be happening

4. You’re about as useful as a Kerry man with a hurley

You are pretty incompetent and have difficulty in completing even the most basic of tasks

3. It’s fucking banjaxed

It’s broken, and completely beyond repair

2. You’re nothing but a bowsie

Your character is pretty questionable and I can almost guarantee that your behaviour is pretty bad.

1. I’m delira for you

I’m so genuinely so happy for you

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