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Northern Irish sayings and expressions


RahenyFG

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Jun 17, 2010
Messages
9,206
I go up the north quite a lot, know quite a lot of nordies and Northern Irish sayings and expressions can be rather odd to the outsider. I even remember watching Give My Head Peace years ago and being flabbergasted at some of the sayings.

Here's a few links detailing the meanings to various Northern Irish sayings and expressions
How till spake Norn Iron (A guide to local phrases)
http://shinann.tripod.com/language.htm
Northern irish Swear Words

The full A-Z from the the first link

A is for...
Ach: A regional word that's usually placed at the start of a sentence. “Ach go on.”, “Ach you know?”
Arse: Bottom, bum. “A kick up the arse.”
Ascared: Combination of the words afraid and scared. “I'm ascared of heights.”
Aye: Yes. “Aye, I'll have a pint if you're buying.”

B is for...
Bake: Mouth/face. “Shut your bake”, “Look at the bake on her”
Banjaxed: Broken. “Darling, the bog is banjaxed, call a plumber”
Banter: Craic, fun chatter. “Let's go for a pint and some banter”
Beezer: Good, fantastic “Your new car is beezer mate.” (Rosemary – London)
Big Lad: A robust young gentleman. “Alright big lad?”
Bout Ye!: Greeting, How are you? “Bout ye big lad, let's go for a swall.” (Glenn Kelly – Belfast)

C is for...
C' mere: A command. “Come here”
Catch yourself on!: An expression, translated as “Get a hold of yourself!”, “Wise up!”
Clinker: Similar to Beezer. “My new bike is clinker.” (Eimear – Belfast/Glasgow)
Coupan: Face. “Look at the state of the coupan on yer woman.” (Eimear – Belfast/Glasgow)
Cracker: Good. “That restaurant was cracker”
Craic: Fun, to have a good time. “The craic is mighty lads, get the beers in”

D is for...
Da: Father. “I seen your Da in the pub last night”
Dander: Walk. “Lets go for a dander”
Dead-On: Good, decent, alright. “I like him, he's dead-on”
Does my head in: Expression. Someone who really annoys you. “That dipso does my head in”

E is for...
Eejit : An Idiot. “You are an eejit”

F is for...
Faffin': Messing around, acting an eejit. “Stop faffin' around and do some work”
Fegs: Cigarettes. “Can I have twenty fegs and a can of coke?”
Fiddle: A Violin. “Get that fiddle out and let's have a sing-song”
Fire: Throw. “I was out firing stones at the peelers”

G is for...
Grand: Good. “That's grand, I'll see you at half-eleven”
Gub: Mouth. “I've got a sore gub”
Guddies: Trainers. “Look at my belter new guddies”

H is for...
Haul: Hold. “Your man can't haul his beer”, “Haul my jacket”
Hoak: Rummage. “That wee man hoaks through the bins”
Hole: Bottom, Bum. “Get your lazy hole out of bed and go to work”
Hoop: Bum, bottom. “That child has a face like my hoop”

I is for...
I tell a lie: Expression, meaning you've made an error. “I tell a lie, I do remember who you father is”
I'll do you!: Expression, meaning you're in big trouble. “I'll knock you out big-lad”, “You're going to receive a thump”
Is that you?: Regional question. “Are you finished?”, “Are you ready?”
Is your head cut?: Expression, meaning are you wise? “Why did you buy a chocolate fire guard, is your head cut?”

J is for...
Jammie: Lucky. “That jammie sod just won the lottery”
Jam Jar: Slang. Car. “I've bought a brand new jam jar”
Jaunty: Tracksuit wearing moron, usually found loitering outside shopping centres with nowhere else to go. May also be sporting a bum-fluff moustache.

K is for...
Keepin' Dick: Keeping Lookout. “Keep-dick for me while I rob this jewellers”
Kex: Underwear. “I have to go a buy new kex for my honeymoon”
Kilty-Caul-Bum: Expression/song, meaning Kilty-cold-bottom, a Scottish gentleman with no underwear. “One for me and one for you and one for kilty-caul-bum”

L is for...
Lamped: Punched. “I lamped yer man after he called me a nasty name”
Lamps: Eyes. “I cried my lamps out”, “I got my lamps punched last night”
Lump: Lazy, “Get out of bed you big lump and get a job”
Lifted: Arrested. “Wee Stevie got lifted by the peelers last night”

M is for...
Ma: Mother. “How's your Ma?”
Melter: An annoying person who gets on your nerves. “That wee girl is a melter.” (Rosemary – London)
Minger: Ugly, an unattractive person. “You're such a minger”
Munter: An unattractive woman dressed inappropriately for her age and covered in fake tan. "Yer Ma's a munter"
Mucker: Mate, pal. “Alright mucker, fancy a pint?”

N is for...
Naff: Stupid, crap. “Your new car is naff”
Neb: Nose. “Yer man has some neb on him, it's massive”
Norn Iron: Slang/dialect. Northern Ireland. “I hope Norn Iron win the World Cup”
Nuck: Steal. “I didn't nuck your milk”

O is for...
Offie: Off Licence. “Let's go to the offie and buy some beer”
Oul: Old. “This pub is really oul”
Oul-Doll: Old Lady. “That oul-doll looks like your Ma”
Oul-Lad: Old Man. “That oul-lad lives up our street”

P is for...
Pastie-Lip: Someone with a big bottom lip. “Here comes pastie-lip with his new girlfriend”
Peelers: Police. “The peelers do my head in”
Poke: Ice-Cream. “Ma, can I have a poke with sprinkles on it?”
Pull: Go on a romantic conquest, usually on a Friday and Saturday night at a disco. “Right, pass my aftershave, I'm going on the pull tonight”

R is for...
Ragein': Angry, fuming. “£15 for a taxi, I was ragein'!” (Anna - Belfast)
Ratten: Rotting, disgusting. “Those prawns were ratten”
Reddener: Embarrassed. “I took an awful reddener when I fell off my chair”
Right: Assertive, usually applied at the start of a sentence. “Right, I'm away home for my tea”
Runner: Run away, flee with speed. “Here come the peelers, let's do a runner!”

S is for...
Scundered: Embarrassed. “Look at yer man's trousers, I'm scundered for 'em!” (Anna - Belfast)
Sound: Dead on, easy going. “Yer Da is sound”
Spake: Pronunciation - Speak. “Shut up and let me spake”
Spuds: Potatoes. “Get the spuds on love, I'm starvin'”
Stickin' Out!: Fantastic! “I'm stickin' out big lad and how are you?”

T is for...
Tae: Pronunciation - Tea. “Put the kette on and we'll have a cup of tae”
Tea: Dinner. “Jimmy, your tea is ready”
Tele: Belfast Telegraph, a Belfast newspaper. “Give me the Tele and a packet of crisps”
Till: To. “Are you coming till the shops?”

V is for...
Veda: Malted bread native to Northern Ireland. Lovely with some butter and cheese.

W is for...
Wee: Small. Used by every single Northern Irish person. “Have a wee bun”, “Would you like a wee bag?”
What about ye?: Greeting. “How are you?”
Wick: Stupid, useless. “That new Glentoran kit is wick”
Windee: Window. “Someone broke my windee”

Y is for...
Ya: You. “Ya look like my Ma”
Yarn: Talk. “I had a good yarn with your Ma”
Yer: You're. “Yer my best mate”
Youse: You Lot. “Youse keep the noise down, I'm trying to sleep!”
One I heard once recently was 'crayon' as an insult but I can't find it in any of the links. Anyone nordies know?
 
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J

Johnny Boy

One I heard once recently was 'crayon' as an insult but I can't find it in any of the links. Anyone nordies know?
Sounds a bit like how some Belfast people pronounce "crying" - as a euphemism for complaining - e.g. Whaddye crayon 'bout? = What are you crying about?:)
 
C

Castle Ray

Crayon is sometimes used to describe those who are stupid eg crayon users and windy lickers.
 

Mattarigna

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2012
Messages
5,104
I go up the north quite a lot, know quite a lot of nordies and Northern Irish sayings and expressions can be rather odd to the outsider. I even remember watching Give My Head Peace years ago and being flabbergasted at some of the sayings.

Here's a few links detailing the meanings to various Northern Irish sayings and expressions
How till spake Norn Iron (A guide to local phrases)
http://shinann.tripod.com/language.htm
Northern irish Swear Words

One I heard once recently was 'crayon' as an insult but I can't find it in any of the links. Anyone nordies know?
I know a couple - but besides that, in my experience, Northerners pretty much use the same expressions as their Southern counterparts do. But those were only my relations in Fermanagh. I know that there are words used that are unique to that part of the island, especially further to the North-East.
 
Last edited:

InsideImDancing

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Saunter = dander = wander = walk.:)

I've made up a few my self over the years.
 

RahenyFG

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Messages
9,206
I know a couple - but besides that, in my experience, Northerners pretty much use the same expressions as their Southern counterparts do. But those were only my relations in Fermanagh. I know that there are words used that are unique to that part of the island, especially further to the North-East.
Well bake, baps, catch yourself on, faffin and several others are expressions not used by native Dubs or anyone in the Republic. I think tho, a lot of those expressions I mentioned as well as the ones in the links, are mainly Belfast expressions(someone correct me if I'm wrong).
 

Mattarigna

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Joined
Oct 20, 2012
Messages
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Well bake, baps, catch yourself on, faffin and several others are expressions not used by native Dubs or anyone in the Republic. I think tho, a lot of those expressions I mentioned as well as the ones in the links, are mainly Belfast expressions(someone correct me if I'm wrong).
Never heard my Fermanagh relations use any of those.
 

RahenyFG

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Joined
Jun 17, 2010
Messages
9,206
Crayon is sometimes used to describe those who are stupid eg crayon users and windy lickers.
I first heard crayon in this mad YouTube only show.

[video=youtube;8kjnUiiAW-Y]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kjnUiiAW-Y[/video]
 

InsideImDancing

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Apr 3, 2011
Messages
21,961
Well bake, baps, catch yourself on, faffin and several others are expressions not used by native Dubs or anyone in the Republic. I think tho, a lot of those expressions I mentioned as well as the ones in the links, are mainly Belfast expressions(someone correct me if I'm wrong).
They're all used in Derry. Many of the sayings are used north/south and in Britain.
 

Glaucon

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Aug 13, 2012
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The linguistic "divide" in Ireland does not follow the political border.
Ulster English is divided into Mid-Ulster English, Ulster Scots (more an accent and a few words than anything else), South Ulster English, and southern Hiberno-English.

South Fermanagh English is much closer to Leitrim than Belfast.
Parts of South Armagh speak with typically "southern" rural accents.
Donegal is a classic "Mid-Ulster/Ulster Scot" area.

See more here:

 
J

Johnny Boy

Well bake, baps, catch yourself on, faffin and several others are expressions not used by native Dubs or anyone in the Republic. I think tho, a lot of those expressions I mentioned as well as the ones in the links, are mainly Belfast expressions(someone correct me if I'm wrong).
Bake (beak) is not used much outside Belfast, except by someone imitating a Belfast person. Baps is used around the north, as is catch yourself on. Faffin if it refers to "faffing about" is not northern Irish at all, it is British upper class, early 20th or thereabouts. I think it occurs a bit in the works of P.G. Wodehouse. Coincidentally, I read the phrase today in the Guardian quoting Chris Patten talking about BBC personnel in the context of the Savile scandal.

BBC bosses were 'faffing about' during Jimmy Savile row, says Lord Patten | Media | guardian.co.uk
 
J

Johnny Boy

They're all used in Derry. Many of the sayings are used north/south and in Britain.
Bake was never used in Derry when I lived there. I remember hearing it for the first time by a Belfast guy in the late 1970's, and having to ask him to explain himself.............:)
 

InsideImDancing

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Bake was never used in Derry when I lived there. I remember hearing it for the first time by a Belfast guy in the late 1970's, and having to ask him to explain himself.............:)
It was defo used in the 90s here, but rarely these days.
 

Narcissist

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From up my neck of the woods;

Sham: Mate.
Donor: Woman.
Fiend: Man
Cane: House
Bouncing: Leaving

Don't know if any of them are used elsewhere in the north like..
 

eoghanacht

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InsideImDancing

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Is 'Mucker' still used these days in Derry?
Certainly is, in fact in Liverpool recently every time my brother wanted to ask someone something it was "skuse me mucker" to much giggling from the rest of us.petunia One long-haired Latvian dude thought he was mentally ill for sure.
 

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