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Thread: Northern Irish sayings and expressions

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    Politics.ie Member RahenyFG's Avatar
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    Default Northern Irish sayings and expressions

    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?
    Last edited by RahenyFG; 24th February 2013 at 11:06 PM. Reason: To put in the full list of NI sayings
    I have closed down this account, I am now The Rahenyite.

  2. #2
    Johnny Boy
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    Quote Originally Posted by RahenyFG View Post
    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?

  3. #3
    Castle Ray
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    Crayon is sometimes used to describe those who are stupid eg crayon users and windy lickers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RahenyFG View Post
    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 by Mattarigna; 24th February 2013 at 10:02 PM.

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    Politics.ie Member InsideImDancing's Avatar
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    Saunter = dander = wander = walk.

    I've made up a few my self over the years.
    Police ombudsman Nula O'loan - We found collusion on a massive scale, murders, intimidation, directing terrorism, attempted murder, drug smuggling, the list of crimes is endless..

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    Politics.ie Member RahenyFG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattarigna View Post
    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).
    I have closed down this account, I am now The Rahenyite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RahenyFG View Post
    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.

  8. #8
    Politics.ie Member RahenyFG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Castle Ray View Post
    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.

    I have closed down this account, I am now The Rahenyite.

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    Politics.ie Member InsideImDancing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RahenyFG View Post
    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.
    Police ombudsman Nula O'loan - We found collusion on a massive scale, murders, intimidation, directing terrorism, attempted murder, drug smuggling, the list of crimes is endless..

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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:


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