Questions tagged [hiberno-english]

Questions about the various forms of English (not Gaelic) spoken by natives of the island of Ireland, whether part of the independent Republic of Ireland or in Northern Ireland.

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9 votes
2 answers
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What is the origin of "deadly" as "excellent" in Irish and Australian English?

I wonder what the origin of "deadly" as "very good" and "excellent" is in Irish and Australian English. For example, a satisfied hotel guest might say, "The staff ...
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2 votes
3 answers
72 views

"All hazards and dangers we barter on chance"

This is from the lyrics of "Arthur McBride" by Paul Brady. ...“But,“ says Arthur, “I wouldn’t be proud of your clothes For you’ve only the lend of them, as I suppose And you dare not change ...
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22 votes
4 answers
3k views

What does 'good room' mean in Irish English?

Listening to an Irish podcast, I heard the expression 'good room', and though I'm a native (UK—England) English speaker, I had no idea what it meant as a discrete noun (as opposed to just good+room. ...
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1 vote
0 answers
112 views

Do American and British English speakers understand the phrase ''to make a hames of sth''?

This phrase is used in Ireland (Hiberno English). It means to make a mess of something. Interestingly enough, everyone in Ireland knows what this phrase means but very few actually know what a hames ...
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1 vote
0 answers
108 views

What type of accent does this person have?

My friend has lived in Kenya for the first 8 years of his life and the United States for 2 & 1/2 years. He's been in Ireland since 2009. He is auditioning for a voiceover job on the radio and they ...
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1 vote
0 answers
34 views

bobbing their hats at the chapel doors (author's use of the word)

I'm having a really hard time understanding this phrase (from Iris Murdoch's story "Something Special"): “Don’t start on that thing again,” said her mother. “Sam’s a nice young fellow, and ...
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1 vote
0 answers
75 views

Why are sub-subsections of the Irish constitution marked with the degree symbol? [closed]

The accepted legal practice when referring to sub-subsections of the Irish constitution is to use the degree symbol to mark sub-subsections. For example, Art 40.3.3°. This convention is not used for ...
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2 votes
1 answer
116 views

Where does the expression, "Go scrape mold on yourself" come from? And what does it mean?

My grandfather is from Ireland, and he frequently used this phrase. I understood it to be an insult, to mean basically "screw you" I love the phrasing, but have no idea where it comes from. Is ...
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2 votes
0 answers
104 views

Pronunciation of “lough”

I have two dictionaries which variously give the pronunciation of the Old Irish word lough as læk or lō. How is it actually pronounced in Ireland?
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6 votes
1 answer
209 views

Is bludgeon connected with blood or block?

Bludgeon is a short, heavy club which is thicker or loaded at one end. Both OED and Etymonline say "origin unknown". There are possible Cornish, Celtic, Dutch, cant, Middle French, Irish and Gaelic ...
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3 votes
2 answers
365 views

Where in Ireland, if anywhere, at the time of James Joyce, would "hoe" and "whore" sound similar enough to pun?

Where in Ireland, if anywhere, at the time of James Joyce (1882 – 1941), would "hoe" and "whore" sound similar enough to pun? This question pertains to Does Joyce, in Finnegans Wake or Ulysses, ...
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  • 603
4 votes
1 answer
120 views

Pronunciation of "scald" and "old" (or "ol' ") in West Ireland

Martin McDonagh's play, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, is obviously set in Leenane/Leenaun, Connemara, County Galway in the west of Ireland. In the script, the two words "scald" and "ol'" (short for "...
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3 votes
1 answer
384 views

Towel pronounced as tawrl in Irish dialect?

My grandmother always says 'warsh' instead of 'wash'. She's from Northern Ireland. I always wrote this off as an odd thing she would do, but today I was reading that it's actually common in some ...
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3 votes
1 answer
73 views

"The Garvaghy/Ormeau/Falls/Crumlin Road": The in NI road "names"

In the UK, we often hear of roads in Northern Ireland being called "The X Road" in the news. This isn't common usage in Great Britain. I can think of five reasons why this may be common usage, but ...
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6 votes
1 answer
568 views

Irish slang word for working and taking state welfare payment

I think I heard this somewhere before. Is there an Irish (British maybe?) word for taking money from the state for unemployment, but then actually working a job secretly on the side.
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1 vote
1 answer
399 views

Irish slang for being drunk

Hello everyone - A woman used an Irish slang term for being drunk and I could not quite get what she said. Does anyone understand what she says? It is said at 1:18 in the following YouTube video ...
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2 votes
3 answers
15k views

How is wee used in Northern Ireland?

I hear people use it a lot, but I'm not really clear on its meaning. This site says Wee: Small. Used by every single Northern Irish person. “Have a wee bun”, “Would you like a wee bag?” And from ...
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  • 206
5 votes
1 answer
891 views

How are English forms of Irish names used?

I've noticed that many Irish people use both their English and Irish versions of the name. For example, Moya Brennan, born Máire Ní Bhraonáin Can someone tell me what is the official status of ...
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4 votes
3 answers
2k views

What word(s) do children of English native speakers use for "kid"/"child"/etc

I'm looking for (a) word(s) that is/are perceived to be child's language by adults, not words used by adults to describe children. What would be fine though are words used by adults when they are ...
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  • 245
4 votes
3 answers
692 views

Swear words in common usage by educated people in 1916

What swear words might have been commonly used in conversation (and, in particular, oral argument) in and around 1916, by literate men? As sources from the time are largely written, it is difficult to ...
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  • 43
6 votes
2 answers
353 views

Why "enough for to fill" instead of "enough to fill" in this sentence?

"I drank enough drink for to fill Galway Bay". This is from an old Irish drinking song called "Drink it up, men", by the Dubliners. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niOHxjdKQ-c My question is: Is ...
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4 votes
2 answers
489 views

"What happened to ____?" versus "What happened _____?"

I seem to remember my parents, who came from Dublin, Ireland, saying a phrase like "what happened it" or "what happened him" rather than "happened to it" or "happened to him". But it might have been ...
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  • 41
2 votes
2 answers
7k views

Irish folk song: Hunt the Hare, and played some funny rigs

I'm making a choral arrangement of the Irish folk song "Rocky Road to Dublin." One variation of the lyrics is here. I've been able to decipher the meaning of most of the words, many of which were ...
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0 votes
2 answers
8k views

Why does Northern Ireland pronunciation sound similar to American?

Recently, I started watching a TV show The Fall, which takes place in Northern Ireland. Their intonations and accents are unique, but their pronunciation sounds a lot like North American English to me....
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2 votes
1 answer
6k views

"Is himself in?" What does it mean?

Context - A stranger knocks on your door and asks "Is himself in?" himself, a reflexive pronoun, here seems to be used for a nominative pronoun.
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3 votes
1 answer
601 views

"What do you be?"

A guy in this video comes up with a very unusual greeting: Hello, top of the morning to ya! What do you say? What do you be? I know that the first sentence is an old Irish idiom. But what is the ...
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  • 557
0 votes
1 answer
2k views

Telling the time [closed]

In Ireland we say: "Twenty-five to ten" (9:35) (21:35) "Twenty to ten" (9:40) (21:40) "A quarter to ten" (9:45) (21:45) "Ten to ten" (9:50) (21:50) "Five to ten" (9:55) (21:55) "Ten o'clock" or just "...
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  • 644
7 votes
4 answers
8k views

What is the origin of the phrase "do a line with someone"?

What is the origin of the phrase "do a line with someone", meaning "have a regular romantic or sexual romantic relationship with someone"? I learnt this phrase from an Irish colleague of mine the ...
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11 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why do we say County Durham?

In Ireland all the counties are expressed as 'County....' followed by the name, e.g. County Kerry, County Galway, County Clare etc. This equally applies to the six counties north of the border, County ...
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6 votes
1 answer
32k views

Why do English people pronounce 'sixth' as 'sicth'? [duplicate]

It's common practice in Ireland (and the US as far as I know) to pronounce the x in the middle of sixth: six-th [sɪksθ]. However, I've noticed from visits to England as well as watching British ...
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  • 7,112
7 votes
5 answers
5k views

Where does the Irish idiom "at all at all" come from?

It's a common stereotype of Irish-English speakers that they end sentences with "at all, at all" as in You want a drink at all, at all? You have any money at all, at all? My question is ...
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0 votes
1 answer
5k views

Is asking "come again?" to a complete stranger over the phone rude?

My Irish colleague told me that when talking to a customer over the phone asking:"come again?" is considered rude and even offensive since it is very informal and almost demanding. Now I did not ...
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3 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is 'so I did', and other like expressions, at the end of a sentence good English?

In Northern Ireland people will say 'He went to Bohemia on holiday, so he did', or 'I need to do some shopping, so I do'. Is this correct English?
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1 vote
2 answers
2k views

Irish English use of "college" for secondary schools?

I've been filtering locations in Ireland from a list that comes with Google Maps location data for each, selecting those that are close to a "college". I just checked on one of those locations ...
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  • 356
3 votes
1 answer
794 views

Adjective relating to Great Britain and Ireland

Is there an adjective meaning “from or pertaining to the British Isles” (or if you prefer “from Great Britain, Ireland or surrounding islands”, or “from the Atlantic Archipelago”, or whatever floats ...
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0 votes
4 answers
2k views

Why do people say “Why don’t you not?”

Why do people say “Why don’t you not?” — what is meant by that? It seems especially to be a Dublin thing.
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8 votes
2 answers
27k views

Is "mens" a valid word?

I've been living in Ireland for almost a year now and I start noticing they use the word "mens" a lot. I can see it used in: Shops, to denote the area where you can find men's clothes In sport, when ...
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  • 335
6 votes
2 answers
182 views

delutherer, deluderer

My dad (who is Irish) has been using the word "delutherer" since I was tiny. It derives from "to delude" and is used to affectionately/teasingly denote someone who is trying to trick you or cajole you ...
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  • 237
5 votes
6 answers
10k views

"Do a shop" for "go shopping"

This has puzzled me for a few years now. When preceded by 'a', shop becomes a noun. Does "do a shop" even make sense then? The correct phrase for me was always "go shopping", or similar. Can ...
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16 votes
5 answers
10k views

Is there a name for how the Irish use so, so?

There is an Irish English structural usage of the word so, that is I think unique to Ireland. Are we going to the cinema, so? Where is the dog, so? The word so is unneeded and seems to mean '...
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6 votes
3 answers
587 views

Is “ O’Leary’s’s ” orthographically correct? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Possessive of a word that's already possessive? There’s a bar near me named O’Leary’s Irish Pub—or just O’Leary’s for short. One day, they changed their menu. I wrote to a ...
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6 votes
13 answers
6k views

Does Santy (Santa) exist outside Ireland?

It's common at this time of year for adults to ask small children What's Santy bringing you? (awkward as this is for those of us who don't celebrate Christmas). Is this pronunciation of Santa unique ...
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51 votes
7 answers
578k views

What is the origin of the phrase "Top of the morning to you"?

Each morning, a colleague of mine greets me with the phrase: Top of the morning to you! I've tried to figure out what the meaning of this really is and how to properly respond, however there seems ...
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  • 781
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

Origin and meaning of "strealish"/"streelish"

I've heard the word strealish (or streelish) used to describe someone with a lost or wan look or someone unkempt or untidy. I know it's an Irishism, but what is the origin of the word and what did it ...
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8 votes
7 answers
11k views

What is "lemonade" in American English?

Lemonade is a fizzy drink, strongly carbonated. It comes in two varieties, white (which is actually colourless) and red. I have never known anyone to make it at home. Various things I've picked up in ...
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  • 6,089
5 votes
3 answers
24k views

Origins and meaning of "can you not"

What is the origin and meaning of the phrase can you not? To my ear, it has an archaic tone, but searches yield entries in the urban dictionary, along with one quote from Sense and Sensibility. Its ...
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  • 51
14 votes
8 answers
67k views

Does British English use the term "heel" for the end slice of bread?

I'm Irish, and hence speak Hiberno-English. Here is a photograph of some sliced bread: The topmost slice of this (that's crust on the end), is called "the heel". Is this meaning for "heel" understood ...
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2 votes
2 answers
5k views

"Sleep in" versus "Sleep out"

Over the years, I have often debated whether the phrase is "In the morning, I'm going to sleep in." or "In the morning, I'm going to sleep out." My best guess is that it is a regional difference of ...
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13 votes
4 answers
58k views

Footwear: Runners. Sneakers. Trainers

There's a type of shoe which I, being Irish, would call runners. They're comfortable for running or walking in. The British call them trainers, probably because they can be used for sports or ...
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  • 6,089
5 votes
5 answers
2k views

Usage of "might" and "would" to indicate doubt

Do the sentences She might be only 28, but Jodie Whittaker.... and My parents would have walked along the Barrow wrongly suggest doubt, or are they normal usage? Are there names for these ...
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