English as we speak it in Ireland/XIII

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English as we speak it in Ireland by Patrick Weston Joyce
XIII. Vocabulary and Index

CHAPTER XIII.[edit]

VOCABULARY AND INDEX.[edit]

[In this Vocabulary, as well indeed as through the whole book, gh and ch are to be sounded guttural, as in lough and loch, unless otherwise stated or implied. Those who cannot sound the guttural may take the sound of k instead, and they will not be far wrong.]

Able; strong, muscular, and vigorous:—'Nagle was a strong able man.'
Able dealer; a schemer. (Limerick.)
Acushla; see Cushlamochree.
Adam's ale; plain drinking-water.
Affirming, assenting, and saluting, 9.
Agra or Agraw: a term of endearment; my love: vocative of Irish grádh, love.
Ahaygar; a pet term; my friend, my love: vocative of Irish téagur, love, a dear person.
Aims-ace; a small amount, quantity, or distance. Applied in the following way very generally in Munster:—'He was within an aim's-ace of being drowned' (very near). A survival in Ireland of the old Shakesperian word ambs-ace, meaning two aces or two single points in throwing dice, the smallest possible throw.
Air: a visitor comes in:—'Won't you sit down Joe and take an air of the fire.' (Very usual.)
Airt used in Ulster and Scotland for a single point of the compass:—
'Of a' the airts the wind can blaw I dearly like the west.'
(Burns.)
It is the Irish áird, a point of the compass.
Airy; ghostly, fearsome: an airy place, a haunted place. Same as Scotch eerie. From Gaelic áedharaigh, same sound and meaning. A survival of the old Irish pagan belief that air-demons were the most malignant of all supernatural beings: see Joyce's 'Old Celtic Romances,' p. 15.
Alanna; my child: vocative case of Irish leanbh [lannav], a child.
Allow; admit. 'I allow that you lent me a pound': 'if you allow that you cannot deny so and so.' This is an old English usage. (Ducange.) To advise or recommend: 'I would not allow you to go by that road' ('I would not recommend'). 'I'd allow you to sow that field with oats' (advise).
All to; means except:—'I've sold my sheep all to six,' i.e. except six. This is merely a translation from the Irish as in Do marbhadh na daoine uile go haon triúr: 'The people were slain all to a single three.' (Keating.)
Along of; on account of. Why did you keep me waiting [at night] so long at the door, Pat?' 'Why then 'twas all along of Judy there being so much afraid of the fairies.' (Crofton Croker.)
Alpeen, a stick or hand-wattle with a knob at the lower end: diminutive of Irish alp, a knob. Sometimes called a clehalpeen: where cleh is the Irish cleath a stick. Clehalpeen, a knobbed cudgel.
Amadaun, a fool (man or boy), a half-fool, a foolish person. Irish amadán, a fool: a form of onmitán; from ón, a fool: see Oanshagh.
American wake; a meeting of friends on the evening before the departure of some young people for America, as a farewell celebration. (See my 'Old Irish Folk-Music and Songs,' p. 191.)
Amplush, a fix, a difficulty: he was in a great amplush. (North and South.) (Edw. Walsh in Dub. Pen. Journal.)
Amshagh; a sudden hurt, an accident. (Derry.)
Ang-ishore; a poor miserable creature—man or woman. It is merely the Irish word aindeiseóir. (Chiefly South.)
Any is used for no (in no more) in parts of West and North-west. 'James, you left the gate open this morning and the calves got out.' 'Oh I'm sorry sir; I will do it any more.' This is merely a mistranslation of níos mo, from some confused idea of the sense of two (Irish) negatives (níos being one, with another preceding) leading to the omission of an English negative from the correct construction—'I will not do it anymore:' Níos mo meaning in English 'no more' or 'any more' according to the omission or insertion of an English negative.
Aree often used after ochone (alas) in Donegal and elsewhere. Aree gives the exact pronunciation of a Righ, and neimhe (heaven) is understood. The full Irish exclamation is ochón a Righ neimhe, 'alas, O King of heaven.'
Arnaun or arnaul, to sit up working at night later than usual. Irish airneán or airneál, same meaning.
Aroon, a term of endearment, my love, my dear: Eileen Aroon, the name of a celebrated Irish air: vocative of Irish rún [roon], a secret, a secret treasure. In Limerick commonly shortened to aroo. 'Where are you going now aroo?'
Art-loochra or arc-loochra, a harmless lizard five or six inches long: Irish art or arc is a lizard: luachra, rushes; the 'lizard of the rushes.'
Ask, a water-newt, a small water-lizard: from esc or easc [ask], an old Irish word for water. From the same root comes the next word, the diminutive form—
Askeen; land made by cutting away bog, which generally remains more or less watery. (Reilly: Kildare.)
Asthore, a term of endearment, 'my treasure.' The vocative case of Irish stór [store], treasure.
Athurt; to confront:—'Oh well I will athurt him with that lie he told about me.' (Cork.) Possibly a mispronunciation of athwart.
Avourneen, my love: the vocative case of Irish muirnín, a sweetheart, a loved person.
 
Baan: a field covered with short grass:—'A baan field': 'a baan of cows': i.e. a grass farm with its proper number of cows. Irish bán, whitish.
Back; a faction: 'I have a good back in the country, so I defy my enemies.'
Back of God-speed; a place very remote, out of the way: so far off that the virtue of your wish of God-speed to a person will not go with him so far.
Bacon: to 'save one's bacon'; to succeed in escaping some serious personal injury—death, a beating, &c. 'They fled from the fight to save their bacon': 'Here a lodging I'd taken, but loth to awaken, for fear of my bacon, either man, wife, or babe.' (Old Anglo-Irish poem.)
Bad member; a doer of evil; a bad character; a treacherous fellow: 'I'm ruined,' says he, 'for some bad member has wrote to the bishop about me.' ('Wild Sports of the West.')
Baffity, unbleached or blay calico. (Munster.)
Bails or bales, frames made of perpendicular wooden bars in which cows are fastened for the night in the stable. (Munster.)
Baithershin; may be so, perhaps. Irish b'féidir-sin, same sound and meaning.
Ballowr (Bal-yore in Ulster); to bellow, roar, bawl, talk loudly and coarsely.
Ballyhooly, a village near Fermoy in Cork, formerly notorious for its faction fights, so that it has passed into a proverb. A man is late coming home and expects Ballyhooly from his wife, i.e. 'the length and breadth of her tongue.' Father Carroll has neglected to visit his relatives, the Kearneys, for a long time, so that he knows he's in the black books with Mrs. Kearney, and expects Ballyhooly from her the first time he meets her. ('Knocknagow.')
Ballyorgan in Co. Limerick, 146.
Banagher and Ballinasloe, 192.
Bannalanna: a woman who sells ale over the counter. Irish bean-na-leanna, 'woman of the ale,' 'ale-woman' (leann, ale).
Ballyrag; to give loud abuse in torrents. (General.)
Bandle; a 2-foot measure for home-made flannel. (Munster.)
Bang-up; a frieze overcoat with high collar and long cape.
Banshee´; a female fairy: Irish bean-sidhe [banshee], a 'woman from the shee or fairy-dwelling.' This was the original meaning; but in modern times, and among English speakers, the word banshee has become narrowed in its application, and signifies a female spirit that attends certain families, and is heard keening or crying aloud at night round the house when some member of the family is about to die.
Barcelona; a silk kerchief for the neck:—
'His clothes spick and span new without e'er a speck;
A neat Barcelona tied round his white neck.'
(Edward Lysaght, in 'The Sprig of Shillelah.')
So called because imported from Barcelona, preserving a memory of the old days of smuggling.
Barsa, barsaun; a scold. (Kild. and Ulst.)
Barth; a back-load of rushes, straw, heath, &c. Irish beart.
Baury, baura, baur-yă, bairy; the goal in football, hurling, &c. Irish báire [2-syll.], a game, a goal.
Bawn; an enclosure near a farmhouse for cattle, sheep, &c.; in some districts, simply a farmyard. Irish badhun [bawn], a cow-keep, from ba, cows, and dún, a keep or fortress. Now generally applied to the green field near the homestead where the cows are brought to be milked.
Bawneen; a loose whitish jacket of home-made undyed flannel worn by men at out-door work. Very general: banyan in Derry. From Irish bán [bawn], whitish, with the diminutive termination.
Bawnoge; a dancing-green. (MacCall: Leinster.) From bán [baan], a field covered with short grass; and the dim. óg (p. 90).
Bawshill, a fetch or double. (See Fetch.) (MacCall: S. Wexford.) I think this is a derivative of Bow, which see.
Beestings; new milk from a cow that has just calved.
Be-knownst; known: unbe-knownst; unknown. (Antrim.)
Better than; more than:—'It is better than a year since I saw him last'; 'better than a mile,' &c. (Leinster and Munster.)
Bian´ [by-ann´]; one of Bianconi's long cars. (See Jingle.)
Binnen; the rope tying a cow to a stake in a field. (Knowles: Ulster.)
Birragh; a muzzle-band with spikes on a calf's or a foal's muzzle to prevent it sucking its mother. From Irish bir, a sharp spit: birragh, full of sharp points or spits. (Munster: see Gubbaun.)
Blackfast: among Roman Catholics, there is a 'black fast' on Ash Wednesday, Spy Wednesday, and Good Friday, i.e. no flesh meat or whitemeat is allowed—no flesh, butter, eggs, cheese, or milk.
Blackfeet. The members of one of the secret societies of a century ago were called 'Ribbonmen.' Some of them acknowledged the priests: those were 'whitefeet': others did not—'blackfeet.'
Black man, black fellow; a surly vindictive implacable irreconcilable fellow.
Black man; the man who accompanies a suitor to the house of the intended father-in-law, to help to make the match.
Black of one's nail. 'You just escaped by the black of your nail': 'there's no cloth left—not the size of the black of my nail.' (North and South.)
Black swop. When two fellows have two wretched articles—such as two old penknives—each thinking his own to be the worst in the universe, they sometimes agree for the pure humour of the thing to make a black swop, i.e. to swop without first looking at the articles. When they are looked at after the swop, there is always great fun. (See Hool.)
Blarney; smooth, plausible, cajoling talk. From Blarney Castle near Cork, in which there is a certain stone hard to reach, with this virtue, that if a person kisses it, he will be endowed with the gift of blarney.
Blast; when a child suddenly fades in health and pines away, he has got a blast,—i.e. a puff of evil wind sent by some baleful sprite has struck him. Blast when applied to fruit or crops means a blight in the ordinary sense—nothing supernatural.
Blather, bladdher; a person who utters vulgarly foolish boastful talk: used also as a verb—to blather. Hence blatherumskite, applied to a person or to his talk in much the same sense; 'I never heard such a blatherumskite.' Ulster and Scotch form blether, blethering: Burns speaks of stringing 'blethers up in rhyme.' ('The Vision.')
Blaze, blazes, blazing: favourite words everywhere in Ireland. Why are you in such a blazing hurry? Jack ran away like blazes: now work at that job like blazes: he is blazing drunk. Used also by the English peasantry:—'That's a blazing strange answer,' says Jerry Cruncher in 'A Tale of Two Cities.' There's a touch of slang in some of these: yet the word has been in a way made classical by Lord Morley's expression that Lord Salisbury never made a speech without uttering 'some blazing indiscretion.'
Blind Billy. In coming to an agreement take care you don't make 'Blind Billy's Bargain,' by either overreaching yourself or allowing the other party to overreach you. Blind Billy was the hangman in Limerick, and on one particular occasion he flatly refused to do his work unless he got £50 down on the nail: so the high sheriff had to agree and the hangman put the money in his pocket. When all was over the sheriff refused point-blank to send the usual escort without a fee of £50 down. So Blind Billy had to hand over the £50—for if he went without an escort he would be torn in pieces—and had nothing in the end for his job.
Blind lane; a lane stopped up at one end.
Blind window; an old window stopped up, but still plain to be seen.
Blink; to exercise an evil influence by a glance of the 'evil eye'; to 'overlook'; hence 'blinked,' blighted by the eye. When the butter does not come in churning, the milk has been blinked by some one.
Blirt; to weep: as a noun, a rainy wind. (Ulster.)
Blob (blab often in Ulster), a raised blister: a drop of honey, or of anything liquid.
Blue look-out; a bad look-out, bad prospect.
Boal or bole; a shelved recess in a room. (North.)
Boarhaun; dried cowdung used for fuel like turf. Irish boithreán [boarhaun], from bo, a cow.
Boccach [accented on 2nd syll. in Munster, but elsewhere on 1st]; a lame person. From the fact that so many beggars are lame or pretend to be lame, boccach has come to mean a beggar. Irish bacach, a lame person: from bac, to halt. Bockady, another form of boccach in Munster. Bockeen (the diminutive added on to bac), another form heard in Mayo.
Boddagh [accented on 2nd syll. in Munster; in Ulster on 1st], a rich churlish clownish fellow. Tom Cuddihy wouldn't bear insult from any purse-proud old boddagh. ('Knocknagow.')
Body-coat; a coat like the present dress-coat, cut away in front so as to leave a narrow pointed tail-skirt behind: usually made of frieze and worn with the knee-breeches.
Body-glass; a large mirror in which the whole body can be seen. (Limerick.)
Body-lilty; heels over head. (Derry.)
Bog; what is called in England a 'peat moss.' Merely the Irish bog, soft. Bog (verb), to be bogged; to sink in a bog or any soft soil or swampy place.
Bog-butter; butter found deep in bogs, where it had been buried in old times for a purpose, and forgotten: a good deal changed now by the action of the bog. (See Joyce's 'Smaller Soc. Hist. of Anc. Ireland,' p. 260.)
Bog-Latin; bad incorrect Latin; Latin that had been learned in the hedge schools among the bogs. This derisive and reproachful epithet was given in bad old times by pupils and others of the favoured, legal, and endowed schools, sometimes with reason, but oftener very unjustly. For those bog or hedge schools sent out numbers of scholarly men, who afterwards entered the church or lay professions. (See p. 151.)
Boghaleen; the same as Crusheen, which see.
Bohaun; a cabin or hut. Irish both [boh], a hut, with the diminutive án.
Bold; applied to girls and boys in the sense of 'forward,' 'impudent.'
Boliaun, also called booghalaun bwee and geōsadaun; the common yellow ragwort: all these are Irish words.
Bolting-hole; the second or backward entrance made by rats, mice, rabbits, &c., from their burrows, so that if attacked at the ordinary entrance, they can escape by this, which is always left unused except in case of attack. (Kinahan.)
Bones. If a person magnifies the importance of any matter and talks as if it were some great affair, the other will reply:—'Oh, you're making great bones about it.'
Bonnive, a sucking-pig. Irish banbh, same sound and meaning. Often used with the diminutive—bonniveen, bonneen. 'Oh look at the baby pigs,' says an Irish lady one day in the hearing of others and myself, ashamed to use the Irish word. After that she always bore the nickname 'Baby pig':—'Oh, there's the Baby pig.'
Bonnyclabber; thick milk. Irish bainne [bonny] milk; and clabar, anything thick or half liquid. 'In use all over America.' (Russell.)
Boochalawn bwee; ragweed: same as boliaun, which see.
Boolanthroor; three men threshing together, instead of the usual two: striking always in time. Irish buail-an-triúr, 'the striking of three.'
Booley as a noun; a temporary settlement in the grassy uplands where the people of the adjacent lowland village lived during the summer with their cattle, and milked them and made butter, returning in autumn—cattle and all—to their lowland farms to take up the crops. Used as a verb also: to booley. See my 'Smaller Soc. Hist. of Anc. Ireland,' p. 431; or 'Irish Names of Places,' I. 239.
Boolthaun, boulhaun, booltheen, boolshin: the striking part of a flail: from Irish buail [bool], to strike, with the diminutive.
Boon in Ulster, same as Mihul elsewhere; which see.
Boreen or bohereen, a narrow road. Irish bóthar [boher], a road, with the diminutive.
Borick; a small wooden ball used by boys in hurling or goaling, when the proper leather-covered ball is not to hand. Called in Ulster a nag and also a golley. (Knowles.)
Borreen-brack, 'speckled cake,' speckled with currants and raisins, from Irish bairghin [borreen], a cake, and breac [brack], speckled: specially baked for Hallow-eve. Sometimes corruptly called barm-brack or barn-brack.
Bosthoon: a flexible rod or whip made of a number of green rushes laid together and bound up with single rushes wound round and round. Made by boys in play—as I often made them. Hence bosthoon is applied contemptuously to a soft worthless spiritless fellow, in much the same sense as poltroon.
Bother; merely the Irish word bodhar, deaf, used both as a noun and a verb in English (in the sense of deafening, annoying, troubling, perplexing, teasing): a person deaf or partially deaf is said to be bothered:—'Who should come in but bothered Nancy Fay. Now be it known that bothered signifies deaf; and Nancy was a little old cranky bothered woman.' (Ir. Pen. Mag.) You 'turn the bothered ear' to a person when you do not wish to hear what he says or grant his request. In these applications bother is universal in Ireland among all classes—educated as well as uneducated: accordingly, as Murray notes, it was first brought into use by Irishmen, such as Sheridan, Swift, and Sterne; just as Irishmen of to-day are bringing into currency galore, smithereens, and many other Irish words. In its primary sense of deaf or to deafen, bother is used in the oldest Irish documents: thus in the Book of Leinster we have:—Ro bodrais sind oc imradud do maic, 'You have made us deaf (you have bothered us) talking about your son' (Kuno Meyer): and a similar expression is in use at the present day in the very common phrase 'don't bother me' (don't deafen me, don't annoy me), which is an exact translation of the equally common Irish phrase ná bí am' bhodradh. Those who derive bother from the English pother make a guess, and not a good one. See Bowraun.
Bottheen, a short thick stick or cudgel: the Irish bata with the diminutive:—baitin.
Bottom; a clue or ball of thread. One of the tricks of girls on Hallow-eve to find out the destined husband is to go out to the limekiln at night with a ball of yarn; throw in the ball still holding the thread; re-wind the thread, till it is suddenly stopped; call out 'who howlds my bottom of yarn?' when she expects to hear the name of the young man she is to marry.
Bouchal or boochal, a boy: the Irish buachaill, same meaning.
Bouilly-bawn, white home-made bread of wheaten flour; often called bully-bread. (MacCall: Wexford.) From Irish bul or búilidhe, a loaf, and bán, white.
Boundhalaun, a plant with thick hollow stem with joints, of which boys make rude syringes. From Irish banndal or bannlamh, a bandle (which see), with the dim. termination án, I never saw true boundhalauns outside Munster.
Bourke, the Rev. Father, 71, 161.
Bownloch, a sore on the sole of the foot always at the edge: from bonn the foot-sole [pron. bown in the South], and loch a mere termination. Also called a Bine-lock.
Bowraun, a sieve-shaped vessel for holding or measuring out corn, with the flat bottom made of dried sheepskin stretched tight; sometimes used as a rude tambourine, from which it gets the name bowraun; Irish bodhur [pron. bower here], deaf, from the bothered or indistinct sound. (South.)
Bow [to rhyme with cow]; a banshee, a fetch (both which see. MacCall: South Leinster). This word has come down to us from very old times, for it preserves the memory of Bugh [Boo], a banshee or fairy queen once very celebrated, the daughter of Bove Derg king of the Dedannans or faery-race, of whom information will be obtained in the classical Irish story, 'The Fate of the Children of Lir,' the first in my 'Old Celtic Romances.' She has given her name to many hills all through Ireland. (See my 'Irish Names of Places,' I. 182, 183. See Bawshill.)
Box and dice; used to denote the whole lot: I'll send you all the books and manuscripts, box and dice.
Boxty; same as the Limerick muddly, which see.
Boy. Every Irishman is a 'boy' till he is married, and indeed often long after. (Crofton Croker: 'Ir. Fairy Legends.')
Brablins: a crowd of children: a rabble. (Monaghan.)
Bracket; speckled: a 'bracket cow.' Ir. breac, speckled.
Braddach; given to mischief; roguish. Ir. bradach, a thief: in the same sense as when a mother says to her child, 'You young thief, stop that mischief.' Often applied to cows inclined to break down and cross fences. (Meath and Monaghan.)
Brander; a gridiron. (North.) From Eng. brand.
Brash; a turn of sickness (North.) Water-brash (Munster), severe acidity of the stomach with a flow of watery saliva from the mouth. Brash (North), a short turn at churning, or at anything; a stroke of the churndash: 'Give the churn a few brashes.' In Donegal you will hear 'that's a good brash of hail.'
Brave; often used as an intensive:—'This is a brave fine day'; 'that's a brave big dog': (Ulster.) Also fine or admirable 'a brave stack of hay': tall, strong, hearty (not necessarily brave in fighting):—'I have as brave a set of sons as you'd find in a day's walk.' 'How is your sick boy doing?' 'Oh bravely, thank you.'
Braw; fine, handsome: Ir. breagh, same sound and meanings. (Ulster.)
Break. You break a grass field when you plough or dig it up for tillage. 'I'm going to break the kiln field.' ('Knocknagow.') Used all over Ireland: almost in the same sense as in Gray's Elegy:—'Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has bróke.'
Break; to dismiss from employment: 'Poor William O'Donnell was broke last week.' This usage is derived from the Irish language; and a very old usage it is; for we read in the Brehon Laws:—Cid nod m-bris in fer-so a bo-airechus? 'What is it that breaks (dismisses, degrades) this man from his bo-aireship (i.e. from his position as bo-aire or chief)?' My car-driver asked me one time:—'Can an inspector of National Schools be broke, sir?' By which he meant could he be dismissed at any time without any cause.
Breedoge [d sounded like th in bathe]; a figure dressed up to represent St. Brigit, which was carried about from house to house by a procession of boys and girls in the afternoon of the 31st Jan. (the eve of the saint's festival), to collect small money contributions. With this money they got up a little rustic evening party with a dance next day, 1st Feb. 'Breedoge' means 'little Brighid or Brighit,' Breed (or rather Breedh) representing the sound of Brighid, with óg the old diminutive feminine termination.
Brecham, the straw collar put on a horse's or an ass's neck: sometimes means the old-fashioned straw saddle or pillion. (Ulster.)
Brehon Law; the old native law of Ireland. A judge or a lawyer was called a 'brehon.'
Brew; a margin, a brink: 'that lake is too shallow to fish from the brews': from the Irish bru, same sound and meaning. See Broo.
Brief; prevalent: 'fever is very brief.' Used all over the southern half of Ireland. Perhaps a mistake for rife.
Brillauns or brill-yauns, applied to the poor articles of furniture in a peasant's cottage. Dick O'Brien and Mary Clancy are getting married as soon as they can gather up the few brill-yauns of furniture. (South-east of Ireland.)
Brine-oge; 'a young fellow full of fun and frolic.' (Carleton: Ulster.)
Bring: our peculiar use of this (for 'take') appears in such phrases as:—'he brought the cows to the field': 'he brought me to the theatre.' (Hayden and Hartog.) See Carry.
Brock, brockish; a badger. It is just the Irish broc.
Brock, brocket, brockey; applied to a person heavily pock-marked. I suppose from broc, a badger. (Ulster.)
Brogue, a shoe: Irish bróg. Used also to designate the Irish accent in speaking English: for the old Irish thong-stitched brogue was considered so characteristically Irish that the word was applied to our accent; as a clown is called a cauboge (which see: Munster).
Brohoge or bruhoge; a small batch of potatoes roasted. See Brunoge.
Broken; bankrupt: quite a common expression is:—Poor Phil Burke is 'broken horse and foot'; i.e. utterly bankrupt and ruined.
Broo, the edge of a potato ridge along which cabbages are planted. Irish bru, a margin, a brink.
Brosna, brusna, bresna; a bundle of sticks for firing: a faggot. This is the Irish brosna, universally used in Ireland at the present day, both in Irish and English; and used in the oldest Irish documents. In the Tripartite Life of St. Patrick, written in Irish ten centuries ago, we are told that when Patrick was a boy, his foster-mother sent him one day for a brossna of withered branches to make a fire.
Broth of a boy; a good manly brave boy: the essence of manhood, as broth is the essence of meat.
Brough; a ring or halo round the moon. It is the Irish bruach, a border.
Broughan; porridge or oatmeal stirabout. Irish brochán. (Ulster.)
Bruggadauns [d sounded like th in they]; the stalks of ferns found in meadows after mowing. (Kerry.)
Brulliagh; a row, a noisy scuffle. (Derry.)
Brunoge; a little batch of potatoes roasted in a fire made in the potato field at digging time: always dry, floury and palatable. (Roscommon.) Irish bruithneóg. See Brohoge.
Bruss or briss; small broken bits mixed up with dust: very often applied to turf-dust. Irish brus, bris, same sounds and meaning. (South.)
Brutteen, brutin, bruteens; the Ulster words for caulcannon; which see. Irish brúightín.
Buckaun; the upright bar of a hinge on which the other part with the door hangs. Irish bocán.
Buckley, Father Darby, 68, 146.
Bucknabarra; any non-edible fungus. (Fermanagh.) See Pookapyle.
Buck teeth; superfluous teeth which stand out from the ordinary row. (Knowles: Ulster.)
Buddaree [dd sounded like th in they]; a rich purse-proud vulgar farmer. (Munster.) Irish.
Buff; the skin; to strip to one's buff is to strip naked. Two fellows going to fight with fists strip to their buff, i.e. naked from the waist up. (Munster.)
Buggaun (Munster), buggeen (Leinster); an egg without a shell. Irish bog, soft, with the dim. termination.
Bullaun, a bull calf. Irish, as in next word.
Bullavaun, bullavogue; a strong, rough, bullying fellow. From bulla the Irish form of bull. (Moran: Carlow.)
Bullaworrus; a spectral bull 'with fire blazing from his eyes, mouth, and nose,' that guards buried treasure by night. (Limerick.) Irish.
Bullia-bottha (or boolia-botha); a fight with sticks. (Simmons: Armagh.) Irish buaileadh, striking; and bata, a stick.
Bullagadaun [d sounded like th in they]; a short stout pot-bellied fellow. (Munster.) From Irish bolg [pron. bullog], a belly, and the dim. dán.
Bullshin, bullsheen; same as Bullaun.
Bum; to cart turf to market: bummer, a person who does so as a way of living, like Billy Heffernan in 'Knocknagow.' Bum-bailiff, a bog bailiff. (Grainger: Arm.) Used more in the northern half of Ireland than in the southern.
Bun; the tail of a rabbit. (Simmons: Arm.) Irish bun, the end.
Bunnans; roots or stems of bushes or trees. (Meath.) From Irish bun as in last word.
Bunnaun; a long stick or wattle. (Joyce: Limerick.)
Bunnioch; the last sheaf bound up in a field of reaped corn. The binder of this (usually a girl) will die unmarried. (MacCall: Wexford.)
Butt; a sort of cart boarded at bottom and all round the sides, 15 or 18 inches deep, for potatoes, sand, &c. (Limerick.) In Cork any kind of horse-cart or donkey-cart is called a butt, which is a departure from the (English) etymology. In Limerick any kind of cart except a butt is called a car; the word cart is not used at all.
Butthoon has much the same meaning as potthalowng, which see. Irish butún, same sound and meaning. (Munster.)
Butter up; to flatter, to cajole by soft sugary words, generally with some selfish object in view:—'I suspected from the way he was buttering me up that he came to borrow money.'
Byre: the place where the cows are fed and milked; sometimes a house for cows and horses, or a farmyard.
By the same token: this needs no explanation; it is a survival from Tudor English. (Hayden and Hartog.)
 
Cabin-hunting; going about from house to house to gossip. (South.)
Cabman's Answer, The, 208.
Cadday´ [strong accent on -day] to stray idly about. As a noun an idle stray of a fellow.
Cadge; to hawk goods for sale. (Simmons: Armagh.) To go about idly from house to house, picking up a bit and a sup, wherever they are to be had. (Moran: Carlow.)
Caffler; a contemptible little fellow who gives saucy cheeky foolish talk. Probably a mispronunciation of caviller. (Munster.)
Cagger; a sort of pedlar who goes to markets and houses selling small goods and often taking others in exchange. (Kinahan: South and West.)
Cahag; the little cross-piece on the end of a spade-handle, or of any handle. (Mon.)
Cailey; a friendly evening visit in order to have a gossip. There are usually several persons at a cailey, and along with the gossiping talk there are songs or music. Irish céilidh, same sound and meaning. Used all over Ireland, but more in the North than elsewhere.
Calleach na looha [Colleagh: accented on 2nd syll. in South; on 1st in North] 'hag of the ashes.' Children—and sometimes old children—think that a little hag resides in the ashpit beside the fire. Irish cailleach, an old woman: luaith, ashes.
Calleach-rue ('red hag'); a little reddish brown fish about 4 inches long, plentiful in small streams. We boys thought them delicious when broiled on the turf-coals. We fished for them either with a loop-snare made of a single horsehair on the end of a twig, with which it was very hard to catch them; for, as the boys used to say, 'they were cute little divels'—or directly—like the sportsmen of old—with a spear—the same spear being nothing but an ould fork.
Caish; a growing pig about 6 months old. (Munster.)
Call; claim, right: 'put down that spade; you have no call to it.'
'Bedad,' says he, 'this sight is queer,
My eyes it does bedizen—O;
What call have you marauding here,
Or how daar you leave your prison—O?'
(Repeal Song: 1843.)
Need, occasion: they lived so near each other that there was no call to send letters. 'Why are you shouting that way?' 'I have a good call to shout, and that blackguard running away with my apples.' Father O'Flynn could preach on many subjects:—'Down from mythology into thayology, Troth! and conchology if he'd the call.' (A. P. Graves.) Used everywhere in Ireland in these several senses.
Call; custom in business: Our new shopkeeper is getting great call, i.e. his customers are numerous. (South.)
Cam or caum; a metal vessel for melting resin to make sluts or long torches; also used to melt metal for coining. (Simmons: Armagh.) Called a grisset in Munster. Usually of a curved shape: Irish cam, curved.
Candle. 'Jack Brien is a good scholar, but he couldn't hold a candle to Tom Murphy': i.e. he is very inferior to him. The person that holds a candle for a workman is a mere attendant and quite an inferior.
Cannags; the stray ears left after the corn has been reaped and gathered. (Morris: Mon.) Called liscauns in Munster.
Caper: oat-cake and butter. (Simmons: Armagh.)
Caravat and Shanavest; the names of two hostile factions in Kilkenny and all round about there, of the early part of last century. Like Three-year-old and Four-year-old. Irish Caravat, a cravat; and Shanavest, old vest: which names were adopted, but no one can tell why.
Card-cutter; a fortune-teller by card tricks. Card-cutters were pretty common in Limerick in my early days: but it was regarded as disreputable to have any dealings with them.
Cardia; friendship, a friendly welcome, additional time granted for paying a debt. (All over Ireland.) Ir. cáirde, same meanings.
Cardinal Points, 168.
Carleycue; a very small coin of some kind. Used like keenoge and cross. (Very general.)
Carn; a heap of anything; a monumental pile of stones heaped up over a dead person. Irish carn, same meanings.
Caroline or 'Caroline hat'; a tall hat. ('Knocknagow': all over Munster.)
Caroogh, an expert or professional card-player. (Munster.) Irish cearrbhach, same sound and meaning.
Carra, Carrie; a weir on a river. (Derry.) Irish carra, same meaning.
Carrigaholt in Clare, 145.
Carry; to lead or drive: 'James, carry down those cows to the river' (i.e. drive): 'carry the horse to the forge' (lead). 'I will carry my family this year to Youghal for the salt water.' (Kinahan: South, West, and North-west.) See Bring.
Case: the Irish cás, and applied in the same way: 'It is a poor case that I have to pay for your extravagance.' Nách dubhach bocht un cás bheith ag tuitim le ghrádh: 'isn't it a poor case to be failing through love.'—Old Irish Song. Our dialectical Irish case, as above, is taken straight from the Irish cás; but this and the standard English case are both borrowed from Latin.
Cassnara; respect, anything done out of respect: 'he put on his new coat for a casnara.' (Morris: South Mon.)
Castor oil was our horror when we were children. No wonder; for this story went about of how it was made. A number of corpses were hanging from hooks round the walls of the factory, and drops were continually falling from their big toes into vessels standing underneath. This was castor oil.
Catin clay; clay mixed with rushes or straws used in building the mud walls of cottages. (Simmons: Arm.)
Cat of a kind: they're 'cat of a kind,' both like each other and both objectionable.
Cat's lick; used in and around Dublin to express exactly the same as the Munster Scotch lick, which see. A cat has a small tongue and does not do much licking.
Caubeen; an old shabby cap or hat: Irish cáibín: he wore a 'shocking bad caubeen.'
Cauboge; originally an old hat, like caubeen; but now applied—as the symbol of vulgarity—to an ignorant fellow, a boor, a bumpkin: 'What else could you expect from that cauboge?' (South.)
Caulcannon, Calecannon, Colecannon, Kalecannon; potatoes mashed with butter and milk, with chopped up cabbage and pot-herbs. In Munster often made and eaten on Hallow Eve. The first syllable is the Irish cál, cabbage; cannon is also Irish, meaning speckled.
Caur, kindly, good-natured, affable. (Morris: South Mon.)
Cawmeen; a mote: 'there's a cawmeen in my eye.' (Moran: Carlow.) Irish with the diminutive.
Cawsha Pooka; the big fungus often seen growing on old trees or elsewhere. From Irish cáise, cheese: the 'Pooka's cheese.' See Pooka and Pookapyle and Bucknabarra.
Cead míle fáilte [caidh meela faultha], a hundred thousand welcomes. Irish, and universal in Ireland as a salute.
Ceólaun [keolaun], a trifling contemptible little fellow. (Munster.)
Cess; very often used in the combination bad cess (bad luck):—'Bad cess to me but there's something comin' over me.' (Kickham: 'Knocknagow.') Some think this is a contraction of success; others that it is to be taken as it stands—a cess or contribution; which receives some little support from its use in Louth to mean 'a quantity of corn in for threshing.'
Chalk Sunday; the first Sunday after Shrove Tuesday (first Sunday in Lent), when those young men who should have been married, but were not, were marked with a heavy streak of chalk on the back of the Sunday coat, by boys who carried bits of chalk in their pockets for that purpose, and lay in wait for the bachelors. The marking was done while the congregation were assembling for Mass: and the young fellow ran for his life, always laughing, and often singing the concluding words of some suitable doggerel such as:—'And you are not married though Lent has come!' This custom prevailed in Munster. I saw it in full play in Limerick: but I think it has died out. For the air to which the verses were sung, see my 'Old Irish Music and Songs,' p. 12.
Champ (Down); the same as 'caulcannon,' which see. Also potatoes mashed with butter and milk; same as 'pandy,' which see.
Chanter; to go about grumbling and fault-finding. (Ulster.)
Chapel: Church: Scallan, 143.
Chaw for chew, 97. 'Chawing the rag'; continually grumbling, jawing, and giving abuse. (Kinahan.)
Cheek; impudence; brass: cheeky; presumptuous.
Chincough, whooping-cough: from kink-cough. See Kink.
Chittering; constantly muttering complaints. (Knowles.)
Chook chook [the oo sounded rather short]; a call for hens. It is the Irish tiuc, come.
Christian; a human being as distinguished from one of the lower animals:—'That dog has nearly as much sense as a Christian.'
Chuff: full.—'I'm chuffey after my dinner.' (MacCall: Wexford.)
Clabber, clobber, or clawber; mud: thick milk. See Bonnyclabber.
Clamp; a small rick of turf, built up regularly. (All through Ireland.)
Clamper; a dispute, a wrangle. (Munster.) Irish clampar, same meaning.
Clarsha; a lazy woman. (Morris: South Monaghan.)
Clart; an untidy dirty woman, especially in preparing food. (Simmons: Armagh.)
Clash, to carry tales: Clashbag, a tale-bearer. (Simmons: Armagh.)
Classy; a drain running through a byre or stable-yard. (Morris: South Monaghan.) Irish clais, a trench, with the diminutive y added.
Clat; a slovenly untidy person; dirt, clay: 'wash the clat off your hands': clatty; slovenly, untidy—(Ulster): called clotty in Kildare;—a slattern.
Clatch; a brood of chickens. (Ulster.) See Clutch.
Cleean [2-syll.]; a relation by marriage—such as a father-in-law. Two persons so related are cleeans. Irish cliamhan, same sound and meaning.
Cleever; one who deals in poultry; because he carries them in a cleeve or large wicker basket. (Morris: South Monaghan.) Irish cliabh [cleeve], a basket.
Cleevaun; a cradle: also a crib or cage for catching birds. The diminutive of Irish cliabh or cleeve, a wicker basket.
Clegg; a horsefly. (Ulster and Carlow.)
Clehalpeen; a shillelah or cudgel with a knob at the end. (South.) From Irish cleath, a wattle, and ailpin dim. of alp, a knob.
Clever is applied to a man who is tall, straight, and well made.
Clevvy; three or four shelves one over another in a wall: a sort of small open cupboard like a dresser. (All over the South.)
Clibbin, clibbeen; a young colt. (Donegal.) Irish clibín, same sound and meaning.
Clibbock; a young horse. (Derry.)
Clift; a light-headed person, easily roused and rendered foolishly excited. (Ulster.)
Clipe-clash: a tell-tale. (Ulster.) See Clash.
Clochaun, clochan; a row of stepping-stones across a river. (General.) From Irish cloch, a stone, with the diminutive án.
Clock; a black beetle. (South.)
Clocking hen; a hen hatching. (General.) From the sound or clock she utters.
Clooracaun or cluracaun, another name for a leprachaun, which see.
Close; applied to a day means simply warm:—'This is a very close day.'
Clout; a blow with the hand or with anything. Also a piece of cloth, a rag, commonly used in the diminutive form in Munster—cloutheen. Cloutheens is specially applied to little rags used with an infant. Clout is also applied to a clownish person:—'It would be well if somebody would teach that clout some manners.'
Clove; to clove flax is to scutch it—to draw each handful repeatedly between the blades of a 'cloving tongs,' so as to break off and remove the brittle husk, leaving the fibre smooth and free. (Munster.)
Clutch; a brood of chickens or of any fowls: same as clatch. I suppose this is English: Waterton (an English traveller) uses it in his 'Wanderings'; but it is not in the Dictionaries of Chambers and Webster.
Cluthoge; Easter eggs. (P. Reilly; Kildare.)
Cly-thoran; a wall or ditch between two estates. (Roscommon.) Irish cladh [cly], a raised dyke or fence; teóra, gen. teórann [thoran], a boundary.
Cobby-house; a little house made by children for play. (Munster.)
Cockles off the heart, 194.
Cog; to copy surreptitiously; to crib something from the writings of another and pass it off as your own. One schoolboy will sometimes copy from another:—'You cogged that sum.'
Coghil; a sort of long-shaped pointed net. (Armagh.) Irish cochal, a net.
Coldoy; a bad halfpenny: a spurious worthless article of jewellery. (Limerick.)
Colleen; a young girl. (All over Ireland.) Irish cailín, same sound and meaning.
Colley; the woolly dusty fluffy stuff that gathers under furniture and in remote corners of rooms. Light soot-smuts flying about.
Colloge; to talk and gossip in a familiar friendly way. An Irish form of the Latin or English word 'colloquy.'
Collop; a standard measure of grazing land, p. 177.
Collop; the part of a flail that is held in the hand. (Munster.) See Boolthaun. Irish colpa.
Come-all-ye; a nickname applied to Irish Folk Songs and Music; an old country song; from the beginning of many of the songs:—'Come all ye tender Christians,' &c. This name, intended to be reproachful, originated among ourselves, after the usual habit of many 'superior' Irishmen to vilify their own country and countrymen and all their customs and peculiarities. Observe, this opening is almost equally common in English Folk-songs; yet the English do not make game of them by nicknames. Irish music, which is thus vilified by some of our brethren, is the most beautiful Folk Music in the world.
Comether; come hether or hither, 97.
Commaun, common; the game of goaling or hurley. So called from the commaun or crooked-shaped stick with which it is played: Irish cam or com, curved or crooked; with the diminutive—camán. Called hurling and goaling by English speakers in Ireland, and shinney in Scotland.
Commons; land held in common by the people of a village or small district: see p. 177.
Comparisons, 136.
Conacre; letting land in patches for a short period. A farmer divides a large field into small portions—¼ acre, ½ acre, &c.—and lets them to his poorer neighbours usually for one season for a single crop, mostly potatoes, or in Ulster flax. He generally undertakes to manure the whole field, and charges high rents for the little lettings. I saw this in practice more than 60 years ago in Munster. Irish con, common, and Eng. acre.
Condition; in Munster, to 'change your condition' is to get married.
Condon, Mr. John, of Mitchelstown, 155.
Conny, canny; discreet, knowing, cute.
Contrairy, for contrary, but accented on second syll.; cross, perverse, cranky, crotchety, 102.
Convenient: see Handy.
Cool: hurlers and football players always put one of their best players to mind cool or stand cool, i.e. to stand at their own goal or gap, to intercept the ball if the opponents should attempt to drive it through. Universal in Munster. Irish cúl [cool], the back. The full word is cool-baur-ya where 'baur-ya' is the goal or gap. The man standing cool is often called 'the man in the gap' (see p. 182).
Cool; a good-sized roll of butter. (Munster.)
Cooleen or coulin; a fair-haired girl. This is the name of a celebrated Irish air. From cúl the back [of the head], and fionn, white or fair:—cúil-fhionn, [pron. cooleen or coolin].
Coonagh; friendly, familiar, great (which see):—'These two are very coonagh.' (MacCall: Wexford.) Irish cuaine, a family.
Coonsoge, a bees' nest. (Cork.) Irish cuansa [coonsa], a hiding-place, with the diminutive óg.
Cooramagh; kindly, careful, thoughtful, provident:—'No wonder Mrs. Dunn would look well and happy with such a cooramagh husband.' Irish curamach, same meaning.
Coord [d sounded like th in bathe], a friendly visit to a neighbour's house. Irish cuaird, a visit. Coordeeagh, same meaning. (Munster.)
Cope-curley; to stand on the head and throw the heels over; to turn head over heels. (Ulster.)
Core: work given as a sort of loan to be paid back. I send a man on core for a day to my neighbour: when next I want a man he will send me one for a day in return. So with horses: two one-horse farmers who work their horses in pairs, borrowing alternately, are said to be in core. Very common in Munster. Irish cobhair or cabhair [core or co-ir, 2-syll.] help, support.
Coreeagh; a man who has a great desire to attend funerals—goes to every funeral that he can possibly reach. (Munster.) Same root as last.
Corfuffle; to toss, shake, confuse, mix up. (Derry.)
Correesk; a crane. (Kildare.) Irish corr, a bird of the crane kind, and riasc [reesk], a marsh.
Cōsher [the o long as in motion]; banqueting, feasting. In very old times in Ireland, certain persons went about with news from place to place, and were entertained in the high class houses: this was called coshering, and was at one time forbidden by law. In modern times it means simply a friendly visit to a neighbour's house to have a quiet talk. Irish cóisir; a banquet, feasting.
Costnent. When a farm labourer has a cottage and garden from his employer, and boards himself, he lives costnent. He is paid small wages (called costnent wages) as he has house and plot free. (Derry.)
Cot; a small boat: Irish cot. See 'Irish Names of Places,' I. 226, for places deriving their names from cots.
Cowlagh; an old ruined house. (Kerry.) Irish coblach [cowlagh].
Coward's blow; a blow given to provoke a boy to fight or else be branded as a coward.
Cow's lick. When the hair in front over the forehead turns at the roots upward and backward, that is a cow's lick, as if a cow had licked it upwards. The idea of a cow licking the hair is very old in Irish literature. In the oldest of all our miscellaneous Irish MSS.—The Book of the Dun Cow—Cuculainn's hair is so thick and smooth that king Laery, who saw him, says:—'I should imagine it is a cow that licked it.'
Cox, Mr. Simon, of Galbally, 156.
Craags; great fat hands; big handfuls. (Morris: South Mon.)
Crab; a cute precocious little child is often called an old crab. 'Crabjaw' has the same meaning.
Cracked; crazy, half mad.
Cracklins; the browned crispy little flakes that remain after rendering or melting lard and pouring it off. (Simmons: Armagh.)
Crahauns or Kirraghauns; very small potatoes not used by the family: given to pigs. (Munster.) Irish creathán.
Crans (always in pl.); little tricks or dodges. (Limk).
Crapper; a half glass of whiskey. (Moran: Carlow.)
Craw-sick; ill in the morning after a drunken bout.
Crawtha; sorry, mortified, pained. (Limerick.) Irish cráidhte [crawtha], same meaning.
Crawthumper; a person ostentatiously devotional.
Creelacaun; see Skillaun.
Creel; a strong square wicker frame, used by itself for holding turf, &c., or put on asses' backs (in pairs), or put on carts for carrying turf or for taking calves, bonnives, &c., to market. Irish criol. (All through Ireland.)
Creepy; a small stool, a stool. (Chiefly in Ulster.)
Crith; hump on the back. Irish cruit, same sound and meaning. From this comes critthera and crittheen, both meaning a hunchback.
Cro, or cru: a house for cows. (Kerry.) Irish cro, a pen, a fold, a shed for any kind of animals.
Croaked; I am afraid poor Nancy is croaked, i.e. doomed to death. The raven croaks over the house when one of the family is about to die. (MacCall: Wexford.)
Croft; a water bottle, usually for a bedroom at night. You never hear carafe in Ireland: it is always croft.
Cromwell, Curse of, 166.
Crumel´ly. (Limerick.) More correctly curr amílly. (Donegal.) An herb found in grassy fields with a sweet root that children dig up and eat. Irish 'honey-root.'
Cronaun, croonaun; a low humming air or song, any continuous humming sound: 'the old woman was cronauning in the corner.'
Cronebane, cronebaun; a bad halfpenny, a worthless copper coin. From Cronebane in Co. Wicklow, where copper mines were worked.
Croobeen or crubeen; a pig's foot. Pigs' croobeens boiled are a grand and favourite viand among us—all through Ireland. Irish crúb [croob], a foot, with the diminutive.
Croost; to throw stones or clods from the hand:—'Those boys are always croosting stones at my hens.' Irish crústa [croostha], a missile, a clod.
Croudy: see Porter-meal.
Crowl or Croil; a dwarf, a very small person: the smallest bonnive of the litter. An Irish word.
Cruiskeen; a little cruise for holding liquor. Used all over Ireland.
'In a shady nook one moonlight night
A leprechaun I spied;
With scarlet cap and coat of green,
A cruiskeen by his side.'
The Cruiskeen Laun is the name of a well-known Irish air—the Scotch call it 'John Anderson my Jo.' Irish cruiscín, a pitcher: lán [laun], full: i.e. in this case full of pottheen.
Crusheen; a stick with a flat crosspiece fastened at bottom for washing potatoes in a basket. Irish cros, a cross, with the diminutive. Also called a boghaleen, from Irish bachal, a staff, with diminutive. (Joyce: Limerick.)
Cuck; a tuft: applied to the little tuft of feathers on the head of some birds, such as plovers, some hens and ducks, &c. Irish coc: same sound and meaning. (General.)
Cuckles; the spiky seed-pods of the thistle: thistle heads. (Limerick.)
Cuckoo spit; the violet: merely the translation of the Irish name, sail-chuach, spittle of cuckoos. Also the name of a small frothy spittle-like substance often found on leaves of plants in summer, with a little greenish insect in the middle of it. (Limerick.)
Cugger-mugger; whispering, gossiping in a low voice: Jack and Bessie had a great cugger-mugger. Irish cogar, whisper, with a similar duplication meaning nothing, like tip-top, shilly-shally, gibble-gabble, clitter-clatter, &c. I think 'hugger-mugger' is a form of this: for hugger can't be derived from anything, whereas cugger (cogur) is a plain Irish word.
Cull; when the best of a lot of any kind—sheep, cattle, books, &c.—have been picked out, the bad ones that are left—the refuse—are the culls. (Kinahan: general.)
Culla-greefeen; when foot or hand is 'asleep' with the feeling of 'pins and needles.' The name is Irish and means 'Griffin's sleep'; but why so called I cannot tell. (Munster.)
Cup-tossing; reading fortunes from tea-leaves thrown out on the saucer from the tea-cup or teapot. (General.)
Cur; a twist: a cur of a rope. (Joyce: Limerick.)
Curate; a common little iron poker kept in use to spare the grand one: also a grocer's assistant. (Hayden and Hartog.)
Curcuddiagh; cosy, comfortable. (Maxwell: 'Wild Sports of the West': Irish: Mayo.)
Curifixes; odd curious ornaments or fixtures of any kind. (General.) Peter Brierly, looking at the knocker:—'I never see such curifixes on a doore afore.' (Edw. Walsh: very general.)
Curragh; a wicker boat covered formerly with hides but now with tarred canvass. (See my 'Smaller Social Hist. of Anc. Ireland.')
Current; in good health: he is not current; his health is not current. (Father Higgins: Cork.)
Curwhibbles, currifibbles, currywhibbles; any strange, odd, or unusual gestures; or any unusual twisting of words, such as prevarication; wild puzzles and puzzling talk:—'The horsemen are in regular currywhibles about something.' (R. D. Joyce.)
Cush; a sort of small horse, from Cushendall in Antrim.
Cushlamochree; pulse of my heart. Irish Cuislĕ, vein or pulse; mo, my; croidhe [cree], heart.
Cushoge; a stem of a plant; sometimes used the same as traneen, which see. (Moran: Carlow; and Morris: Monaghan.)
Cut; a county or barony cess tax; hence Cutman, the collector of it. (Kinahan: Armagh and Donegal.) 'The three black cuts will be levied.' (Seumas MacManus: Donegal.)
 
Daisy-picker; a person who accompanies two lovers in their walk; why so called obvious. Brought to keep off gossip.
Dalk, a thorn. (De Vismes Kane: North and South.) Irish dealg [dallog], a thorn.
Dallag [d sounded like th in that]; any kind of covering to blindfold the eyes (Morris: South Monaghan): 'blinding,' from Irish dall, blind.
Dallapookeen; blindman's buff. (Kerry.) From Irish dalladh [dalla] blinding; and puicín [pookeen], a covering over the eyes.
Daltheen [the d sounded like th in that], an impudent conceited little fellow: a diminutive of dalta, a foster child. The diminutive dalteen was first applied to a horseboy, from which it has drifted to its present meaning.
Dancing customs, 170, 172.
Dannagh; mill-dust and mill-grains for feeding pigs. (Moran: Carlow: also Tip.) Irish deanach, same sound and meaning.
Dander [second d sounded like th in hither], to walk about leisurely: a leisurely walk.
Dandy; a small tumbler; commonly used for drinking punch.
Darradail or daradeel [the d's sounded like th in that] a sort of long black chafer or beetle. It raises its tail when disturbed, and has a strong smell of apples. There is a religious legend that when our Lord was escaping from the Jews, barefoot, the stones were marked all along by traces of blood from the bleeding feet. The daradail followed the traces of blood; and the Jews following, at length overtook and apprehended our Lord. Hence the people regard the daradail with intense hatred, and whenever they come on it, kill it instantly. Irish darbh-daol.
Dark; blind: 'a dark man.' (Very general.) Used constantly even in official and legal documents, as in workhouse books, especially in Munster. (Healy.)
Darrol; the smallest of the brood of pigs, fowl, &c. (Mayo.) Irish dearóil, small, puny, wretched.
Davis, Thomas, vi. 83, &c.
Dead beat or dead bet; tired out.
Dear; used as a sort of intensive adjective:—'Tom ran for the dear life' (as fast as he could). (Crofton Croker.) 'He got enough to remember all the dear days of his life.' ('Dub. Pen. Journ.')
Dell; a lathe. Irish deil, same sound and meaning. (All over Munster.)
Devil's needle; the dragon-fly. Translation of the Irish name snathad-a'-diabhail [snahad-a-dheel].
Deshort [to rhyme with port]; a sudden interruption, a surprise: 'I was taken at a deshort.' (Derry.)
Devil, The, and his 'territory,' 56.
Dickonce; one of the disguised names of the devil used in white cursing: 'Why then the dickonce take you for one gander.' (Gerald Griffin.)
Diddy; a woman's pap or breast: a baby sucks its mother's diddy. Diminutive of Irish did, same.
Dido; a girl who makes herself ridiculous with fantastic finery. (Moran: Carlow.)
Didoes (singular dido); tricks, antics: 'quit your didoes.' (Ulster.)
Dildron or dildern; a bowraun, which see.
Dillesk, dulsk, dulse or dilse; a sort of sea plant growing on rocks, formerly much used (when dried) as an article of food (as kitchen), and still eaten in single leaves as a sort of relish. Still sold by basket-women in Dublin. Irish duilesc.
Dip. When the family dinner consisted of dry potatoes, i.e. potatoes without milk or any other drink, dip was often used, that is to say, gravy or broth, or water flavoured in any way in plates, into which the potato was dipped at each bit. I once saw a man using dip of plain water with mustard in it, and eating his dinner with great relish. You will sometimes read of 'potatoes and point,' namely, that each person, before taking a bite, pointed the potato at a salt herring or a bit of bacon hanging in front of the chimney: but this is mere fun, and never occurred in real life.
Disciple; a miserable looking creature of a man. Shane Glas was a long lean scraggy wretched looking fellow (but really strong and active), and another says to him—jibing and railing—'Away with ye, ye miserable disciple. Arrah, by the hole of my coat, after you dance your last jig upon nothing, with your hemp cravat on, I'll coax yer miserable carcase from the hangman to frighten the crows with.' (Edw. Walsh in 'Pen. Journ.')
Disremember; to forget. Good old English; now out of fashion in England, but common in Ireland.
Ditch. In Ireland a ditch is a raised fence or earthen wall or mound, and a dyke (or sheuch as they call it in Donegal and elsewhere in Ulster) is a deep cutting, commonly filled with water. In England both words mean exactly the reverse. Hence 'hurlers on the ditch,' or 'the best hurlers are on the ditch' (where speakers of pure English would use 'fence') said in derision of persons who are mere idle spectators sitting up on high watching the game—whatever it may be—and boasting how they would do the devil an' all if they were only playing. Applied in a broad sense to those who criticise persons engaged in any strenuous affair—critics who think they could do better.
Dollop; to adulterate: 'that coffee is dolloped.'
Donny; weak, in poor health. Irish donaidhe, same sound and meaning. Hence donnaun, a poor weakly creature, same root with the diminutive. From still the same root is donsy, sick-looking.
Donagh-dearnagh, the Sunday before Lammas (1st August). (Ulster.) Irish Domnach, Sunday; and deireannach, last, i.e. last Sunday of the period before 1st August.
Doodoge [the two d's sounded like th in thus]; a big pinch of snuff. [Limk.] Irish dúdóg.
Dooraght [d sounded as in the last word]; tender care and kindness shown to a person. Irish dúthracht, same sound and meaning. In parts of Ulster it means a small portion given over and above what is purchased (Simmons and Knowles); called elsewhere a tilly, which see. This word, in its sense of kindness, is very old; for in the Brehon Law we read of land set aside by a father for his daughter through dooraght.
Doorshay-daurshay [d in both sounded as th in thus], mere hearsay or gossip. The first part is Irish, representing the sound of dubhairt-sé, 'said he.' The second part is a mere doubling of the first, as we find in many English words, such as 'fiddle-faddle,' 'tittle-tattle' (which resembles our word). Often used by Munster lawyers in court, whether Irish-speaking or not, in depreciation of hearsay evidence in contradistinction to the evidence of looking-on. 'Ah, that's all mere doorshay-daurshay.' Common all over Munster. The information about the use of the term in law courts I got from Mr. Maurice Healy. A different form is sometimes heard:—D'innis bean dom gur innis bean di, 'a woman told me that a woman told her.'
Dornoge [d sounded as in doodoge above]; a small round lump of a stone, fit to be cast from the hand. Irish dorn, the shut hand, with the dim. óg.
Double up; to render a person helpless either in fight or in argument. The old tinker in the fair got a blow of an amazon's fist which 'sent him sprawling and doubled him up for the rest of the evening.' (Robert Dwyer Joyce: 'Madeline's Vow.')
Down in the heels; broken down in fortune (one mark of which is the state of the heels of shoes).
Down blow; a heavy or almost ruinous blow of any kind:—'The loss of that cow was a down blow to poor widow Cleary.'
Downface; to persist boldly in an assertion (whether true or no): He downfaced me that he returned the money I lent him, though he never did.
Down-the-banks; a scolding, a reprimand, punishment of any kind.
Dozed: a piece of timber is dozed when there is a dry rot in the heart of it. (Myself for Limk.: Kane for North.)
Drad; a grin or contortion of the mouth. (Joyce.)
Drag home. (Simmons; Armagh: same as Hauling home, which see.)
Drass; a short time, a turn:—'You walk a drass now and let me ride': 'I always smoke a drass before I go to bed of a night.' ('Collegians,' Limerick.) Irish dreas, same sound and meaning.
Drench: a form of the English drink, but used in a peculiar sense in Ireland. A drench is a philtre, a love-potion, a love-compelling drink over which certain charms were repeated during its preparation. Made by boiling certain herbs (orchis) in water or milk, and the person drinks it unsuspectingly. In my boyhood time a beautiful young girl belonging to a most respectable family ran off with an ill-favoured obscure beggarly diseased wretch. The occurrence was looked on with great astonishment and horror by the people—no wonder; and the universal belief was that the fellow's old mother had given the poor girl a drench. To this hour I cannot make any guess at the cause of that astounding elopement: and it is not surprising that the people were driven to the supernatural for an explanation.
Dresser; a set of shelves and drawers in a frame in a kitchen for holding plates, knives, &c.
Drisheen is now used in Cork as an English word, to denote a sort of pudding made of the narrow intestines of a sheep, filled with blood that has been cleared of the red colouring matter, and mixed with meal and some other ingredients. So far as I know, this viand and its name are peculiar to Cork, where drisheen is considered suitable for persons of weak or delicate digestion. (I should observe that a recent reviewer of one of my books states that drisheen is also made in Waterford.) Irish dreas or driss, applied to anything slender, as a bramble, one of the smaller intestines, &c.—with the diminutive.
Drizzen, a sort of moaning sound uttered by a cow. (Derry).
Drogh; the worst and smallest bonnive in a litter. (Armagh.) Irish droch, bad, evil. (See Eervar.)
Droleen; a wren: merely the Irish word dreóilín.
Drop; a strain of any kind 'running in the blood.' A man inclined to evil ways 'has a bad drop' in him (or 'a black drop'): a miser 'has a hard drop.' The expression carries an idea of heredity.
Drugget; a cloth woven with a mixture of woollen and flaxen thread: so called from Drogheda where it was once extensively manufactured. Now much used as cheap carpeting.
Druids and Druidism, 178.
Drumaun; a wide back-band for a ploughing horse, with hooks to keep the traces in place. (Joyce: Limerick.) From Irish druim, the back.
Drummagh; the back strap used in yoking two horses. (Joyce: Limerick.) Irish druim, the back, with the termination -ach, equivalent to English -ous and -y.
Dry potatoes; potatoes eaten without milk or any other drink.
Dry lodging; the use of a bed merely, without food.
Drynaun-dun or drynan-dun [two d's sounded like th in that]; the blackthorn, the sloe-bush. Irish droigheanán [drynan or drynaun], and donn, brown-coloured.
Ducks; trousers of snow-white canvas, much used as summer wear by gentle and simple fifty or sixty years ago.
Dudeen [both d's sounded like th in those]; a smoking-pipe with a very short stem. Irish dúidín, dúd, a pipe, with the diminutive.
Duggins; rags: 'that poor fellow is all in duggins.' (Armagh.)
Dull; a loop or eye on a string. (Monaghan.)
Dullaghan [d sounded as th in those]; a large trout. (Kane: Monaghan.) An Irish word.
Dullaghan; 'a hideous kind of hobgoblin generally met with in churchyards, who can take off and put on his head at will.' (From 'Irish Names of Places,' I. 193, which see for more about this spectre. See Croker's 'Fairy Legends.')
Dullamoo [d sounded like th in those]; a wastrel, a scapegrace, a ne'er-do-weel. Irish dul, going; amudha [amoo], astray, to loss:—dullamoo, 'a person going to the bad,' 'going to the dogs.'
Dundeen; a lump of bread without butter. (Derry.)
Dunisheen; a small weakly child. (Moran: Carlow.) Irish donaisín, an unfortunate being; from donas, with diminutive. See Donny.
Dunner; to knock loudly at a door. (Ulster.)
Dunt (sometimes dunch), to strike or butt like a cow or goat with the head. A certain lame old man (of Armagh) was nicknamed 'Dunt the pad (path'). (Ulster.)
Durneen, one of the two handles of a scythe that project from the main handle. Irish doirnín, same sound and meaning: diminutive from dorn, the fist, the shut hand.
Durnoge; a strong rough leather glove, used on the left hand by faggot cutters. (MacCall: Wexford.) Dornoge, given above, is the same word but differently applied.
Duty owed by tenants to landlords, 181.
 
Earnest; 'in earnest' is often used in the sense of 'really and truly':—'You're a man in earnest, Cus, to strike the first blow on a day [of battle] like this.' (R. D. Joyce.)
Eervar; the last pig in a litter. This bonnive being usually very small and hard to keep alive is often given to one of the children for a pet; and it is reared in great comfort in a warm bed by the kitchen fire, and fed on milk. I once, when a child, had an eervar of my own which was the joy of my life. Irish iarmhar [eervar], meaning 'something after all the rest'; the hindmost. (Munster.) See Drogh for Ulster.
Elder; a cow's udder. All over Ireland.
Elegant. This word is used among us, not in its proper sense, but to designate anything good or excellent of its kind:—An elegant penknife, an elegant gun: 'That's an elegant pig of yours, Jack?' Our milkman once offered me a present for my garden—'An elegant load of dung.'
I haven't the janius for work,
For 'twas never the gift of the Bradys;
But I'd make a most elegant Turk,
For I'm fond of tobacco and ladies.
(Lever.)
'How is she [the sick girl] coming on?'
'Elegant,' was the reply. ('Knocknagow.')
Elementary schools, 159.
Exaggeration and redundancy, 120.
Existence, way of predicating, 23.
Eye of a bridge; the arch.
 
Faireen (south), fairin (north); a present either given in a fair or brought from it. Used in another sense—a lasting injury of any kind:—'Poor Joe got a faireen that day, when the stone struck him on the eye, which I'm afraid the eye will never recover.' Used all over Ireland and in Scotland.
Ah Tam, ah Tam, thou'lt get thy fairin',
In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin'.
(Burns.)
Fair-gurthra; 'hungry grass.' There is a legend all through Ireland that small patches of grass grow here and there on mountains; and if a person in walking along happens to tread on one of them he is instantly overpowered with hunger so as to be quite unable to walk, and if help or food is not at hand he will sink down and perish. That persons are attacked and rendered helpless by sudden hunger on mountains in this manner is certain. Mr. Kinahan gives me an instance where he had to carry his companion, a boy, on his back a good distance to the nearest house: and Maxwell in 'Wild Sports of the West' gives others. But he offers the natural explanation: that a person is liable to sink suddenly with hunger if he undertakes a hard mountain walk with a long interval after food. Irish feur, grass; gorta, hunger.
Fairy breeze. Sometimes on a summer evening you suddenly feel a very warm breeze: that is a band of fairies travelling from one fort to another; and people on such occasions usually utter a short prayer, not knowing whether the 'good people' are bent on doing good or evil. (G. H. Kinahan.) Like the Shee-geeha, which see.
Fairy-thimble, the same as 'Lusmore,' which see.
Famished; distressed for want of something:—'I am famished for a smoke—for a glass,' &c.
Farbreaga; a scarecrow. Irish fear, a man: breug falsehood: a false or pretended man.
Farl; one quarter of a griddle cake. (Ulster.)
Faúmera [the r has the slender sound]; a big strolling beggarman or idle fellow. From the Irish Fomor. The Fomors or Fomora or Fomorians were one of the mythical colonies that came to Ireland (see any of my Histories of Ireland, Index): some accounts represent them as giants. In Clare the country people that go to the seaside in summer for the benefit of the 'salt water' are called Faumeras. In Tramore they are called olishes [o long]; because in the morning before breakfast they go down to the strand and take a good swig of the salt water—an essential part of the cure—and when one meets another he (or she) asks in Irish 'ar ólish,' 'did you drink?' In Kilkee the dogfish is called Faumera, for the dogfish is among the smaller fishes like what legend represents the Fomorians in Ireland.
Faustus, Dr., in Irish dialect, 60.
Fear is often used among us in the sense of danger. Once during a high wind the ship's captain neatly distinguished it when a frightened lady asked him:—'Is there any fear, sir?' 'There's plenty of fear, madam, but no danger.'
Feck or fack; a spade. From the very old Irish word, fec, same sound and meaning.
Fellestrum, the flagger (marsh plant). Irish felestrom. (South.)
Fetch; what the English call a double, a preternatural apparition of a living person, seen usually by some relative or friend. If seen in the morning the person whose fetch it is will have a long and prosperous life: if in the evening the person will soon die.
Finane or Finaun; the white half-withered long grass found in marshy or wet land. Irish finn or fionn, white, with the diminutive.
Finely and poorly are used to designate the two opposite states of an invalid. 'Well, Mrs. Lahy, how is she?' [Nora the poor sick little girl]. 'Finely, your reverence,' Honor replied (going on well). The old sinner Rody, having accidentally shot himself, is asked how he is going on:—'Wisha, poorly, poorly' (badly). (G. Griffin.)
Finger—to put a finger in one's eye; to overreach and cheat him by cunning:—'He'd be a clever fellow that would put a finger in Tom's eye.'
First shot, in distilling pottheen; the weak stuff that comes off at the first distillation: also called singlings.
Flahoolagh, plentiful; 'You have a flahoolagh hand, Mrs. Lyons': 'Ah, we got a flahoolagh dinner and no mistake.' Irish flaith [flah], a chief, and amhail [ooal], like, with the adjectival termination ach: flahoolagh, 'chieftain-like.' For the old Irish chiefs kept open houses, with full and plenty—launa-vaula—for all who came. (South.)
Flipper; an untidy man. (Limerick.)
Flitters; tatters, rags:—'His clothes were all in flitters.'
Flog; to beat, to exceed:—'That flogs Europe' ('Collegians'), i.e. it beats Europe: there's nothing in Europe like it.
Fluke, something very small or nothing at all. 'What did you get from him?' 'Oh I got flukes' (or 'flukes in a hand-basket')—meaning nothing. Sometimes it seems to mean a small coin, like cross and keenoge. 'When I set out on that journey I hadn't a fluke.' (North and South.)
Fockle; a big torch made by lighting a sheaf of straw fixed on a long pole: fockles were usually lighted on St. John's Eve. (Limerick.) It is merely the German word fackel, a torch, brought to Limerick by the Palatine colony. (See p. 65.)
Fog-meal; a great meal or big feed: a harvest dinner.
Fooster; hurry, flurry, fluster, great fuss. Irish fústar, same sound and meaning. (Hayden and Hartog.)
'Then Tommy jumped about elate,
Tremendous was his fooster—O;
Says he, "I'll send a message straight
To my darling Mr. Brewster—O!"'
(Repeal Song of 1843.)
Forbye; besides. (Ulster.)
For good; finally, for ever: 'he left home for good.'
Fornent, fornenst, forenenst; opposite: he and I sat fornenst each other in the carriage.
'Yet here you strut in open day
Fornenst my house so freely—O.'
(Repeal Song of 1843.)
An old English word, now obsolete in England, but very common in Ireland.
Foshla; a marshy weedy rushy place; commonly applied to the ground left after a cut-away bog. (Roscommon.)
Four bones; 'Your own four bones,' 127.
Fox; (verb) to pretend, to feign, to sham: 'he's not sick at all, he's only foxing.' Also to cut short the ears of a dog.
Frainey; a small puny child:—'Here, eat this bit, you little frainey.'
Fraughans; whortleberries. Irish fraoch, with the diminutive. See Hurt.
Freet; a sort of superstition or superstitious rite. (Ulster.)
Fresh and Fresh:—'I wish you to send me the butter every morning: I like to have it fresh and fresh.' This is English gone out of fashion: I remember seeing it in Pope's preface to 'The Dunciad.'
Frog's jelly; the transparent jelly-like substance found in pools and ditches formed by frogs round their young tadpoles, 121.
Fum; soft spongy turf. (Ulster.) Called soosaun in Munster.
 
Gaatch [aa long as in car], an affected gesture or movement of limbs body or face: gaatches; assuming fantastic ridiculous attitudes. (South.)
Gad; a withe: 'as tough as a gad.' (Irish gad, 60.)
Gadderman; a boy who puts on the airs of a man; a mannikin or manneen, which see. (Simmons: Armagh.)
Gaffer; an old English word, but with a peculiar application in Ireland, where it means a boy, a young chap. 'Come here, gaffer, and help me.'
Gag; a conceited foppish young fellow, who tries to figure as a swell.
Gah´ela or gaherla; a little girl. (Kane: Ulster.) Same as girsha.
Gaileen; a little bundle of rushes placed under the arms of a beginner learning to swim. (Joyce: Limerick.) When you support the beginner's head keeping it above water with your hands while he is learning the strokes: that we used to designate 'giving a gaileen.'
Galbally, Co. Limerick, 156.
Galoot: a clownish fellow.
Galore; plenty, plentiful. Irish adverb go leór, 4.
Gankinna; a fairy, a leprachaun. (Morris: South Mon.) Irish gann, small.
Gannoge; an undefined small quantity. (Antrim.) Irish gann, small, with diminutive óg.
Garden, in the South, is always applied to a field of growing potatoes. 'In the land courts we never asked "How many acres of potatoes?"; but "How many acres of garden?"' (Healy.) A usual inquiry is 'How are your gardens going on?' meaning 'How are your potato crops doing?'
Garlacom; a lingering disease in cows believed to be caused by eating a sort of herb. (P. Moran: Meath.)
Garland Sunday; the first Sunday in August (sometimes called Garlick Sunday.)
Garron, garraun; an old worn-out horse. (Irish gearrán.)
Gash; a flourish of the pen in writing so as to form an ornamental curve, usually at the end. (Limerick.)
Gatha; an effeminate fellow who concerns himself in women's business: a Sheela. (Joyce: Limerick.)
Gatherie; a splinter of bog-deal used as a torch. (Moran: Carlow.) Also a small cake (commonly smeared with treacle) sold in the street on market days. Irish geataire [gatthera], same meanings.
Gaug; a sore crack in the heel of a person who goes barefooted. (Moran: Carlow.) Irish gág [gaug], a cleft, a crack.
Gaulsh; to loll. (MacCall: Wexford.)
Gaunt or gant; to yawn. (Ulster.)
Gaurlagh; a little child, a baby: an unfledged bird. Irish gárlach, same sound and meanings.
Gawk; a tall awkward fellow. (South.)
Gawm, gawmoge; a soft foolish fellow. (South.) Irish gám, same meaning. See Gommul.
Gazebo; a tall building; any tall object; a tall awkward person.
Gazen, gazened; applied to a wooden vessel of any kind when the joints open by heat or drought so that it leaks. (Ulster.)
Gallagh-gunley; the harvest moon. (Ulster.) Gallagh gives the sound of Irish gealach, the moon, meaning whitish, from geal, white.
Geck; to mock, to jeer, to laugh at. (Derry.)
Geenagh, geenthagh; hungry, greedy, covetous. (Derry.) Irish gionach or giontach, gluttonous.
Geens; wild cherries. (Derry.)
Gentle; applied to a place or thing having some connexion with the fairies—haunted by fairies. A thornbush where fairies meet is a 'gentle bush': the hazel and the foxglove (fairy-thimble) are gentle plants.
Geócagh; a big strolling idle fellow. (Munster.) Irish geocach, same sound and meaning.
Geosadaun or Yosedaun [d in both sounded like th in they]; the yellow rag-weed: called also boliaun [2-syll.] and booghalaun.
Get; a bastard child. (North and South.)
Gibbadaun; a frivolous person. (Roscommon.) From the Irish giob, a scrap, with the diminutive ending dán: a scrappy trifling-minded person.
Gibbol [g hard as in get]; a rag: your jacket is all hanging down in gibbols.' (Limerick.) Irish giobal, same sound and meaning.
Giddhom; restlessness. In Limerick it is applied to cows when they gallop through the fields with tails cocked out, driven half mad by heat and flies: 'The cows are galloping with giddhom.' Irish giodam, same sound and meaning.
Gill-gowan, a corn-daisy. (Tyrone.) From Irish geal, white, and gowan, the Scotch name for a daisy.
Girroge [two g's sounded as in get, got]. Girroges are the short little drills where the plough runs into a corner. (Kildare and Limerick.) Irish gearr, short, with the diminutive óg: girroge, any short little thing.
Girsha; a little girl. (North and South.) Irish geirrseach [girsagh], from gearr, short or small, with the feminine termination seach.
Gistra [g sounded as in get], a sturdy, active old man. (Ulster.) Irish giostaire, same sound and meaning.
Gladiaathor [aa long as in car]; a gladiator, a fighting quarrelsome fellow: used as a verb also:—'he went about the fair gladiaatherin,' i.e. shouting and challenging people to fight him.
Glaum, glam; to grab or grasp with the whole hand; to maul or pull about with the hands. Irish glám [glaum], same meaning.
Glebe; in Ireland this word is almost confined to the land or farm attached to a Protestant rector's residence: hence called glebe-land. See p. 143.
Gleeag; a small handful of straw used in plaiting straw mats: a sheaf of straw threshed. (Kildare and Monaghan.)
Gleeks: to give a fellow the gleeks is to press the forefingers into the butt of the ears so as to cause pain: a rough sort of play. (Limerick.)
Glenroe, Co. Limerick, 68, 146.
Gliggeen; a voluble silly talker. (Munster.) Irish gluigín [gliggeen], a little bell, a little tinkler: from glog, same as clog, a bell.
Gliggerum; applied to a very bad old worn-out watch or clock. (Limerick.)
Glit; slimy mud; the green vegetable (ducksmeat) that grows on the surface of stagnant water. (Simmons: Armagh.)
Gloit; a blockhead of a young fellow. (Knowles.)
Glory be to God! Generally a pious exclamation of thankfulness, fear, &c.: but sometimes an ejaculation of astonishment, wonder, admiration, &c. Heard everywhere in Ireland.
Glower; to stare or glare at: 'what are you glowerin' at!' (Ulster.)
Glugger [u sounded as in full]; empty noise; the noise made by shaking an addled egg. Also an addled egg. Applied very often in a secondary sense to a vain empty foolish boaster. (Munster.)
Glunter: a stupid person. (Knowles: Ulster.)
Goaling: same as Hurling, which see.
Gob; the mouth including lips: 'Shut your gob.' Irish gob, same meaning. Scotch, 'greedy gab.' (Burns.)
Gobshell; a big spittle direct from the mouth. (Limerick.) From Irish gob, the mouth, and seile [shella], a spittle.
Gobs or jackstones; five small round stones with which little girls play against each other, by throwing them up and catching them as they fall; 'there are Nelly and Sally playing gobs.'
Gods and goddesses of Pagan Ireland, 177.
Godspeed: see Back of God-speed.
God's pocket. Mr. Kinahan writes to me:—'The first time I went to the Mullingar hotel I had a delicate child, and spoke to the landlady as to how he was to be put up [during the father's absence by day on outdoor duty]. "Oh never fear sir," replied the good old lady, "the poor child will be in God's pocket here."' Mr. K. goes on to say:—I afterwards found that in all that part of Leinster they never said 'we will make you comfortable,' but always 'you will be in God's pocket,' or 'as snug as in God's pocket.' I heard it said of a widow and orphans whose people were kind to them, that they were in 'God's pocket.' Whether Seumas MacManus ever came across this term I do not know, but he has something very like it in 'A Lad of the O'Friels,' viz., 'I'll make the little girl as happy as if she was in Saint Peter's pocket.'
Goggalagh, a dotard. (Munster.) Irish gogail, the cackling of a hen or goose; also doting; with the usual termination ach.
Going on; making fun, joking, teasing, chaffing, bantering:—'Ah, now I see you are only going on with me.' 'Stop your goings on.' (General.)
Golder [d sounded like th in further]; a loud sudden or angry shout. (Patterson: Ulster.)
Goleen; an armful. See Gwaul.
Gombeen man; a usurer who lends money to small farmers and others of like means, at ruinous interest. The word is now used all over Ireland. Irish goimbín [gombeen], usury.
Gommul, gommeril, gommula, all sometimes shortened to gom; a simple-minded fellow, a half fool. Irish gamal, gamaille, gamairle, gamarail, all same meaning. (Gamal is also Irish for a camel.) Used all over Ireland.
Good deed; said of some transaction that is a well-deserved punishment for some wrong or unjust or very foolish course of action. Bill lends some money to Joe, who never returns it, and a friend says:—Tis a good deed Bill, why did you trust such a schemer?' Barney is bringing home a heavy load, and is lamenting that he did not bring his ass:—Tis a good deed: where was I coming without Bobby?' (the ass). ('Knocknagow') 'I'm wet to the skin': reply:—Tis a good deed: why did you go out without your overcoat?'
Good boy: in Limerick and other parts of Munster, a young fellow who is good—strong and active—at all athletic exercises, but most especially if he is brave and tough in fighting, is 'a good boy.' The people are looking anxiously at a sailing boat labouring dangerously in a storm on the Shannon, and one of them remarks:—Tis a good boy that has the rudder in his hand.' (Gerald Griffin.)
Good people; The fairies. The word is used merely as soft sawder, to butter them up, to curry favour with them—to show them great respect at least from the teeth out—lest they might do some injury to the speaker.
Googeen [two g's as in good and get]; a simple soft-minded person. (Moran: Carlow.) Irish guag, same meaning, with the diminutive: guaigín.
Gopen, gowpen; the full of the two hands used together. (Ulster.) Exactly the same meaning as Lyre in Munster, which see.
Gor; the coarse turf or peat which forms the surface of the bog. (Healy: for Ulster.)
Gorb; a ravenous eater, a glutton. (Ulster.)
Gorsoon: a young boy. It is hard to avoid deriving this from French garçon, all the more as it has no root in Irish. Another form often used is gossoon, which is derived from Irish:—gas, a stem or stalk, a young boy. But the termination oon or ún is suspicious in both cases, for it is not a genuine Irish suffix at all.
Gossip; a sponsor in baptism.
Goster; gossipy talk. Irish gastairĕ, a prater, a chatterer. 'Dermot go 'long with your goster.' (Moore—in his youth.)
Gouloge; a stick with a little fork of two prongs at the end, for turning up hay, or holding down furze while cutting. (South.) Used in the North often in the form of gollog. Irish gabhal [gowl], a fork, with the dim. óg.
Gounau; housewife [huzzif] thread, strong thread for sewing, pack thread. Irish gabhshnáth (Fr. Dinneen), same sound and meaning: from snáth, a thread: but how comes in gabh? In one of the Munster towns I knew a man who kept a draper's shop, and who was always called Gounau, in accordance with the very reprehensible habit of our people to give nicknames.
Goureen-roe: a snipe, a jacksnipe. (Munster.) Irish gabhairín-reó, the 'little goat of the frost' (reó, frost): because on calm frosty evenings you hear its quivering sound as it flies in the twilight, very like the sound emitted by a goat.
Gra, grah; love, fondness, liking. Irish grádh [graw]. 'I have great gra for poor Tom.' I asked an Irishman who had returned from America and settled down again here and did well:—'Why did you come back from America?' 'Ah,' he replied, 'I have great gra for the old country.'
Graanbroo; wheat boiled in new milk and sweetened: a great treat to children, and generally made from their own gleanings or liscauns, gathered in the fields. Sometimes called brootheen. (Munster.) The first from Irish grán, grain, and brúgh, to break or bruise, to reduce to pulp, or cook, by boiling. Brootheen (also applied to mashed potatoes) is from brúgh, with the diminutive.
Graanoge, graan-yoge [aa in both long like a in car], a hedgehog. Irish gráineóg, same sound.
Graanshaghaun [aa long as in car]; wheat (in grain) boiled. (Joyce: Limerick.) In my early days what we called graanshaghaun was wheat in grains, not boiled, but roasted in an iron pot held over the fire, the wheat being kept stirred till done.
Graffaun; a small axe with edge across like an adze for grubbing or graffing land, i.e. rooting out furze and heath in preparation for tillage. Used all through the South. 'This was the word used in Co. Cork law courts.' (Healy.) Irish grafán, same sound and meaning.
Graip or grape; a dung-fork with three or four prongs. Irish grápa.
Grammar and Pronunciation, 74.
Grammel; to grope or fumble or gather with both hands. (Derry.)
Graves, Mr. A. P., 58, &c.
Grawls; children. Paddy Corbett, thinking he is ruined, says of his wife:—'God comfort poor Jillian and the grawls I left her.' (Edward Walsh.) 'There's Judy and myself and the poor little grawls.' (Crofton Croker: p. 155.)
Grawvar; loving, affectionate:—'That's a grawver poor boy.' (Munster.) Irish grádhmhar, same sound and meaning: from grádh, love.
Grazier; a young rabbit. (South and West.)
Great; intimate, closely acquainted:—'Tom Long and Jack Fogarty are very great.' (All over Ireland.) 'Come gie's your hand and sae we're greet.' (Burns.)
Greedy-gut; a glutton; a person who is selfish about stuffing himself, wishing to give nothing to anyone else. Gorrane Mac Sweeny, when his mistress is in want of provisions, lamenting that the eagles (over Glengarriff) were devouring the game that the lady wanted so badly, says:—'Is it not the greatest pity in life ... that these greedy-guts should be after swallowing the game, and my sweet mistress and her little ones all the time starving.' (Caesar Otway in 'Pen. Journ.')
Greenagh; a person that hangs round hoping to get food (Donegal and North-West): a 'Watch-pot.'
Greesagh; red hot embers and ashes. 'We roasted our potatoes and eggs in the greesagh.' (All over Ireland.) Irish gríosach, same sound.
Greet; to cry. 'Tommy was greetin' after his mother.' (Ulster.)
Greth; harness of a horse: a general name for all the articles required when yoking a horse to the cart. (Knowles: Ulster.)
Griffin, Gerald, author of 'The Collegians,' 5, &c.
Grig (greg in Sligo): a boy with sugarstick holds it out to another and says, 'grig, grig,' to triumph over him. Irish griog, same sound and meaning.
Grinder; a bright-coloured silk kerchief worn round the neck. (Edward Walsh: all over Munster.)
Gripe; a trench, generally beside a high ditch or fence. 'I got down into the gripe, thinking to [hide myself].' (Crofton Croker.)
Griskin or greeskeen; a small bit of meat cut off to be roasted—usually on the coals. Irish gríscín.
Grisset; a shallow iron vessel for melting things in, such as grease for dipping rushes, resin for dipping torches (sluts or paudioges, which see), melting lead for various purposes, white metals for coining, &c. If a man is growing rapidly rich:—'You'd think he had the grisset down.'
Groak or groke; to look on silently—like a dog—at people while they are eating, hoping to be asked to eat a bit. (Derry.)
Grogue; three or four sods of turf standing on end, supporting each other like a little pyramid on the bog to dry. (Limerick.) Irish gruag, same meaning.
Groodles; the broken bits mixed with liquid left at the bottom of a bowl of soup, bread and milk, &c.
Group or grup; a little drain or channel in a cow-house to lead off the liquid manure. (Ulster.)
Grue or grew; to turn from with disgust:—'He grued at the physic.' (Ulster).
Grug; sitting on one's grug means sitting on the heels without touching the ground. (Munster.) Same as Scotch hunkers. 'Sit down on your grug and thank God for a seat.'
Grumagh or groomagh; gloomy, ill-humoured:—'I met Bill this morning looking very grumagh.' (General.) From Irish gruaim [grooim], gloom, ill-humour, with the usual suffix -ach, equivalent to English -y as in gloomy.
Grumpy; surly, cross, disagreeable. (General.)
Gubbadhaun; a bird that follows the cuckoo. (Joyce.)
Gubbaun; a strap tied round the mouth of a calf or foal, with a row of projecting nail points, to prevent it sucking the mother. From Irish gob, the mouth, with the diminutive. (South.)
Gubbalagh; a mouthful. (Munster.) Irish goblach, same sound and meaning. From gob, the mouth, with the termination lach.
Gullion; a sink-pool. (Ulster.)
Gulpin; a clownish uncouth fellow. (Ulster.)
Gulravage, gulravish; noisy boisterous play. (North-east Ulster.)
Gunk; a 'take in,' a 'sell'; as a verb, to 'take in,' to cheat. (Ulster.)
Gushers; stockings with the soles cut off. (Morris: Monaghan.) From the Irish. Same as triheens.
Gurry; a bonnive, a young pig. (Morris: Mon.)
Gutter; wet mud on a road (gutters in Ulster).
Gwaul [l sounded as in William]; the full of the two arms of anything: 'a gwaul of straw.' (Munster.) In Carlow and Wexford, they add the diminutive, and make it goleen. Irish gabháil.
 
Hain; to hain a field is to let it go to meadow, keeping the cows out of it so as to let the grass grow: possibly from hayin'. (Waterford: Healy.) In Ulster hain means to save, to economise.
Half a one; half a glass of whiskey. One day a poor blind man walked into one of the Dublin branch banks, which happened to be next door to a public-house, and while the clerks were looking on, rather puzzled as to what he wanted, he slapped two pennies down on the counter; and in no very gentle voice:—'Half a one!'
Half joke and whole earnest; an expression often heard in Ireland which explains itself. 'Tim told me—half joke and whole earnest—that he didn't much like to lend me his horse.'
Hand; to make a hand of a person is to make fun of him; to humbug him: Lowry Looby, thinking that Mr. Daly is making game of him, says:—Tis making a hand of me your honour is.' (Gerald Griffin.) Other applications of hand are 'You made a bad hand of that job,' i.e. you did it badly. If a man makes a foolish marriage: 'He made a bad hand of himself, poor fellow.'
Hand-and-foot; the meaning of this very general expression is seen in the sentence 'He gave him a hand-and-foot and tumbled him down.'
Hand's turn; a very trifling bit of work, an occasion:—'He won't do a hand's turn about the house': 'he scolds me at every hand's turn,' i.e. on every possible occasion.
Handy; near, convenient:—'The shop lies handy to me'; an adaptation of the Irish láimh le (meaning near). Láimh le Corcaig, lit. at hand with Cork—near Cork. This again is often expressed convenient to Cork, where convenient is intended to mean simply near. So it comes that we in Ireland regard convenient and near as exactly synonymous, which they are not. In fact on almost every possible occasion, we—educated and uneducated—use convenient when near would be the proper word. An odd example occurs in the words of the old Irish folk-song:—
'A sailor courted a farmer's daughter,
Who lived convaynient to the Isle of Man.'
Hannel; a blow with the spear or spike of a pegging-top (or 'castle-top') down on the wood of another top. Boys often played a game of tops for a certain number of hannels. At the end of the game the victor took his defeated opponent's top, sunk it firmly down into the grassy sod, and then with his own top in his hand struck the other top a number of hannels with the spear of his own to injure it as much as possible. 'Your castle-tops came in for the most hannels.' ('Knocknagow.')
Hap; to wrap a person round with any covering, to tuck in the bedclothes round a person. (Ulster.)
Hard word (used always with the); a hint, an inkling, a tip, a bit of secret information:—'They were planning to betray and cheat me, but Ned gave me the hard word, and I was prepared for them, so that I defeated their schemes.'
Hare; to make a hare of a person is to put him down in argument or discussion, or in a contest of wit or cunning; to put him in utter confusion. 'While you were speaking to the little boy that made a hare of you.' (Carleton in Ir. Pen. Journ.)
'Don't talk of your Provost and Fellows of Trinity,
Famous for ever at Greek and Latinity,
Faix and the divels and all at Divinity—
Father O'Flynn 'd make hares of them all!'
(A. P. Graves.)
Harvest; always used in Ireland for autumn:—'One fine day in harvest.' (Crofton Croker.)
Hauling home; bringing home the bride, soon after the wedding, to her husband's house. Called also a 'dragging-home.' It is always made the occasion of festivity only next in importance to the wedding. For a further account, and for a march played at the Hauling home, see my 'Old Irish Folk Music and Songs,' p. 130.
Hausel; the opening in the iron head of an axe, adze, or hammer, for the handle. (Ulster.)
Haverel: a rude coarse boor, a rough ignorant fellow. (Moran: Carlow.)
Havverick; a rudely built house, or an old ruined house hastily and roughly restored:—'How can people live in that old havverick?' (Limerick.)
Hayden, Miss Mary, M.A., 5, &c.
Healy, Mr. Maurice, 178, &c.
Head or harp; a memorial of the old Irish coinage, corresponding with English head or tail. The old Irish penny and halfpenny had the king's head on one side and the Irish harp on the other. 'Come now, head or harp,' says the person about to throw up a halfpenny of any kind.
Heard tell; an expression used all throughout Ireland:—'I heard tell of a man who walked to Glendalough in a day.' It is old English.
Heart-scald; a great vexation or mortification. (General.) Merely the translation of scallach-croidhe [scollagh-cree], scalding of the heart.
Hearty; tipsy, exhilarated after a little 'drop.'
Hedge schools, 149.
Higgins, The Rev. Father, p. 244, and elsewhere.
Hinch; the haunch, the thigh. To hinch a stone is to jerk (or jurk as they say in Munster), to hurl it from under instead of over the shoulder. (Ulster.)
Hinten; the last sod of the ridge ploughed. (Ulster.)
Ho; equal. Always used with a negative, and also in a bad sense, either seriously or in play. A child spills a jug of milk, and the mother says:—'Oh Jacky, there's no ho to you for mischief' (no equal to you). The old woman says to the mischievous gander:—'There's no ho with you for one gander.' (Gerald Griffin: 'The Coiner.') This ho is an Irish word: it represents the sound of the Irish prefix cho or chomh, equal, as much as, &c. 'There's no ho to Jack Lynch' means there's no one for whom you can use cho (equal) in comparing him with Jack Lynch.
Hobbler; a small cock of fresh hay about 4 feet high. (Moran: Carlow.)
Hobby; a kind of Irish horse, which, three or four centuries ago, was known all over Europe 'and held in great esteem for their easy amble: and from this kind of horse the Irish light-armed bodies of horse were called hobellers.' (Ware. See my 'Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland,' p. 487.) Hence a child's toy, a hobby-horse. Hence a favourite pursuit is called a 'hobby.'
Hoil; a mean wretched dwelling: an uncomfortable situation. (Morris: South Monaghan.)
Hollow; used as an adverb as follows:—'Jack Cantlon's horse beat the others hollow in the race': i.e. beat them utterly.
Holy show: 'You're a holy show in that coat,' i.e. it makes quite a show of you; makes you look ridiculous. (General.)
Holy well; a well venerated on account of its association with an Irish saint: in most cases retaining the name of the saint:—'Tober-Bride,' St. Bride's or Brigit's well. In these wells the early saints baptised their converts. They are found all through Ireland, and people often pray beside them and make their rounds. (See 'Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland.')
Hool or hooley; the same as a Black swop.
Hot-foot; at once, immediately:—'Off I went hot-foot.' 'As soon as James heard the news, he wrote a letter hot-foot to his father.'
Houghle; to wobble in walking. (Armagh.)
Hugger-mugger: see Cugger-mugger.
Huggers or hogars, stockings without feet. (Ulster.)
Hulk; a rough surly fellow. (Munster.) A bad person. (Simmons: Armagh.) Irish olc, bad.
Hungry-grass: see Fair-gurtha.
Hunker-slide; to slide on ice sitting on the hunkers (or as they would say in Munster, sitting on one's grug) instead of standing up straight: hence to act with duplicity: to shirk work:—'None of your hunker-sliding for me.' (Ulster.)
Hurling; the common game of ball and hurley or commaun. The chief terms (besides those mentioned elsewhere) are:—Puck, the blow of the hurley on the ball: The goals are the two gaps at opposite sides of the field through which the players try to drive the ball. When the ball is thrown high up between two players with their commauns ready drawn to try which will strike it on its way down: that is high-rothery. When two adjacent parishes or districts contended (instead of two small parties at an ordinary match), that was scoobeen or 'conquering goal' (Irish scuab, a broom: scoobeen, sweeping the ball away). I have seen at least 500 on each side engaged in one of these scoobeens; but that was in the time of the eight millions—before 1847. Sometimes there were bad blood and dangerous quarrels at scoobeens. See Borick, Sippy, Commaun, and Cool. (For the ancient terms see my 'Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland,' p. 513.) For examples of these great contests, see Very Rev. Dr. Sheehan's 'Glenanaar,' pp. 4, 231.
Hurt: a whortleberry: hurts are fraughans, which see. From whort. (Munster.)
Husho or rather huzho; a lullaby, a nurse-song, a cradle-song; especially the chorus, consisting of a sleepy cronaun or croon—like 'shoheen-sho Loo-lo-lo,' &c. Irish suantraighe [soontree]. 'The moaning of a distant stream that kept up a continual cronane like a nurse hushoing.' 'My mother was hushoing my little sister, striving to quieten her.' (Both from Crofton Croker.) 'The murmur of the ocean huzhoed me to sleep.' (Irish Folk Song:—'M‘Kenna's Dream.')
 
Idioms; influence of the Irish language on, 4:—derived from Irish, 23.
If; often used in the sense of although, while, or some such signification, which will be best understood from the following examples:—A Dublin jarvey who got sixpence for a long drive, said in a rage:—'I'm in luck to-day; but if I am, 'tis blazing bad luck.' 'Bill ran into the house, and if he did, the other man seized him round the waist and threw him on his back.'
If that. This is old English, but has quite disappeared from the standard language of the present day, though still not unfrequently heard in Ireland:—'If that you go I'll go with you.'
'If from Sally that I get free,
My dear I love you most tenderlie.'
(Irish Folk Song—'Handsome Sally.')
'And if that you wish to go further
Sure God He made Peter His own,
The keys of His treasures He gave him,
To govern the old Church of Rome.'
(Old Irish Folk Song.)
Inagh´ or in-yah´ [both strongly accented on second syll.]; a satirical expression of dissent or disbelief, like the English forsooth, but much stronger. A fellow boasting says:—'I could run ten miles in an hour': and another replies, 'You could inah': meaning 'Of course I don't believe a word of it.' A man coming back from the other world says to a woman:—'I seen your [dead] husband there too, ma'am;' to which she replies:—'My husband inah.' (Gerald Griffin: 'Collegians.') Irish an eadh, same sound and meaning.
Inch; a long strip of level grassy land along a river. Very general. Irish inis [innish], of the same family as Lat. insula: but inis is older than insula which is a diminutive and consequently a derived form. 'James, go out and drive the cows down to the inch.'
Insense´; to make a person understand;—'I can't insense him into his letters.' 'I insensed him into the way the job was to be done.' [Accent on -sense´.]
In tow with; in close acquaintance with, courting. John is in tow with Jane Sullivan.
Ire, sometimes ira; children who go barefoot sometimes get ire in the feet; i.e. the skin chapped and very sore. Also an inflamed spot on the skin rendered sore by being rubbed with some coarse seam, &c.
Irish language; influence of, on our dialect, 1, 23.
 
Jackeen; a nickname for a conceited Dublin citizen of the lower class.
Jack Lattin, 172.
Jap or jop; to splash with mud. (Ulster.)
Jaw; impudent talk: jawing; scolding, abusing:—
'He looked in my face and he gave me some jaw,
Saying "what brought you over from Erin-go-braw?"'
(Irish Folk Song.)
Jingle; one of Bianconi's long cars.
Johnny Magorey; a hip or dog-haw; the fruit of the dog-rose. (Central and Eastern counties.)
Join; to begin at anything; 'the child joined to cry'; 'my leg joined to pain me'; 'the man joined to plough.' (North.)
Jokawn; an oaten stem cut off above the joint, with a tongue cut in it, which sounds a rude kind of music when blown by the mouth. (Limerick.) Irish geocán, same sound and meaning.
Jowlter, fish-jowlter; a person who hawks about fish through the country, to sell. (South.)
Just: often used as a final expletive—more in Ulster than elsewhere:—'Will you send anyone?' 'Yes, Tommy just.' 'Where are you going now?' 'To the fair just.'
 
Keenagh or keenagh-lee: mildew often seen on cheese, jam, &c. In a damp house everything gets covered with keenagh-lee. Irish caonach, moss; caonach-lee, mildew: lee is Irish liagh [lee], grey. (North and North-West of Ireland.)
Keeping: a man is on his keeping when he is hiding away from the police, who are on his track for some offence. This is from the Irish coiméad, keeping; air mo choiméad, 'on my keeping.'
Keeroge; a beetle or clock. Irish ciar [keer], dark, black, with the diminutive óg: keeroge, 'black little fellow.'
Kelters, money, coins: 'He has the kelthers,' said of a rich man. Yellow kelters, gold money: 'She has the kelthers': means she has a large fortune. (Moran: Carlow.)
Kemp or camp; to compete: two or more persons kemp against each other in any work to determine which will finish first. (Ulster.) See Carleton's story, 'The Rival Kempers.'
Keolaun; a contemptible little creature, boy or man. (South and West.)
Keowt; a low contemptible fellow.
Kepper; a slice of bread with butter, as distinguished from a dundon, which see.
Kesh; a rough bridge over a river or morass, made with poles, wickerwork, &c.—overlaid with bushes and scraws (green sods). Understood all through Ireland. A small one over a drain in a bog is often called in Tipperary and Waterford a kishoge, which is merely the diminutive.
Kib; to put down or plant potatoes, each seed in a separate hole made with a spade. Irish ciob, same sound and meaning.
Kickham, Charles, author of 'Knocknagow,' 5, &c.
Kiddhoge, a wrap of any kind that a woman throws hastily over her shoulders. (Ulster.) Irish cuideóg, same sound and sense here.
Kilfinane, Co. Limerick, 147.
Killeen; a quantity:—'That girl has a good killeen of money. (Ulster.) Irish cillín [killeen].
Killeen; an old churchyard disused except for the occasional burial of unbaptised infants. Irish cill, a church, with the diminutive ín.
Kimmeen; a sly deceitful trick; kimmeens or kymeens, small crooked ways:—'Sure you're not equal to the kimmeens of such complete deceivers at all at all.' (Sam Lover in Ir. Pen. Mag.) Irish com, crooked; diminutive cuimín [kimmeen].
Kimmel-a-vauleen; uproarious fun. Irish cimel-a'-mháilín, literally 'rub-the-bag.' There is a fine Irish jig with this name. (South.)
Kink; a knot or short twist in a cord.
Kink; a fit of coughing or laughing: 'they were in kinks of laughing.' Hence chincough, for whooping-cough, i.e. kink-cough. I know a holy well that has the reputation of curing whooping-cough, and hence called the 'Kink-well.'
Kinleen or keenleen, or kine-leen; a single straw or corn stem. (South.) Irish caoinlín, same sound.
Kinleen-roe; an icicle: the same word as last with the addition of reo [roe], frost: 'frost-stem.'
Kinnatt´, [1st syll. very short; accent on 2nd syll.: to rhyme with cat]; an impertinent conceited impudent little puppy.
Kippen or kippeen; any little bit of stick: often used as a sort of pet name for a formidable cudgel or shillelah for fighting. Irish cip [kip], a stake or stock, with the diminutive.
Kish; a large square basket made of wattles and wickerwork used for measuring turf or for holding turf on a cart. Sometimes (South) called a kishaun. Irish cis or ciseán, same sounds and meanings: also called kishagh.
Kishtha; a treasure: very common in Connaught, where it is often understood to be hidden treasure in a fort under the care of a leprachaun. Irish ciste, same sound and meaning.
Kitchen; any condiment or relish eaten with the plain food of a meal, such as butter, dripping, &c. A very common saying in Tyrone against any tiresome repetition is:—'Butter to butter is no kitchen.' As a verb; to use sparingly, to economise:—'Now kitchen that bit of bacon for you have no more.'
Kitthoge or kitthagh; a left-handed person. Understood through all Ireland. Irish ciotóg, ciotach, same sounds and meaning.
Kitterdy; a simpleton, a fool. (Ulster.)
Knauvshauling [the k sounded distinctly]; grumbling, scolding, muttering complaints. (Limerick.) From Irish cnamh [knauv: k sounded], a bone, the jawbone. The underlying idea is the same as when we speak of a person giving jaw. See Jaw.
'Knocknagow ': see Kickham.
Kybosh; some sort of difficulty or 'fix':—'He put the kybosh on him: he defeated him.' (Moran: Carlow.)
Kyraun, keeraun; a small bit broken off from a sod of turf. Irish caor, or with the diminutive, caorán, same sound and meaning.
 
Laaban; a rotten sterile egg (Morris: for South Monaghan): same as Glugger, which see. Irish láb or láib, mire, dirt, with diminutive.
Lad; a mischievous tricky fellow:—'There's no standing them lads.' (Gerald Griffin.)
Lagheryman or Logheryman. (Ulster.) Same as Leprachaun, which see.
Lambaisting; a sound beating. Quite common in Munster.
Langel; to tie the fore and the hind leg of a cow or goat with a spancel or fetter to prevent it going over fences. (Ulster.) Irish langal, same sound and meaning.
Lapcock; an armful or roll of grass laid down on the sward to dry for hay. (Ulster.)
Lark-heeled; applied to a person having long sharp heels. See Saulavotcheer.
Larrup; to wallop, to beat soundly. (Donegal and South.)
Lashings, plenty: lashings and leavings, plenty and to spare: specially applied to food at meals. (General.)
Lassog, a blaze of light. (Morris: South Monaghan.) From Irish las, light, with the diminutive.
Lauchy; applied to a person in the sense of pleasant, good-natured, lovable. Irish láchaiidhe, same sound and sense. (Banim: general in the South.) 'He's a lauchy boy.'
Laudy-daw; a pretentious fellow that sets up to be a great swell. (Moran: Carlow; and South.)
Launa-vaula; full and plenty:—There was launa-vaula at the dinner. Irish lán-a-mhála (same sound), 'full bags.'
Lazy man's load. A lazy man takes too many things in one load to save the trouble of going twice, and thereby often lets them fall and breaks them.
Learn is used for teach all over Ireland, but more in Ulster than elsewhere. Don't forget to 'larn the little girl her catechiz.' (Seumas Mac Manus.) An old English usage: but dead and gone in England now.
Leather; to beat:—'I gave him a good leathering,' i.e., a beating, a thrashing. This is not derived, as might be supposed, from the English word leather (tanned skin), but from Irish, in which it is of very old standing:—Letrad (modern leadradh), cutting, hacking, lacerating: also a champion fighter, a warrior, a leatherer. (Corm. Gloss.—9th cent.) Used all through Ireland.
Leather-wing; a bat. (South.)
Lee, the Very Rev. Patrick, V. F., of Kilfinane, 148.
Lebbidha; an awkward, blundering, half-fool of a fellow. (South.) Irish leibide, same sound and meaning.
Leg bail; a person gives (or takes) leg bail when he runs away, absconds. (General.)
Lend; loan. Ned came 'for the lend of the ould mare.' ('Knocknagow.') Often used in the following way:—'Come and lend a hand,' i.e., give some help. 'Our shooting party comes off to-morrow: will you lend your gun': an invitation to join the party. (Kinahan.)
Leprachaun; a sort of fairy, called by several names in different parts of Ireland:—luricaun, cluricaun, lurragadaun, loghryman, luprachaun. This last is the nearest to the Gaelic original, all the preceding anglicised forms being derived from it. Luprachaun itself is derived by a metathesis from Irish luchorpán, from lu, little, and corpán, the dim. of corp, a body:—'weeny little body.' The reader will understand all about this merry little chap from the following short note and song written by me and extracted from my 'Ancient Irish Music' (in which the air also will be found). The leprachaun is a very tricky little fellow, usually dressed in a green coat, red cap, and knee-breeches, and silver shoe-buckles, whom you may sometimes see in the shades of evening, or by moonlight, under a bush; and he is generally making or mending a shoe: moreover, like almost all fairies, he would give the world for pottheen. If you catch him and hold him, he will, after a little threatening, show you where treasure is hid, or give you a purse in which you will always find money. But if you once take your eyes off him, he is gone in an instant; and he is very ingenious in devising tricks to induce you to look round. It is very hard to catch a leprachaun, and still harder to hold him. I never heard of any man who succeeded in getting treasure from him, except one, a lucky young fellow named MacCarthy, who, according to the peasantry, built the castle of Carrigadrohid near Macroom in Cork with the money. Every Irishman understands well the terms cruiskeen and mountain dew, some indeed a little too well; but for the benefit of the rest of the world, I think it better to state that a cruískeen is a small jar, and that mountain dew is pottheen or illicit whiskey.
In a shady nook one moonlight night,
A leprachaun I spied;
With scarlet cap and coat of green;
A cruiskeen by his side.
'Twas tick tack tick, his hammer went,
Upon a weeny shoe;
And I laughed to think of a purse of gold;
But the fairy was laughing too.
With tip-toe step and beating heart,
Quite softly I drew nigh:
There was mischief in his merry face;—
A twinkle in his eye.
He hammered and sang with tiny voice,
And drank his mountain dew:
And I laughed to think he was caught at last:—
But the fairy was laughing too.
As quick as thought I seized the elf;
'Your fairy purse!' I cried;
'The purse!' he said—tis in her hand—
'That lady at your side!'
I turned to look: the elf was off!
Then what was I to do?
O, I laughed to think what a fool I'd been;
And the fairy was laughing too.
Let out; a spree, an entertainment. (General.) 'Mrs. Williams gave a great let out.'
Libber; this has much the same meaning as flipper, which see: an untidy person careless about his dress and appearance—an easy-going ould sthreel of a man. I have heard an old fellow say, regarding those that went before him—father, grandfather, &c.—that they were 'ould aancient libbers,' which is the Irish peasant's way of expressing Gray's 'rude forefathers of the hamlet.'
Lief; willing: 'I had as lief be working as not.' 'I had liefer': I had rather. (General.) This is an old English word, now fallen out of use in England, but common here.
Lifter; a beast that is so weak from starvation (chiefly in March when grass is withered up) that it can hardly stand and has to be lifted home from the hill-pasture to the stable. (Kinahan: Connemara.)
Light; a little touched in the head, a little crazed:—'Begor sir if you say I know nothing about sticks your head must be getting light in earnest.' (Robert Dwyer Joyce.)
Likely; well-looking: 'a likely girl'; 'a clane likely boy.'
Likes; 'the likes of you': persons or a person like you or in your condition. Very common in Ireland. 'I'll not have any dealings with the likes of him.' Colonel Lake, Inspector General of Constabulary in last century, one afternoon met one of his recruits on the North Circular Road, Dublin, showing signs of liquor, and stopped him. 'Well, my good fellow, what is your name please?' The recruit replied:—'Who are you, and what right have you to ask my name?' 'I am Colonel Lake, your inspector general.' The recruit eyed him closely:—'Oh begor your honour, if that's the case it's not right for the likes of me to be talking to the likes of you': on which he turned round and took leg bail on the spot like a deer, leaving the inspector general standing on the pathway. The Colonel often afterwards told that story with great relish.
Linnaun-shee or more correct Lannaun-shee; a familiar spirit or fairy that attaches itself to a mortal and follows him. From Irish leannán, a lover, and sídh [shee], a fairy: lannaun-shee, 'fairy-lover.'
Linnie; a long shed—a sort of barn—attached to a a farm house for holding farm-yard goods and articles of various kinds—carts, spades, turnips, corn, &c. (Munster.) Irish lann-iotha, lit. 'corn-house.'
Lint; in Ulster, a name for flax.
Linthern or lenthern; a small drain or sewer covered with flags for the passage of water, often under a road from side to side. (Munster.) Irish lintreán, linntreach [lintran, lintragh].
Liscauns; gleanings of corn from the field after reaping: 'There's Mary gathering liscauns.' (South.) Irish.
Loanen; a lane, a bohereen. (Ulster.)
Lob; a quantity, especially of money or of any valuable commodity:—Tis reported that Jack got a great lob of money with his wife.' A person is trying to make himself out very useful or of much consequence, and another says satirically—generally in play:—'Oh what a lob you are!'
Lock; a quantity or batch of anything—generally small:—a lock of straw; a lock of sheep. (General.)
Logey; heavy or fat as applied to a person. (Moran: Carlow.) Also the fireplace in a flax-kiln.
Lone; unmarried:—'A lone man'; 'a lone woman.'
Long family; a common expression for a large family.
Lood, loodh, lude; ashamed: 'he was lude of himself when he was found out.' (South.)
Loody; a loose heavy frieze coat. (Munster.)
Loof; the open hand, the palm of the hand. (Ulster.) Irish lámh [lauv], the hand.
Loo-oge or lu-oge; the eel-fry a couple of inches long that come up the southern Blackwater periodically in myriads, and are caught and sold as food. (Waterford: Healy.) Irish luadhóg, same sound and meaning.
Loose leg; when a person is free from any engagement or impediment that bound him down—'he has a loose leg'—free to act as he likes. 'I have retired from the service with a pension, so that now I have a loose leg.' The same is often said of a prisoner discharged from jail.
Lord; applied as a nickname to a hunchback. The hunchback Danny Mann in 'The Collegians' is often called 'Danny the lord.'
Losset; a kneading tray for making cakes.
Lossagh; a sudden blaze from a turf fire. Irish las [loss], a blaze, with the usual termination ach.
Lossoge; a handful or little bundle of sticks for firing. (Mayo.) Irish las [loss], fire, a blaze, with the diminutive termination.
Low-backed car; a sort of car common in the southern half of Ireland down to the middle of the last century, used to bring the country people and their farm produce to markets. Resting on the shafts was a long flat platform placed lengthwise and sloping slightly downwards towards the back, on which were passengers and goods. Called trottle-car in Derry.
Loy; a spade. Used in the middle of Ireland all across from shore to shore. Irish láighe, same sound and meaning.
Luck-penny; a coin given by the seller to the buyer after a bargain has been concluded: given to make sure that the buyer will have luck with the animal or article he buys.
Ludeen or loodeen [d sounded like th in then]; the little finger. Irish lúidín, same sound and meaning. From lu, little, with the diminutive termination.
Lu-oge: see Loo-oge.
Luscan; a spot on the hillside from which the furze and heath have been burned off. (Wicklow and round about.) From Irish losc to burn: luscan, 'burned little spot.'
Lusmore; fairy-thimble, fairy-finger, foxglove, Digitalis purpurea; an herb of mighty power in fairy lore. Irish lus, herb; mór, great; 'mighty herb.'
Lybe; a lazy fellow. (MacCall: Wex.) See Libber.
Lyre; the full of the two hands used together: a beggar usually got a lyre of potatoes. (Munster: same as gopen in Ulster.) Irish ladhar, same sound and meaning.
 
MacManus, Seumas, 5, &c.
Mad; angry. There are certain Irish words, such as buileamhail, which might denote either mad or very angry: hence in English you very often hear:—'Oh the master is very mad with you,' i.e. angry. 'Excessively angry' is often expressed this way in dialect language:—'The master is blazing mad about that accident to the mare.' But even this expression is classical Irish; for we read in the Irish Bible that Moses went away from Pharaoh, air lasadh le feírg, 'blazing with anger.' 'Like mad' is often used to denote very quickly or energetically: Crofton Croker speaks of people who were 'dancing like mad.' This expression is constantly heard in Munster.
Maddha-brishtha; an improvised tongs, such as would be used with a fire in the fields, made from a strong twig bent sharp. (Derry.) Irish maide [maddha], a stick; briste, broken:—'broken stick.'
Maddhiaghs or muddiaghs; same as last, meaning simply 'sticks': the two ends giving the idea of plurality. (Armagh.)
Maddhoge or middhoge; a dagger. (North and South.) Irish meadóg or miodóg.
Made; fortunate:—'I'm a made man' (or 'a med man'), meaning 'my fortune is made.' (Crofton Croker—but used very generally.)
Mag; a swoon:—'Light of grace,' she exclaimed, dropping in a mag on the floor. (Edward Walsh: used all over Munster.)
Maisled; speckled; a lazy young fellow's shins get maisled from sitting before the fire. (Knowles: Ulster.)
Make; used in the South in the following way:—'This will make a fine day': 'That cloth will make a fine coat': 'If that fellow was shaved he'd make a handsome young man' (Irish folk-song): 'That Joe of yours is a clever fellow: no doubt he'll make a splendid doctor.' The noun makings is applied similarly:—'That young fellow is the makings of a great scholar.'
Man above. In Irish God is often designated an Fear suas or an t-É suas ('the Man above,' 'the Person above'): thus in Hardiman's 'Irish Minstrelsy' (I. 228):—Comarc an t-É tá shuas ort: 'the protection of the Person who is above be on thee': an Fear suas occurs in the Ossianic Poems. Hence they use this term all through the South:—'As cunning as he is he can't hide his knavery from the Man above.'
Man in the gap, 182.
Mankeeper; used North and South as the English name of the little lizard called in Irish 'Art-loochra,' which see.
Mannam; my soul: Irish m'anam, same sound and meaning:—'Mannam on ye,' used as an affectionate exclamation to a child. (Scott: Derry.)
Many; 'too many' is often used in the following way, when two persons were in rivalry of any kind, whether of wit, of learning, or of strength:—'James was too many for Dick,' meaning he was an overmatch for him.
Maol, Mail, Maileen, Moileen, Moilie (these two last forms common in Ulster; the others elsewhere); a hornless cow. Irish Maol [mwail], same meaning. Quite a familiar word all through Ireland.
One night Jacky was sent out, much against his will, for an armful of turf, as the fire was getting low; and in a moment afterwards, the startled family heard frantic yells. Just as they jumped up Jacky rushed in still yelling with his whole throat.
'What's the matter—what's wrong!'
'Oh I saw the divel!'
'No you didn't, you fool, 'twas something else you saw.'
'No it wasn't, 'twas the divel I saw—didn't I know him well!'
'How did you know him—did you see his horns?'
'I didn't: he had no horns—he was a mwail divel—sure that's how I knew him!'
They ran out of course; but the mwail divel was gone, leaving behind him, standing up against the turf-rick, the black little Maol Kerry cow.
Margamore; the 'Great Market' held in Derry immediately before Christmas or Easter. (Derry.) Irish margadh [marga], a market, mór [more], great.
Martheen; a stocking with the foot cut off. (Derry.) Irish mairtín, same sound and meaning. Martheens are what they call in Munster triheens, which see.
Mass, celebration of, 144.
Mau-galore; nearly drunk: Irish maith [mau], good: go leór, plenty: 'purty well I thank you,' as the people often say: meaning almost the same as Burns's 'I was na fou but just had plenty.' (Common in Munster.)
Mauleen; a little bag: usually applied in the South to the little sack slung over the shoulder of a potato-planter, filled with the potato-sets (or skillauns), from which the setter takes them one by one to plant them. In Ulster and Scotland, the word is mailin, which is sometimes applied to a purse:—'A mailin plenished (filled) fairly.' (Burns.)
Maum; the full of the two hands used together (Kerry); the same as Lyre and Gopan, which see. Irish Mám, same sound and meaning.
Mavourneen; my love. (Used all through Ireland.) Irish Mo-mhúirnín, same sound and meaning. See Avourneen.
May-day customs, 170.
Méaracaun [mairacaun]; a thimble. Merely the Irish méaracán, same sound and meaning: from méar, a finger, with the diminutive termination cán. Applied in the South to the fairy-thimble or foxglove, with usually a qualifying word:—Mearacaun-shee (shee, a fairy—fairy thimble) or Mearacaun-na-man-shee (where na-man-shee is the Irish na-mban-sidhe, of the banshees or fairy-women). 'Lusmore,' another name, which see.
Mearing; a well-marked boundary—but not necessarily a raised ditch—a fence between two farms, or two fields, or two bogs. Old English.
Mease: a measure for small fish, especially herrings:—'The fisherman brought in ten mease of herrings.' Used all round the Irish coast. It is the Irish word mías [meece], a dish.
Mee-aw; a general name for the potato blight. Irish mí-adh [mee-aw], ill luck: from Irish , bad, and ádh, luck. But mee-aw is also used to designate 'misfortune' in general.
Meela-murder; 'a thousand murders': a general exclamation of surprise, alarm, or regret. The first part is Irish—míle [meela], a thousand; the second is of course English.
Meelcar´ [car long like the English word car]; also called meelcartan; a red itchy sore on the sole of the foot just at the edge. It is believed by the people to be caused by a red little flesh-worm, and hence the name míol [meel], a worm, and cearr [car], an old Irish word for red:—Meel-car, 'red-worm.' (North and South.)
Meeraw; ill luck. (Munster.) From Irish , ill, and ráth [raw], luck:—'There was some meeraw on the family.
Melder of corn; the quantity sent to the mill and ground at one time. (Ulster.)
Memory of History and of Old Customs, 143.
Merrow; a mermaid. Irish murrughagh [murrooa], from muir, the sea. She dives and travels under sea by means of a hood and cape called cohuleen-dru: cochall, a hood and cape (with diminutive termination); druádh, druidical: 'magical cape.'
Midjilinn or middhilin; the thong of a flail. (Morris: South Monaghan.)
Mihul or mehul [i and e short]; a number of men engaged in any farm-work, especially corn-reaping, still used in the South and West. It is the very old Irish word meithel, same sound and meaning.
Mills. The old English game of 'nine men's morris' or 'nine men's merrils' or mills was practised in my native place when I was a boy. We played it on a diagram of three squares one within another, connected by certain straight lines, each player having nine counters. It is mentioned by Shakespeare ('Midsummer-Night's Dream'). I learned to be a good player, and could play it still if I could meet an antagonist. How it reached Limerick I do not know. A few years ago I saw two persons playing mills in a hotel in Llandudno; and my heart went out to them.
Mind; often used in this way:—'Will you write that letter to-day?' 'No: I won't mind it to-day: I'll write it to-morrow.'
Minnikin; a very small pin.
Minister; always applied in Ireland to a Protestant clergyman.
Miscaun, mescaun, mescan, miscan; a roll or lump of butter. Irish mioscán [miscaun]. Used all over Ireland.
Mitch; to play truant from school.
Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, 155.
Moanthaun; boggy land. Moantheen; a little bog. (Munster.) Both dims. of Irish móin, a bog.
Molly; a man who busies himself about women's affairs or does work that properly belongs to women. (Leinster.) Same as sheela in the South.
Moneen; a little moan or bog; a green spot in a bog where games are played. Also a sort of jig dance-tune: so called because often danced on a green moneen. (Munster.)
Month's Mind; Mass and a general memorial service for the repose of the soul of a person, celebrated a month after death. The term was in common use in England until the change of religion at the Reformation; and now it is not known even to English Roman Catholics. (Woollett.) It is in constant use in Ireland, and I think among Irish Catholics everywhere. But the practice is kept up by Catholics all over the world. Mind, 'Memory.'
Mootch: to move about slowly and meaninglessly: without intelligence. A mootch is a slow stupid person. (South.)
Moretimes; often used as corresponding to sometimes: 'Sometimes she employs herself at sewing, and moretimes at knitting.'
Mor-yah; a derisive expression of dissent to drive home the untruthfulness of some assertion or supposition or pretence, something like the English 'forsooth,' but infinitely stronger:—A notorious schemer and cheat puts on airs of piety in the chapel and thumps his breast in great style; and a spectator says:—Oh how pious and holy Joe is growing—mar-yah! 'Mick is a great patriot, mor-yah!—he'd sell his country for half a crown.' Irish mar-sheadh [same sound], 'as it were.'
Mossa; a sort of assertive particle used at the opening of a sentence, like the English well, indeed: carrying little or no meaning. 'Do you like your new house?'—'Mossa I don't like it much.' Another form of wisha, and both anglicised from the Irish má'seadh, used in Irish in much the same sense.
Mountain dew; a fanciful and sort of pet name for pottheen whiskey: usually made in the mountains.
Mounthagh, mounthaun; a toothless person. (Munster.) From the Irish mant [mounth], the gum, with the terminations. Both words are equivalent to gummy, a person whose mouth is all gums.
Moutre. In very old times a mill-owner commonly received as payment for grinding corn one-tenth of the corn ground—in accordance with the Brehon Law. This custom continued to recent times—and probably continues still—in Ulster, where the quantity given to the miller is called moutre, or muter, or mooter.
Mulharten; a flesh-worm: a form of meelcartan. See Meelcar.
Mullaberta; arbitration. (Munster.) Merely the Irish moladh-beirte, same sound and meaning: in which moladh [mulla] is 'appraisement'; and beirtĕ, gen. of beart, 'two persons':—lit. 'appraisement of two.' The word mullaberta has however in recent times drifted to mean a loose unbusinesslike settlement. (Healy.)
Mummers, 171.
Murray, Mr. Patrick, schoolmaster of Kilfinane, 153, 154, and under 'Roasters,' below.
Murrogh O'Brien, Earl of Inchiquin, 165.
Musicianer for musician is much in use all over Ireland. Of English origin, and used by several old English writers, among others by Collier.
 
Nab; a knowing old-fashioned little fellow. (Derry.)
Naboc´lesh; never mind. (North and South.) Irish ná-bac-leis (same sound), 'do not stop to mind it,' or 'pass it over.'
Nail, paying on the nail, 183.
Naygur; a form of niggard: a wretched miser:—
'I certainly thought my poor heart it would bleed
To be trudging behind that old naygur.'
(Old Munster song; 'The Spalpeen's Complaint':
from 'Old Irish Folk Music and Songs.')
'In all my ranging and serenading,
I met no naygur but humpy Hyde.'
(See 'Castlehyde' in my 'Old Irish Music and Songs.')
Nicely: often used in Ireland as shown here:— 'Well, how is your [sick] mother to-day?' 'Oh she's nicely,' or 'doing nicely, thank you'; i.e. getting on very well—satisfactorily. A still stronger word is bravely. 'She's doing bravely this morning'; i.e. extremely well—better than was expected.
Nim or nym; a small bit of anything. (Ulster.)
Noggin; a small vessel, now understood to hold two glasses; also called naggin. Irish noigín.
Nose; to pay through the nose; to pay and be made to pay, against your grain, the full sum without delay or mitigation.
 
Oanshagh; a female fool, corresponding with omadaun, a male fool. Irish óinseach, same sound and meaning: from ón, a fool, and seach, the feminine termination.
Offer; an attempt:—'I made an offer to leap the fence but failed.'
Old English, influence of, on our dialect, 6.
Oliver's summons, 184.
On or upon; in addition to its functions as explained at pp. 27, 28, it is used to express obligation:— 'Now I put it upon you to give Bill that message for me': one person meeting another on Christmas Day says:—'My Christmas box on you,' i.e. 'I put it as an obligation on you to give me a Christmas box.'
Once; often used in this manner:—'Once he promises he'll do it' (Hayden and Hartog): 'Once you pay the money you are free,' i.e. if or when you pay.
O'Neills and their war-cry, 179.
Oshin [sounded nearly the same as the English word ocean]; a weakly creature who cannot do his fair share of work. (Innishowen, Donegal.)
Out; used, in speaking of time, in the sense of down or subsequently:—'His wife led him a mighty uneasy life from the day they married out.' (Gerald Griffin: Munster.) 'You'll pay rent for your house for the first seven years, and you will have it free from that out.'
Out; to call a person out of his name is to call him by a wrong name.
Out; 'be off out of that' means simply go away.
Out; 'I am out with him' means I am not on terms with him—I have fallen out with him.
Overright; opposite, in front of: the same meaning as forenenst; but forenenst is English, while overright is a wrong translation from an Irish word—ós-cómhair. Os means over, and comhair opposite: but this last word was taken by speakers to be cóir (for both are sounded alike), and as cóir means right or just, so they translated os-comhair as if it were ós-cóir, 'over-right.' (Russell: Munster.)
 
Paddhereen; a prayer: dim. of Latin Pater (Pater Noster). Paddereen Paurtagh, the Rosary: from Irish páirteach, sharing or partaking: because usually several join in it.
Páideóge [paudh-yoge]; a torch made of a wick dipped in melted rosin (Munster): what they call a slut in Ulster.
Paghil or pahil; a lump or bundle, 108. (Ulster.)
Palatines, 65.
Palleen; a rag: a torn coat is 'all in paleens.' (Derry.)
Palm; the yew-tree, 184.
Pampooty; a shoe made of untanned hide. (West.)
Pandy; potatoes mashed up with milk and butter. (Munster.)
Pannikin; now applied to a small tin drinking-vessel: an old English word that has fallen out of use in England, but is still current in Ireland: applied down to last century to a small earthenware pot used for boiling food. These little vessels were made at Youghal and Ardmore (Co. Waterford). The earthenware pannikins have disappeared, their place being supplied by tinware. (Kinahan.)
Parisheen; a foundling; one brought up in childhood by the parish. (Kildare.)
Parson; was formerly applied to a Catholic parish priest: but in Ireland it now always means a Protestant minister.
Parthan; a crab-fish. (Donegal.) Merely the Irish partan, same sound and meaning.
Parts; districts, territories:—'Prince and plinnypinnytinshary of these parts' (King O'Toole and St. Kevin): 'Welcome to these parts.' (Crofton Croker.)
Past; 'I wouldn't put it past him,' i.e. I think him bad or foolish enough (to do it).
Past; more than: 'Our landlord's face we rarely see past once in seven years'—Irish Folk Song.
Pattern (i.e. patron); a gathering at a holy well or other relic of a saint on his or her festival day, to pray and perform rounds and other devotional acts in honour of the patron saint. (General.)
Pattha; a pet, applied to a young person who is brought up over tenderly and indulged too much:—'What a pattha you are!' This is an extension of meaning; for the Irish peata [pattha] means merely a pet, nothing more.
Pelt; the skin:—'He is in his pelt,' i.e. naked.
Penal Laws, 144, and elsewhere through the book.
Personable; comely, well-looking, handsome:—'Diarmid Bawn the piper, as personable a looking man as any in the five parishes.' (Crofton Croker: Munster.)
Pickey; a round flat little stone used by children in playing transe or Scotch-hop. (Limerick.)
Piggin; a wooden drinking-vessel. It is now called pigín in Irish; but it is of English origin.
Pike; a pitchfork; commonly applied to one with two prongs. (Munster.)
Pike or croppy-pike; the favourite weapon of the rebels of 1798: it was fixed on a very long handle, and had combined in one head a long sharp spear, a small axe, and a hook for catching the enemy's horse-reins.
Pillibeen or pillibeen-meeg; a plover. (Munster.) 'I'm king of Munster when I'm in the bog, and the pillibeens whistling about me.' ('Knocknagow.') Irish pilibín-míog, same sound and meaning.
Pindy flour; flour that has begun to ferment slightly on account of being kept in a warm moist place. Cakes made from it were uneatable as they were soft and clammy and slightly sour. (Limerick.)
Pinkeen; a little fish, a stickleback: plentiful in small streams. Irish pincín, same sound and meaning. See Scaghler.
Piper's invitation; 'He came on the piper's invitation,' i.e. uninvited. (Cork.) A translation of Irish cuireadh-píobaire [curra-peebara]. Pipers sometimes visited the houses of well-to-do people and played—to the great delight of the boys and girls—and they were sure to be well treated. But that custom is long since dead and gone.
Pishminnaan´ [the aa long as a in car]; common wild peas. (Munster.) They are much smaller—both plant and peas—than the cultivated pea, whence the above anglicised name, which has the same sound as the Irish pise-mionnáin, 'kid's peas.'
Pishmool; a pismire, an ant. (Ulster.)
Pishoge, pisheroge, pishthroge; a charm, a spell, witchcraft:—'It is reported that someone took Mrs. O'Brien's butter from her by pishoges.'
Place; very generally used for house, home, homestead:—'If ever you come to Tipperary I shall be very glad to see you at my place.' This is a usage of the Irish language; for the word baile [bally], which is now used for home, means also, and in an old sense, a place, a spot, without any reference to home.
Plaikeen; an old shawl, an old cloak, any old covering or wrap worn round the shoulders. (South.)
Plantation; a colony from England or Scotland settled down or planted in former times in a district in Ireland from which the rightful old Irish owners were expelled, 7, 169, 170.
Plaumause [to rhyme with sauce]; soft talk, plausible speech, flattery—conveying the idea of insincerity. (South.) Irish plámás, same sound and meaning.
Plauzy; full of soft, flattering, plausible talk. Hence the noun pláusoge [plauss-oge], a person who is plauzy. (South.)
Plerauca; great fun and noisy revelry. Irish pléaráca, same sound and meaning.
Pluddogh; dirty water. (MacCall: Wexford.) From Irish plod [pludh], a pool of dirty water, with the termination ach.
Pluvaun; a kind of soft weed that grows excessively on tilled moory lands and chokes the crop. (Moran: Carlow.)
Poll-talk; backbiting: from the poll of the head: the idea being the same as in backbiting.
Polthogue; a blow; a blow with the fist. Irish palltóg, same sound and meaning.
Pooka; a sort of fairy: a mischievous and often malignant goblin that generally appears in the form of a horse, but sometimes as a bull, a buck-goat, &c. The great ambition of the pooka horse is to get some unfortunate wight on his back; and then he gallops furiously through bogs, marshes, and woods, over rocks, glens, and precipices; till at last when the poor wretch on his back is nearly dead with terror and fatigue, the pooka pitches him into some quagmire or pool or briar-brake, leaving him to extricate himself as best he can. But the goblin does not do worse: he does not kill people. Irish púca. Shakespeare has immortalised him as Puck, the goblin of 'A Midsummer-Night's Dream.'
Pookapyle, also called Pookaun; a sort of large fungus, the toadstool. Called also causha pooka. All these names imply that the Pooka has something to do with this poisonous fungus. See Causha-pooka (pooka's cheese).
Pookeen; a play—blindman's buff: from Irish púic, a veil or covering, from the covering put over the eyes. Pookeen is also applied in Cork to a cloth muzzle tied on calves or lambs to prevent sucking the mother. The face-covering for blindman's buff is called pookoge, in which the dim. óg is used instead of ín or een. The old-fashioned coal-scuttle bonnets of long ago that nearly covered the face were often called pookeen bonnets. It was of a bonnet of this kind that the young man in Lover's song of 'Molly Carew' speaks:—
Oh, lave off that bonnet or else I'll lave on it
The loss of my wandering sowl:—
because it hid Molly's face from him.
Poor mouth; making the poor mouth is trying to persuade people you are very poor—making out or pretending that you are poor.
Poor scholars, 151, 157.
Poreens; very small potatoes—mere crachauns (which see)—any small things, such as marbles, &c. (South: porrans in Ulster.)
Porter-meal: oatmeal mixed with porter. Seventy or eighty years ago, the carters who carried bags of oatmeal from Limerick to Cork (a two-day journey) usually rested for the night at Mick Lynch's public-house in Glenosheen. They often took lunch or dinner of porter-meal in this way:—Opening the end of one of the bags, the man made a hollow in the oatmeal into which he poured a quart of porter, stirring it up with a spoon: then he ate an immense bellyful of the mixture. But those fellows could digest like an ostrich.
In Ulster, oatmeal mixed in this manner with buttermilk, hot broth, &c., and eaten with a spoon, is called croudy.
Potthalowng; an awkward unfortunate mishap, not very serious, but coming just at the wrong time. When I was a boy 'Jack Mullowney's potthalowng' had passed into a proverb. Jack one time went courting, that is, to spend a pleasant evening with the young lady at the house of his prospective father-in-law, and to make up the match with the old couple. He wore his best of course, body-coat, white waistcoat, caroline hat (tall silk), and ducks (ducks, snow-white canvas trousers.) All sat down to a grand dinner given in his honour, the young couple side by side. Jack's plate was heaped up with beautiful bacon and turkey, and white cabbage swimming in fat, that would make you lick your lips to look at it. Poor Jack was a bit sheepish; for there was a good deal of banter, as there always is on such occasions. He drew over his plate to the very edge of the table; and in trying to manage a turkey bone with knife and fork, he turned the plate right over into his lap, down on the ducks.
The marriage came off all the same; but the story went round the country like wildfire; and for many a long day Jack had to stand the jokes of his friends on the potthalowng. Used in Munster. The Irish is patalong, same sound and meaning; but I do not find it in the dictionaries.
Pottheen; illicit whiskey: always distilled in some remote lonely place, as far away as possible from the nose of a gauger. It is the Irish word poitín [pottheen], little pot. We have partly the same term still; for everyone knows the celebrity of pot-still whiskey: but this is Parliament whiskey, not pottheen, see p. 174.
Power; a large quantity, a great deal: Jack Hickey has a power of money: there was a power of cattle in the fair yesterday: there's a power of ivy on that old castle. Miss Grey, a small huckster who kept a little vegetable shop, was one day showing off her rings and bracelets to our servant. 'Oh Miss Grey,' says the girl, 'haven't you a terrible lot of them.' 'Well Ellen, you see I want them all, for I go into a power of society.' This is an old English usage as is shown by this extract from Spenser's 'View':—'Hee also [Robert Bruce] sent over his said brother Edward, with a power of Scottes and Red-Shankes into Ireland.' There is a corresponding Irish expression (neart airgid, a power of money), but I think this is translated from English rather than the reverse. The same idiom exists in Latin with the word vis (power): but examples will not be quoted, as they would take up a power of space.
Powter [t sounded like th in pith]; to root the ground like a pig; to root up potatoes from the ground with the hands. (Derry.)
Prashagh, more commonly called prashagh-wee; wild cabbage with yellow blossoms, the rape plant. Irish praiseach-bhuidhe [prashagh-wee], yellow cabbage. Praiseach is borrowed from Latin brassica.
Prashameen; a little group all clustered together:—'The children sat in a prashameen on the floor.' I have heard this word a hundred times in Limerick among English speakers: its Irish form should be praisimín, but I do not find it in the dictionaries.
Prashkeen; an apron. Common all over Ireland. Irish praiscín, same sound and meaning.
Prawkeen; raw oatmeal and milk (MacCall: South Leinster.) See Porter-meal.
Prepositions, incorrect use of, 26, 32, 44.
Presently; at present, now:—'I'm living in the country presently.' A Shakespearian survival:—Prospero:—'Go bring the rabble.' Ariel:—'Presently?' [i.e. shall I do so now?] Prospero:—'Ay, with a wink.' Extinct in England, but preserved and quite common in Ireland.
Priested; ordained: 'He was priested last year.'
Priest's share; the soul. A mother will say to a refractory child:—'I'll knock the priest's share out of you.' (Moran: Carlow.)
Professions hereditary, 172.
Pronunciation, 2, 91 to 104.
Protestant herring: Originally applied to a bad or a stale herring: but in my boyhood days it was applied, in our neighbourhood, to almost anything of an inferior quality:—'Oh that butter is a Protestant herring.' Here is how it originated:—Mary Hewer of our village had been for time out of mind the only huckster who sold salt herrings, sending to Cork for a barrel from time to time, and making good profit. At last Poll Alltimes sent for a barrel and set up an opposition shop, taking away a large part of Mary's custom. Mary was a Catholic and Poll a Protestant: and then our herrings became sharply distinguished as Catholic herrings and Protestant herrings: each party eating herrings of their own creed. But after some time a horrible story began to go round—whispered at first under people's breath—that Poll found the head of a black with long hair packed among the herrings half way down in her barrel. Whether the people believed it or not, the bare idea was enough; and Protestant herrings suddenly lost character, so that poor Poll's sale fell off at once, while Mary soon regained all her old customers. She well deserved it, if anyone ever deserved a reward for a master-stroke of genius. But I think this is all 'forgotten lore' in the neighbourhood now.
Proverbs, 105.
Puck; to play the puck with anything: a softened equivalent of playing the devil. Puck here means the Pooka, which see.
Puck; a blow:—'He gave him a puck of a stick on the head.' More commonly applied to a punch or blow of the horns of a cow or goat. 'The cow gave him a puck (or pucked him) with her horns and knocked him down.' The blow given by a hurler to the ball with his caman or hurley is always called a puck. Irish poc, same sound and meaning.
Puckaun; a he-goat. (South.) Irish poc, a he-goat, with the diminutive.
Puke; a poor puny unhealthy-looking person.
Pulling a cord (or the cord); said of a young man and a young woman who are courting:—'Miss Anne and himself that's pulling the cord.' ('Knocknagow.')
Pulloge; a quantity of hidden apples: usually hidden by a boy who steals them. (Limerick.) Diminutive of the Irish poll, a hole.
Pusheen; the universal word for a kitten in Munster: a diminutive of the English word puss; exactly equivalent to pussy.
Puss [u sounded as in full]; the mouth and lips, always used in dialect in an offensive or contemptuous sense:—'What an ugly puss that fellow has.' 'He had a puss on him,' i.e. he looked sour or displeased—with lips contracted. I heard one boy say to another:—'I'll give you a skelp (blow) on the puss.' (General.) Irish pus, the mouth, same sound.
Pusthaghaun; a puffed up conceited fellow. The corresponding word applied to a girl is pusthoge (MacCall: Wexford): the diminutive termination aun or chaun being masculine and óg feminine. Both are from pus the mouth, on account of the consequential way a conceited person squares up the lips.
 
Quaw or quagh; a quag or quagmire:—'I was unwilling to attempt the quagh.' (Maxwell: 'Wild Sports': Mayo, but used all over Ireland.) Irish caedh [quay], for which and for the names derived from it, see 'Irish Names of Places': II. 396.
Quality; gentlemen and gentlewomen as distinguished from the common people. Out of use in England, but general in Ireland:—'Make room for the quality.'
Queer, generally pronounced quare; used as an intensive in Ulster:—This day is quare and hot (very hot); he is quare and sick (very sick): like fine and fat elsewhere (see p. 89).
Quin or quing; the swing-tree, a piece of wood used to keep the chains apart in ploughing to prevent them rubbing the horses. (Cork and Kerry.) Irish cuing [quing], a yoke.
Quit: in Ulster 'quit that' means cease from that:—'quit your crying.' In Queen's County they say rise out of that.
 
Rabble; used in Ulster to denote a fair where workmen congregate on the hiring day to be hired by the surrounding farmers. See Spalpeen.
Rack. In Munster an ordinary comb is called a rack: the word comb being always applied and confined to a small close fine-toothed one.
Rackrent; an excessive rent of a farm, so high as to allow to the occupier a bare and poor subsistence. Not used outside Ireland except so far as it has been recently brought into prominence by the Irish land question.
Rag on every bush; a young man who is caught by and courts many girls but never proposes.
Raghery; a kind of small-sized horse; a name given to it from its original home, the island of Rathlin or Raghery off Antrim.
Rake; to cover up with ashes the live coals of a turf fire, which will keep them alive till morning:—'Don't forget to rake the fire.'
Randy; a scold. (Kinahan: general.)
Rap; a bad halfpenny: a bad coin:—'He hasn't a rap in his pocket.'
Raumaush or raumaish; romance or fiction, but now commonly applied to foolish senseless brainless talk. Irish rámás or rámáis, which is merely adapted from the word romance.
Raven's bit; a beast that is going to die. (Kinahan.)
Rawney; a delicate person looking in poor health; a poor sickly-looking animal. (Connaught.) Irish ránaidhe, same sound and meaning.
Reansha; brown bread: sometimes corrupted to range-bread. (MacCall: Wexford.)
Red or redd; clear, clear out, clear away:—Redd the road, the same as the Irish Fág-a-ballagh, 'clear the way.' If a girl's hair is in bad tangles, she uses a redding-comb first to open it, and then a finer comb.
Redden; to light: 'Take the bellows and redden the fire.' An Irishman hardly ever lights his pipe: he reddens it.
Redundancy, 52, 130.
Ree; as applied to a horse means restive, wild, almost unmanageable.
Reek; a rick:—A reek of turf: so the Kerry mountains, 'MacGillicuddy's Reeks.'
Reel-foot; a club-foot, a deformed foot. (Ulster.) 'Reel-footed and hunch-backed forbye, sir.' (Old Ulster song.)
Reenaw´lee; a slow-going fellow who dawdles and delays and hesitates about things. (Munster.) Irish ríanálaidhe, same sound and meaning: from rían, a way, track, or road: ríanalaidhe , a person who wanders listlessly along the way.
Reign. This word is often used in Munster, Leinster, and Connaught, in the sense of to occupy, to be master of: 'Who is in the Knockea farm?' 'Mr. Keating reigns there now.' 'Who is your landlord?' 'The old master is dead and his son Mr. William reigns over us now.' 'Long may your honour [the master] reign over us.' (Crofton Croker.) In answer to an examination question, a young fellow from Cork once answered me, 'Shakespeare reigned in the sixteenth century.' This usage is borrowed from Irish, in which the verb riaghail [ree-al] means both to rule (as a master), and to reign (as a king), and as in many other similar cases the two meanings were confounded in English. (Kinahan and myself.)
Relics of old decency. When a man goes down in the world he often preserves some memorials of his former rank—a ring, silver buckles in his shoes, &c.—'the relics of old decency.'
Revelagh; a long lazy gadding fellow. (Morris: Monaghan.)
Rib; a single hair from the head. A poet, praising a young lady, says that 'every golden rib of her hair is worth five guineas.' Irish ruibe [ribbe], same meaning.
Rickle; a little heap of turf peats standing on ends against each other. (Derry.) Irish ricil, same sound and meaning.
Riddles, 185.
Ride and tie. Two persons set out on a journey having one horse. One rides on while the other sets out on foot after him. The first man, at the end of a mile or two, ties up the horse at the roadside and proceeds on foot. When the second comes to the horse he mounts and rides till he is one or two miles ahead of his comrade and then ties. And so to the end of the journey. A common practice in old times for courier purposes; but not in use now, I think.
Rife, a scythe-sharpener, a narrow piece of board punctured all over and covered with grease on which fine sand is sprinkled. Used before the present emery sharpener was known. (Moran: Carlow.) Irish ríabh [reev], a long narrow stripe.
Right or wrong: often heard for earnestly: 'he pressed me right or wrong to go home with him.'
Ringle-eyed; when the iris is light-coloured, and the circle bounding it is very marked, the person is ringle-eyed. (Derry.)
Rings; often used as follows:—'Did I sleep at all?' 'Oh indeed you did—you slept rings round you.'
Rip; a coarse ill-conditioned woman with a bad tongue. (General.)
Roach lime; lime just taken from the kiln, burnt, before being slaked and while still in the form of stones. This is old English from French roche, a rock, a stone.
Roasters; potatoes kept crisping on the coals to be brought up to table hot at the end of the dinner—usually the largest ones picked out. But the word roaster was used only among the lower class of people: the higher classes considered it vulgar. Here is how Mr. Patrick Murray (see p. 154) describes them about 1840 in a parody on Moore's 'One bumper at parting' (a lumper, in Mr. Murray's version, means a big potato):—
'One lumper at parting, though many
Have rolled on the board since we met,
The biggest the hottest of any
Remains in the round for us yet.'
In the higher class of houses they were peeled and brought up at the end nice and brown in a dish. About eighty years ago a well-known military gentleman of Baltinglass in the County Wicklow—whose daughter told me the story—had on one occasion a large party of friends to dinner. On the very day of the dinner the waiter took ill, and the stable boy—a big coarse fellow—had to be called in, after elaborate instructions. All went well till near the end of the dinner, when the fellow thought things were going on rather slowly. Opening the diningroom door he thrust in his head and called out in the hearing of all:—'Masther, are ye ready for the roasthers?' A short time ago I was looking at the house and diningroom where that occurred.
Rocket; a little girl's frock. (Very common in Limerick.) It is of course an old application of the English-French rochet.
Rodden; a bohereen or narrow road. (Ulster.) It is the Irish róidín, little road.
Roman; used by the people in many parts of Ireland for Roman Catholic. I have already quoted what the Catholic girl said to her Protestant lover:—'Unless that you turn a Roman you ne'er shall get me for your bride.' Sixty or seventy years ago controversial discussions—between a Catholic on the one hand and a Protestant on the other—were very common. I witnessed many when I was a boy—to my great delight. Garrett Barry, a Roman Catholic, locally noted as a controversialist, was arguing with Mick Cantlon, surrounded by a group of delighted listeners. At last Garrett, as a final clincher, took up the Bible, opened it at a certain place, and handed it to his opponent, with:—'Read that heading out for us now if you please.' Mick took it up and read 'St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans.' 'Very well,' says Garrett: 'now can you show me in any part of that Bible, 'St. Paul's Epistle to the Protestants'? This of course was a down blow; and Garrett was greeted with a great hurrah by the Catholic part of his audience. This story is in 'Knocknagow,' but the thing occurred in my neighbourhood, and I heard about it long before 'Knocknagow' was written.
Rookaun; great noisy merriment. Also a drinking-bout. (Limerick.)
Room. In a peasant's house the room is a special apartment distinct from the kitchen or living-room, which is not a 'room' in this sense at all. I slept in the kitchen and John slept in the 'room.' (Healy and myself: Munster.)
Round coal; coal in lumps as distinguished from slack or coal broken up small and fine.
Ruction, ructions; fighting, squabbling, a fight, a row. It is a memory of the Insurrection of 1798, which was commonly called the 'Ruction.'
Rue-rub; when a person incautiously scratches an itchy spot so as to break the skin: that is rue-rub. (Derry.) From rue, regret or sorrow.
Rury; a rough hastily-made cake or bannock. (Morris: Monaghan.)
Rut; the smallest bonnive in a litter. (Kildare and Carlow.)
 
Saluting, salutations, 14.
Sapples; soap suds: sapple, to wash in suds. (Derry.)
Saulavotcheer; a person having lark-heels. (Limerick.) The first syll. is Irish; sál [saul], heel.
Sauvaun; a rest, a light doze or nap. (Munster.) Irish sámhán, same sound and meaning, from sámh [sauv], pleasant and tranquil.
Scagh; a whitethorn bush. (General.) Irish sceach, same sound and meaning.
Scaghler: a little fish—the pinkeen or thornback: Irish sceach [scagh], a thorn or thornbush, and the English termination ler.
Scald: to be scalded is to be annoyed, mortified, sorely troubled, vexed. (Very general.) Translated from one or the other of two Irish words, loisc [lusk], to burn; and scall, to scald. Finn Bane says:—'Guary being angry with me he scorched me (romloisc), burned me, scalded me, with abuse.' ('Colloquy.') 'I earned that money hard and 'tis a great heart-scald (scollach-croidhe) to me to lose it.' There is an Irish air called 'The Scalded poor man.' ('Old Irish Music and Songs.')
Scalder, an unfledged bird (South): scaldie and scaulthoge in the North. From the Irish scal (bald), from which comes the Irish scalachán, an unfledged bird.
Scallan; a wooden shed to shelter the priest during Mass, 143, 145.
Scalp, scolp, scalpeen; a rude cabin, usually roofed with scalps or grassy sods (whence the name). In the famine times—1847 and after—a scalp was often erected for any poor wanderer who got stricken down with typhus fever: and in that the people tended him cautiously till he recovered or died. (Munster.) Irish scaílp [scolp].
Scalteen: see Scolsheen.
Scollagh-cree; ill-treatment of any kind. (Moran: Carlow.) Irish scallach-croidhe, same sound and meaning: a 'heart scald'; from scalladh, scalding, and croidhe, heart.
Scollop; the bended rod pointed at both ends that a thatcher uses to fasten down the several straw-wisps. (General.) Irish scolb [scollub].
Scolsheen or scalteen; made by boiling a mixture of whiskey, water, sugar, butter and pepper (or caraway seeds) in a pot: a sovereign cure for a cold. In the old mail-car days there was an inn on the road from Killarney to Mallow, famous for scolsheen, where a big pot of it was always kept ready for travellers. (Kinahan and Kane.) Sometimes the word scalteen was applied to unmixed whiskey burned, and used for the same purpose. From the Irish scall, burn, singe, scald.
Sconce; to chaff, banter, make game of:—'None of your sconcing.' (Ulster.)
Sconce; to shirk work or duty. (Moran: Carlow.)
Scotch Dialect: influence of, on our Dialect, 6, 7.
Scotch lick; when a person goes to clean up anything—a saucepan, a floor, his face, a pair of shoes, &c.—and only half does it, he (or she) has given it a Scotch lick. General in South. In Dublin it would be called a 'cat's lick': for a cat has only a small tongue and doesn't do much in the way of licking.
Scout; a reproachful name for a bold forward girl.
Scouther; to burn a cake on the outside before it is fully cooked, by over haste in baking:—burned outside, half raw inside. Hence 'to scouther' means to do anything hastily and incompletely. (Ulster.)
Scrab; to scratch:—'The cat near scrabbed his eyes out.' (Patterson: Ulster.) In the South it is scraub:—'He scraubed my face.'
Scrab; to gather the stray potatoes left after the regular crop, when they are afterwards turned out by plough or spade.
Scraddhin; a scrap; anything small—smaller than usual, as a small potato: applied contemptuously to a very small man, exactly the same as the Southern sprissaun. Irish scraidín, same sound and meaning. (East Ulster.)
Scran; 'bad scran to you,' an evil wish like 'bad luck to you,' but much milder: English, in which scran means broken victuals, food-refuse, fare—very common. (North and South.)
Scraw; a grassy sod cut from a grassy or boggy surface and often dried for firing; also called scrahoge (with diminutive óg). Irish scrath, scrathóg, same sounds and meaning.
Screenge; to search for. (Donegal and Derry.)
Scunder or Scunner; a dislike; to take a dislike or disgust against anything. (Armagh.)
Scut; the tail of a hare or rabbit: often applied in scorn to a contemptible fellow:—'He's just a scut and nothing better.' The word is Irish, as is shown by the following quotation:—'The billows [were] conversing with the scuds (sterns) and the beautiful prows [of the ships].' (Battle of Moylena: and note by Kuno Meyer in 'Rev. Celt.') (General.)
Seeshtheen; a low round seat made of twisted straw. (Munster.) Irish suidhistín, same sound and meaning: from suidhe [see], to sit, with diminutive.
Set: all over Ireland they use set instead of let [a house or lodging]. A struggling housekeeper failed to let her lodging, which a neighbour explained by:—'Ah she's no good at setting.'
Set; used in a bad sense, like gang and crew:—'They're a dirty set.'
Settle bed; a folding-up bed kept in the kitchen: when folded up it is like a sofa and used as a seat. (All over Ireland.)
Seven´dable [accent on ven], very great, mighty great as they would say:—'Jack gave him a sevendable thrashing.' (North.)
Shaap [the aa long as in car]; a husk of corn, a pod. (Derry.)
Shamrock or Shamroge; the white trefoil (Trifolium repens). The Irish name is seamar [shammer], which with the diminutive makes seamar-óg [shammer-oge], shortened to shamrock.
Shanachus, shortened to shanagh in Ulster, a friendly conversation. 'Grandfather would like to have a shanahus with you.' ('Knocknagow.') Irish seanchus, antiquity, history, an old story.
Shandradan´ [accented strongly on -dan]; an old rickety rattle-trap of a car. The first syllable is Irish sean [shan], old.
Shanty: a mean hastily put up little house. (General.) Probably from Irish sean, old, and tigh [tee], a house.
Shaugh; a turn or smoke of a pipe. (General.) Irish seach, same sound and meaning.
Shaughraun; wandering about: to be on the shaughraun is to be out of employment and wandering idly about looking for work. Irish seachrán, same sound and meaning.
Shebeen or sheebeen; an unlicensed public-house or alehouse where spirits are sold on the sly. (Used all over Ireland.) Irish síbín, same sound and meaning.
Shee; a fairy, fairies; also meaning the place where fairies live, usually a round green little hill or elf-mound having a glorious palace underneath: Irish sidhe, same sound and meanings. Shee often takes the diminutive form—sheeoge.
Shee-geeha; the little whirl of dust you often see moving along the road on a calm dusty day: this is a band of fairies travelling from one lis or elf-mound to another, and you had better turn aside and avoid it. Irish sidhe-gaoithe, same sound and meaning, where gaoithe is wind: 'wind-fairies': called 'fairy-blast' in Kildare.
Sheehy, Rev. Father, of Kilfinane, 147.
Sheela; a female Christian name (as in 'Sheela Ni Gyra'). Used in the South as a reproachful name for a boy or a man inclined to do work or interest himself in affairs properly belonging to women. See 'Molly.'
Sheep's eyes: when a young man looks fondly and coaxingly on his sweetheart he is 'throwing sheep's eyes' at her.
Sherral; an offensive term for a mean unprincipled fellow. (Moran: South Mon.)
Sheugh or Shough; a deep cutting, elsewhere called a ditch, often filled with water. (Seumas MacManus: N.W. Ulster.)
Shillelah; a handstick of oak, an oaken cudgel for fighting. (Common all over Ireland.) From a district in Wicklow called Shillelah, formerly noted for its oak woods, in which grand shillelahs were plentiful.
Shingerleens [shing-erleens]; small bits of finery; ornamental tags and ends—of ribbons, bow-knots, tassels, &c.—hanging on dress, curtains, furniture, &c. (Munster.)
Shire; to pour or drain off water or any liquid, quietly and without disturbing the solid parts remaining behind, such as draining off the whey-like liquid from buttermilk.
Shlamaan´ [aa like a in car]; a handful of straw, leeks, &c. (Morris: South Monaghan.)
Shoggle; to shake or jolt. (Derry.)
Shoneen; a gentleman in a small way: a would-be gentleman who puts on superior airs. Always used contemptuously.
Shook; in a bad way, done up, undone:—'I'm shook by the loss of that money': 'he was shook for a pair of shoes.'
Shooler; a wanderer, a stroller, a vagrant, a tramp, a rover: often means a mendicant. (Middle and South of Ireland.) From the Irish siubhal [shool], to walk, with the English termination er: lit. 'walker.'
Shoonaun; a deep circular basket, made of twisted rushes or straw, and lined with calico; it had a cover and was used for holding linen, clothes, &c. (Limerick and Cork.) From Irish sibhinn [shiven], a rush, a bulrush: of which the diminutive siubhnán [shoonaun] is our word: signifying 'made of rushes.' Many a shoonaun I saw in my day; and I remember meeting a man who was a shoonaun maker by trade.
Short castle or short castles; a game played by two persons on a square usually drawn on a slate with the two diagonals: each player having three counters. See Mills.
Shore; the brittle woody part separated in bits and dust from the fibre of flax by scutching or cloving. Called shores in Monaghan.
Shraff, shraft; Shrovetide: on and about Shrove Tuesday:—'I bought that cow last shraff.'
Shraums, singular shraum; the matter that collects about the eyes of people who have tender eyes: matter running from sore eyes. (Moran: Carlow.) Irish sream [sraum]. Same meaning.
Shrule; to rinse an article of clothing by pulling it backwards and forwards in a stream. (Moran: Carlow.) Irish srúil, a stream.
Shrough; a rough wet place; an incorrect anglicised form of Irish srath, a wet place, a marsh.
Shuggy-shoo; the play of see-saw. (Ulster.)
Shurauns; any plants with large leaves, such as hemlock, wild parsnip, &c. (Kinahan: Wicklow.)
Sighth (for sight); a great number, a large quantity. (General.) 'Oh Mrs. Morony haven't you a sighth of turkeys': 'Tom Cassidy has a sighth of money.' This is old English. Thus in a Quaker's diary of 1752:—'There was a great sight of people passed through the streets of Limerick.' This expression is I think still heard in England, and is very much in use in America. Very general in Ireland.
Sign; a very small quantity—a trace. Used all over Ireland in this way:—'My gardens are every sign as good as yours': 'he had no sign of drink on him': 'there's no sign of sugar in my tea' (Hayden and Hartog): 'look out to see if Bill is coming': 'no—there's no sign of him.' This is a translation from the Irish rian, for which see next entry.
Sign's on, sign is on, sign's on it; used to express the result or effect or proof of any proceeding:—'Tom Kelly never sends his children to school, and sign's on (or sign's on it) they are growing up like savages': 'Dick understands the management of fruit trees well, and sign's on, he is making lots of money by them.' This is a translation from Irish, in which rian means track, trace, sign: and 'sign's on it' is ta a rian air ('its sign is on it').
Silenced; a priest is silenced when he is suspended from his priestly functions by his ecclesiastical superiors: 'unfrocked.'
Singlings; the weak pottheen whiskey that comes off at the first distillation: agreeable to drink but terribly sickening. Also called 'First shot.'
Sippy; a ball of rolled sugans (i.e. hay or straw ropes), used instead of a real ball in hurling or football. (Limerick.) Irish suipigh, same sound and meaning. A diminutive of sop, a wisp.
Skeeagh [2-syll.]; a shallow osier basket, usually for potatoes. (South.)
Skeedeen; a trifle, anything small of its kind; a small potato. (Derry and Donegal.) Irish scídín, same sound and meaning.
Skellig, Skellig List—On the Great Skellig rock in the Atlantic, off the coast of Kerry, are the ruins of a monastery, to which people at one time went on pilgrimage—and a difficult pilgrimage it was. The tradition is still kept up in some places, though in an odd form; in connection with the custom that marriages are not solemnised in Lent, i.e. after Shrove Tuesday. It is well within my memory that—in the south of Ireland—young persons who should have been married before Ash-Wednesday, but were not, were supposed to set out on pilgrimage to Skellig on Shrove Tuesday night: but it was all a make-believe. Yet I remember witnessing occasionally some play in mock imitation of the pilgrimage. It was usual for a local bard to compose what was called a 'Skellig List'—a jocose rhyming catalogue of the unmarried men and women of the neighbourhood who went on the sorrowful journey—which was circulated on Shrove Tuesday and for some time after. Some of these were witty and amusing: but occasionally they were scurrilous and offensive doggerel. They were generally too long for singing; but I remember one—a good one too—which—when I was very young—I heard sung to a spirited air. It is represented here by a single verse, the only one I remember. (See also 'Chalk Sunday,' p. 234, above.)
As young Rory and Moreen were talking,
How Shrove Tuesday was just drawing near;
For the tenth time he asked her to marry;
But says she:—'Time enough till next year.
Then ochone I'm going to Skellig:
O Moreen, what will I do?
'Tis the woeful road to travel;
And how lonesome I'll be without you!'[8]
Here is a verse from another:—
Poor Andy Callaghan with doleful nose
Came up and told his tale of many woes:—
Some lucky thief from him his sweetheart stole,
Which left a weight of grief upon his soul:
With flowing tears he sat upon the grass,
And roared sonorous like a braying ass.
Skelly; to aim askew and miss the mark; to squint. (Patterson: all over Ulster.)
Skelp; a blow, to give a blow or blows; a piece cut off:—'Tom gave Pat a skelp': 'I cut off a skelp of the board with a hatchet.' To run fast:—'There's Joe skelping off to school.'
Skib; a flat basket:—'We found the people collected round a skibb of potatoes.' ('Wild Sports of the West.')
Skidder, skiddher; broken thick milk, stale and sour. (Munster.)
Skillaun. The piece cut out of a potato to be used as seed, containing one germinating eye, from which the young stalk grows. Several skillauns will be cut from one potato; and the irregular part left is a skilloge (Cork and Kerry), or a creelacaun (Limerick). Irish sciollán, same sound and meaning.
Skit; to laugh and giggle in a silly way:—'I'll be bail they didn't skit and laugh.' (Crofton Croker.) 'Skit and laugh,' very common in South.
Skite; a silly frivolous light-headed person. Hence Blatherumskite (South), or (in Ulster), bletherumskite.
Skree; a large number of small things, as a skree of potatoes, a skree of chickens, &c. (Morris: South Monaghan.)
Skull-cure for a bad toothache. Go to the nearest churchyard alone by night, to the corner where human bones are usually heaped up, from which take and bring away a skull. Fill the skull with water, and take a drink from it: that will cure your toothache.
Sky farmer; a term much used in the South with several shades of meaning: but the idea underlying all is a farmer without land, or with only very little—having broken down since the time when he had a big farm—who often keeps a cow or two grazing along the roadsides. Many of these struggling men acted as intermediaries between the big corn merchants and the large farmers in the sale of corn, and got thereby a percentage from the buyers. A 'sky farmer' has his farm in the sky.
Slaan [aa long as the a in car]; a sort of very sharp spade, used in cutting turf or peat. Universal in the South.
Slack-jaw; impudent talk, continuous impertinences:—'I'll have none of your slack-jaw.'
Slang; a narrow strip of land along a stream, not suited to cultivation, but grazed. (Moran: Carlow.)
Sleeveen; a smooth-tongued, sweet-mannered, sly, guileful fellow. Universal all over the South and Middle. Irish slíghbhín, same sound and meaning; from slígh, a way: binn, sweet, melodious: 'a sweet-mannered fellow.'
Slewder, sluder [d sounded like th in smooth]; a wheedling coaxing fellow: as a verb, to wheedle. Irish sligheadóir [sleedore], same meaning.
Sliggin; a thin flat little stone. (Limerick.) Irish. Primary meaning a shell.
Sling-trot; when a person or an animal is going along [not walking but] trotting or running along at a leisurely pace. (South.)
Slinge [slinj]; to walk along slowly and lazily. In some places, playing truant from school. (South.)
Slip; a young girl. A young pig, older than a bonnive, running about almost independent of its mother. (General.)
Slipe; a rude sort of cart or sledge without wheels used for dragging stones from a field. (Ulster.)
Slitther; a kind of thick soft leather: also a ball covered with that leather, for hurling. (Limerick.)
Sliver; a piece of anything broken or cut off, especially cut off longitudinally. An old English word, obsolete in England, but still quite common in Munster.
Slob; a soft fat quiet simple-minded girl or boy:—'Your little Nellie is a quiet poor slob': used as a term of endearment.
Sloke, sloak, sluke, sloukaun; a sea plant of the family of laver found growing on rocks round the coast, which is esteemed a table delicacy—dark-coloured, almost black; often pickled and eaten with pepper, vinegar, &c. Seen in all the Dublin fish shops. The name, which is now known all over the Three Kingdoms, is anglicised from Irish sleabhac, sleabhacán [slouk, sloukaun].
Slug; a drink: as a verb, to drink:—'Here take a little slug from this and 'twill do you good.' Irish slog to swallow by drinking. (General.) Whence slugga and sluggera, a cavity in a river-bed into which the water is slugged or swallowed.
Slugabed; a sluggard. (General in Limerick.) Old English, obsolete in England:—'Fie, you slug-a-bed.' ('Romeo and Juliet.')
Slush; to work and toil like a slave: a woman who toils hard. (General.)
Slut; a torch made by dipping a long wick in resin. (Armagh.) Called a paudheoge in Munster.
Smaadher [aa like a in car]; to break in pieces. Jim Foley was on a pooka's back on the top of an old castle, and he was afraid he'd 'tumble down and be smathered to a thousand pieces.' (Ir. Mag.)
Smalkera; a rude home-made wooden spoon.
Small-clothes; kneebreeches. (Limerick.) So called to avoid the plain term breeches, as we now often say inexpressibles.
Small farmer; has a small farm with small stock of cattle: a struggling man as distinguished from a 'strong' farmer.
Smeg, smeggeen, smiggin; a tuft of hair on the chin. (General.) Merely the Irish smeig, smeigín; same sounds and meaning.
Smithereens; broken fragments after a smash, 4.
Smullock [to rhyme with bullock]; a fillip of the finger. (Limerick.) Irish smallóg, same meaning.
Smur, smoor, fine thick mist. (North.) Irish smúr, mist.
Smush [to rhyme with bush]: anything reduced to fine small fragments, like straw or hay, dry peat-mould in dust, &c.
Smush, used contemptuously for the mouth, a hairy mouth:—'I don't like your ugly smush.'
Snachta-shaidhaun: dry powdery snow blown about by the wind. Irish sneachta, snow, and séideán, a breeze. (South.)
Snaggle-tooth; a person with some teeth gone so as to leave gaps.
Snap-apple; a play with apples on Hallow-eve, where big apples are placed in difficult positions and are to be caught by the teeth of the persons playing. Hence Hallow-Eve is often called 'Snap-apple night.'
Snauvaun; to move about slowly and lazily. From Irish snámh [snauv], to swim, with the diminutive:—Moving slowly like a person swimming.
Sned; to clip off, to cut away, like the leaves and roots of a turnip. Sned also means the handle of a scythe.
Snig; to cut or clip with a knife:—'The shoots of that apple-tree are growing out too long: I must snig off the tops of them.'
Snish; neatness in clothes. (Morris: Carlow.)
Snoboge; a rosin torch. (Moran: Carlow.) Same as slut and paudheoge.
Snoke; to scent or snuff about like a dog. (Derry.)
So. This has some special dialectical senses among us. It is used for if:—'I will pay you well so you do the work to my liking.' This is old English:—'I am content so thou wilt have it so.' ('Rom. and Jul.') It is used as a sort of emphatic expletive carrying accent or emphasis:—'Will you keep that farm?' 'I will so,' i.e. 'I will for certain.' 'Take care and don't break them' (the dishes): 'I won't so.' ('Collegians.') It is used in the sense of 'in that case':—'I am not going to town to-day'; 'Oh well I will not go, so'—i.e. 'as you are not going.'
Sock; the tubular or half-tubular part of a spade or shovel that holds the handle. Irish soc.
Soft day; a wet day. (A usual salute.)
Soil; fresh-cut grass for cattle.
Sold; betrayed, outwitted:—'If that doesn't frighten him off you're sold' (caught in the trap, betrayed, ruined. Edw. Walsh in Ir. Pen. Journal).
Something like; excellent:—'That's something like a horse,' i.e. a fine horse and no mistake.
Sonaghan; a kind of trout that appears in certain lakes in November, coming from the rivers. (Prof. J. Cooke, M.A., of Dublin: for Ulster):—Irish samhain [sowan], November: samhnachán with the diminutive án or chán, 'November-fellow.'
Sonoohar; a good wife, a good partner in marriage; a good marriage: generally used in the form of a wish:—'Thankee sir and sonoohar to you.' Irish sonuachar, same sound and meaning.
Sonsy; fortunate, prosperous. Also well-looking and healthy:—'A fine sonsy girl.' Irish sonas, luck; sonasach, sonasaigh, same sound and meaning.
Soogan, sugan, sugaun; a straw or hay rope twisted by the hand.
Soss; a short trifling fall with no harm beyond a smart shock. (Moran: Carlow.)
Sough; a whistling or sighing noise like that of the wind through trees. 'Keep a calm sough' means keep quiet, keep silence. (Ulster.)
Soulth; 'a formless luminous apparition.' (W. B. Yeats.) Irish samhailt [soulth], a ghost, an apparition; lit. a 'likeness,' from samhai [sowel], like.
Sources of Anglo-Irish Dialect, 1.
Sowans, sowens; a sort of flummery or gruel usually made and eaten on Hallow Eve. Very general in Ulster and Scotland; merely the Irish word samhain, the first of November; for Hallow Eve is really a November feast, as being the eve of the first of that month. In old times in Ireland, the evening went with the coming night.
Spalpeen. Spalpeens were labouring men—reapers, mowers, potato-diggers, &c.—who travelled about in the autumn seeking employment from the farmers, each with his spade, or his scythe, or his reaping-hook. They congregated in the towns on market and fair days, where the farmers of the surrounding districts came to hire them. Each farmer brought home his own men, fed them on good potatoes and milk, and sent them to sleep in the barn on dry straw—a bed—as one of them said to me—'a bed fit for a lord, let alone a spalpeen.' The word spalpeen is now used in the sense of a low rascal. Irish spailpín, same sound and meaning. (See my 'Old Irish Folk Music and Songs,' p. 216; and for the Ulster term see Rabble above.)
Spaug; a big clumsy foot:—'You put your ugly spaug down on my handkerchief.' Irish spág, same sound and sense.
Speel; to climb. (Patterson: Ulster.)
Spink; a sharp rock, a precipice. (Tyrone.) Splink in Donegal. Irish spinnc and splinnc, same sounds and meaning.
Spit; the soil dug up and turned over, forming a long trench as deep as the spade will go. 'He dug down three spits before he came to the gravel.'
Spoileen; a coarse kind of soap made out of scraps of inferior grease and meat: often sold cheap at fairs and markets. (Derry and Tyrone.) Irish spóilín, a small bit of meat.
Spoocher; a sort of large wooden shovel chiefly used for lifting small fish out of a boat. (Ulster.)
Spreece; red-hot embers, chiefly ashes. (South.) Irish sprís, same sound and meaning. Same as greesagh.
Sprissaun; an insignificant contemptible little chap. Irish spriosán [same sound], the original meaning of which is a twig or spray from a bush. (South.)
'To the devil I pitch ye ye set of sprissauns.'
(Old Folk Song, for which see my 'Ancient Irish
Music,' p. 85.)
Sprong: a four-pronged manure fork. (MacCall: South-east counties.)
Spruggil, spruggilla; the craw of a fowl. (Morris: South Monaghan.) Irish sprogal [spruggal], with that meaning and several others.
Sprunge [sprunj], any animal miserable and small for its age. (Ulster.)
Spuds; potatoes.
Spunk; tinder, now usually made by steeping brown paper in a solution of nitre; lately gone out of use from the prevalence of matches. Often applied in Ulster and Scotland to a spark of fire: 'See is there a spunk of fire in the hearth.' Spunk also denotes spirit, courage, and dash. 'Hasn't Dick great spunk to face that big fellow, twice his size?'
'I'm sure if you had not been drunk
With whiskey, rum, or brandy—O,
You would not have the gallant spunk
To be half so bold or manly—O.'
(Old Irish Folk Song.)
Irish sponnc.
Spy farleys; to pry into secrets: to visit a house, in order to spy about what's going on. (Ulster.)
Spy-Wednesday; the Wednesday before Easter. According to the religious legend it got the name because on the Wednesday before the Crucifixion Judas was spying about how best he could deliver up our Lord. (General.)
Squireen; an Irish gentleman in a small way who apes the manners, the authoritative tone, and the aristocratic bearing of the large landed proprietors. Sometimes you can hardly distinguish a squireen from a half-sir or from a shoneen. Sometimes the squireen was the son of the old squire: a worthless young fellow, who loafed about doing nothing, instead of earning an honest livelihood: but he was too grand for that. The word is a diminutive of squire, applied here in contempt, like many other diminutives. The class of squireen is nearly extinct: 'Joy be with them.'
Stackan; the stump of a tree remaining after the tree itself has been cut or blown down. (Simmons: Armagh.) Irish staic, a stake, with the diminutive.
Stad; the same as sthallk, which see.
Stag; a potato rendered worthless or bad by frost or decay.
Stag; a cold-hearted unfeeling selfish woman.
Stag; an informer, who turns round and betrays his comrades:—'The two worst informers against a private [pottheen] distiller, barring a stag, are a smoke by day and a fire by night.' (Carleton in 'Ir. Pen. Journ.') 'Do you think me a stag, that I'd inform on you.' (Ibid.)
Staggeen [the t sounded like th in thank], a worn-out worthless old horse.
Stand to or by a person, to act as his friend; to stand for an infant, to be his sponsor in baptism. The people hardly ever say, 'I'm his godfather,' but 'I stood for him.'
Stare; the usual name for a starling (bird) in Ireland.
Station. The celebration of Mass with confessions and Holy Communion in a private house by the parish priest or one of his curates, for the convenience of the family and their neighbours, to enable them the more easily to receive the sacraments. Latterly the custom has been falling into disuse.
Staukan-vorraga [t sounded like th in thorn], a small high rick of turf in a market from which portions were continually sold away and as continually replaced: so that the sthauca stood always in the people's way. Applied also to a big awkward fellow always visiting when he's not wanted, and always in the way. (John Davis White, of Clonmel.) Irish stáca 'n mharga [sthaucan-vorraga], the 'market stake or stack.'
Stelk or stallk; mashed potatoes mixed with beans or chopped vegetables. (North.)
Sthallk; a fit of sulk in a horse—or in a child. (Munster.) Irish stailc, same sound and meaning.
Sthoakagh; a big idle wandering vagabond fellow. (South.) Irish stócach, same sound and meaning.
Sthowl; a jet or splash of water or of any liquid. (South.) Irish steall, same sound and meaning.
Stim or stime; a very small quantity, an iota, an atom, a particle:—'You'll never have a stim of sense' ('Knocknagow'): 'I couldn't see a stim in the darkness.'
Stook; a shock of corn, generally containing twelve sheaves. (General.) Irish stuaic, same sound and meaning, with several other meanings.
Stoon; a fit, the worst of a fit: same as English stound: a sting of pain:—'Well Bridget how is the toothache?' 'Ah well sir the stoon is off.' (De Vismes Kane: Ulster.)
Store pig; a pig nearly full grown, almost ready to be fattened. (Munster.)
Str. Most of the following words beginning with str are derived from Irish words beginning with sr. For as this combination sr does not exist in English, when an Irish word with this beginning is borrowed into English, a t is always inserted between the s and r to bring it into conformity with English usage and to render it more easily pronounced by English-speaking tongues. See this subject discussed in 'Irish Names of Places,' vol. I., p. 60. Moreover the t in str is almost always sounded the same as th in think, thank.
Straar or sthraar [to rhyme with star]; the rough straddle which supports the back band of a horse's harness—coming between the horse's back and the band. (Derry.) The old Irish word srathar [same sound], a straddle, a pack-saddle.
Straddy; a street-walker, an idle person always sauntering along the streets. There is a fine Irish air named 'The Straddy' in my 'Old Irish Music and Songs,' p. 310. From Irish sráid, a street.
Strahane, strahaun, struhane; a very small stream like a mill stream or an artificial stream to a pottheen still. Irish sruth [sruh] stream, with dim.
Strammel; a big tall bony fellow. (Limerick.)
Strap; a bold forward girl or woman; the word often conveys a sense slightly leaning towards lightness of character.
Strath; a term used in many parts of Ireland to denote the level watery meadow-land along a river. Irish srath.
Stravage [to rhyme with plague]; to roam about idly:—'He is always stravaging the streets.' In Ulster it is made stavage.
Streel; a very common word all through Ireland to denote a lazy untidy woman—a slattern: often made streeloge in Connaught, the same word with the diminutive. As a verb, streel is used in the sense of to drag along in an untidy way:—'Her dress was streeling in the mud.' Irish sríl [sreel], same meanings.
Streel is sometimes applied to an untidy slovenly-looking man too, as I once heard it applied under odd circumstances when I was very young. Bartholomew Power was long and lanky, with his clothes hanging loose on him. On the morning when he and his newly-married wife—whom I knew well, and who was then no chicken—were setting out for his home, I walked a bit of the way with the happy bride to take leave of her. Just when we were about to part, she turned and said to me—these were her very words—'Well Mr. Joyce, you know the number of nice young men I came across in my day (naming half a dozen of them), and,' said she—nodding towards the bride-groom, who was walking by the car a few perches in front—'isn't it a heart-scald that at the end of all I have now to walk off with that streel of a devil.'
Strickle; a scythe-sharpener covered with emery, (Simmons: Armagh.)
Strig; the strippings or milk that comes last from a cow. (Morris: South Monaghan.)
Striffin; the thin pellicle or skin on the inside of an egg-shell. (Ulster.)
Strippings; the same as strig, the last of the milk that comes from the cow at milking—always the richest. Often called in Munster sniug.
Stroansha; a big idle lazy lump of a girl, always gadding about. Irish stróinse, same sound and meaning.
Strock´ara [accent on strock-]; a very hard-working man. (Munster.) Irish stracaire, same sound and meaning, with several other meanings.
Strong; well in health, without any reference to muscular strength. 'How is your mother these times?' 'She's very strong now thank God.'
Strong farmer; a very well-to-do prosperous farmer, with a large farm and much cattle. In contradistinction to a 'small farmer.'
Stroup or stroop; the spout of a kettle or teapot or the lip of a jug. (Ulster.)
Strunt; to sulk. (Simmons: Armagh.) Same as sthallk for the South.
Stum; a sulky silent person. (Antrim and Down.)
Stumpy; a kind of coarse heavy cake made from grated potatoes from which the starch has been squeezed out: also called muddly. (Munster.)
Sturk, stirk, sterk; a heifer or bullock about two years old: a pig three or four months old. Often applied to a stout low-sized boy or girl. Irish storc.
Sugan; a straw or hay rope: same as soogan.
Sugeen; water in which oatmeal has been steeped: often drunk by workmen on a hot day in place of plain water. (Roscommon.) From Ir. sugh, juice.
Sulter; great heat [of a day]: a word formed from sultry:—'There's great sulther to-day.'
Summachaun; a soft innocent child. (Munster.) Irish somachán, same sound and meaning. In Connaught it means a big ignorant puffed up booby of a fellow.
Sup; one mouthful of liquid: a small quantity drunk at one time. This is English:—'I took a small sup of rum.' ('Robinson Crusoe.') 'We all take a sup in our turn.' (Irish Folk Song.)
Sure; one of our commonest opening words for a sentence: you will hear it perpetually among gentle and simple: 'Don't forget to lock up the fowls.' 'Sure I did that an hour ago.' 'Sure you won't forget to call here on your way back?' 'James, sure I sold my cows.'
Swan-skin; the thin finely-woven flannel bought in shops; so called to distinguish it from the coarse heavy home-made flannel. (Limerick.)
Swearing, 66.
 
Tally-iron or tallin-iron; the iron for crimping or curling up the borders of women's caps. A corruption of Italian-iron.
Targe; a scolding woman, a barge. (Ulster.)
Tartles: ragged clothes; torn pieces of dress. (Ulster.)
Taste; a small bit or amount of anything:—'He has no taste of pride': 'Aren't you ashamed of yourself?' 'Not a taste': 'Could you give me the least taste in life of a bit of soap?'
Tat, tait; a tangled or matted wad or mass of hair on a girl or on an animal. 'Come here till I comb the tats out of your hair. (Ulster.) Irish tath [tah]. In the anglicised word the aspirated t (th), which sounds like h in Irish, is restored to its full sound in the process of anglicisation in accordance with a law which will be found explained in 'Irish Names of Places,' vol. i., pp. 42-48.
Teem; to strain off or pour off water or any liquid. To teem potatoes is to pour the water off them when they are boiled. In a like sense we say it is teeming rain. Irish taom, same sound and sense.
Ten commandments. 'She put her ten commandments on his face,' i.e. she scratched his face with her ten finger-nails. (MacCall: Wexford.)
Tent; the quantity of ink taken up at one time by a pen.
Terr; a provoking ignorant presumptuous fellow. (Moran: Carlow.)
Thacka, thuck-ya, thackeen, thuckeen; a little girl. (South.) Irish toice, toicín [thucka, thuckeen].
Thaheen; a handful of flax or hay. Irish tath, taithín [thah, thaheen], same meaning. (Same Irish word as Tat above: but in thaheen the final t is aspirated to h, following the Irish word.)
Thauloge: a boarded-off square enclosure at one side of the kitchen fire-place of a farmhouse, where candlesticks, brushes, wet boots, &c., are put. (Moran: Carlow.)
Thayvaun or theevaun; the short beam of the roof crossing from one rafter to the opposite one. (South.) Irish taobh [thaiv], a 'side,' with the diminutive.
Theeveen; a patch on the side of a shoe. (General.) Irish taobh [thaiv], a side with the dim. een; taoibhín [theeveen], 'little side.'
Thick; closely acquainted: same meaning as 'Great,' which see. 'Dick is very thick with Joe now.'
Thiescaun thyscaun, [thice-caun], or thayscaun: a quantity of anything, as a small load of hay drawn by a horse: 'When you're coming home with the cart from the bog, you may as well bring a little thyscaun of turf. (South.) Irish taoscán [thayscaun], same meaning.
Think long: to be longing for anything—home, friends, an event, &c. (North.) 'I am thinking long till I see my mother.'
Thirteen. When the English and Irish currencies were different, the English shilling was worth thirteen pence in Ireland: hence a shilling was called a thirteen in Ireland:—'I gave the captain six thirteens to ferry me over to Park-gate.' (Irish Folk Song.)
Thivish; a spectre, a ghost. (General.) Irish taidhbhse [thivshe], same meaning.
Thole; to endure, to bear:—'I had to thole hardship and want while you were away.' (All over Ulster.)
Thon, thonder; yon, yonder:—'Not a tree or a thing only thon wee couple of poor whins that's blowing up thonder on the rise.' (Seumas MacManus, for North-West Ulster.)
Thoun´thabock: a good beating. Literally 'strong tobacco: Ir. teann-tabac [same sound]. 'If you don't mind your business, I'll give you thounthabock.'
Thrape or threep; to assert vehemently, boldly, and in a manner not to brook contradiction. Common in Meath and from that northward.
Thrashbag; several pockets sewed one above another along a strip of strong cloth for holding thread, needles, buttons, &c., and rolled up when not in use. (Moran: Carlow.)
Thraulagh, or thaulagh; a soreness or pain in the wrist of a reaper, caused by work. (Connaught.) Irish—two forms—trálach and tádhlach [thraulagh, thaulagh.]
Three-na-haila; mixed up all in confusion:—'I must arrange my books and papers: they are all three-na-haila.' (South.) Irish trí n-a chéile, 'through each other.' The translation 'through-other' is universal in Ulster.
Three-years-old and Four-years-old; the names of two hostile factions in the counties of Limerick, Tipperary, and Cork, of the early part of last century, who fought whenever they met, either individually or in numbers, each faction led by its redoubtable chief. The weapons were sticks, but sometimes stones were used. We boys took immense delight in witnessing those fights, keeping at a safe distance however for fear of a stray stone. Three-years and Four-years battles were fought in New Pallas in Tipperary down to a few years ago.
Thrisloge; a long step in walking, a long jump. (Munster.) Irish trioslóg, same sound.
Throllop; an untidy woman, a slattern, a streel. (Banim: very general in the South.)
Thurmus, thurrumus; to sulk from food. (Munster.) Irish toirmesc [thurrumask], same meaning:—'Billy won't eat his supper: he is thurrumusing.'
Tibb's-Eve; 'neither before nor after Christmas,' i.e., never: 'Oh you'll get your money by Tibb's-Eve.'
Till; used in many parts of Ireland in the sense of 'in order that':—'Come here Micky till I comb your hair.'
Tilly; a small quantity of anything given over and above the quantity purchased. Milkmen usually give a tilly with the pint or quart. Irish tuilledh, same sound and meaning. Very general.
Tinges; goods that remain long in a draper's hands. (Moran: Carlow.)
Togher [toher]; a road constructed through a bog or swamp; often of brambles or wickerwork covered over with gravel and stones.
Tootn-egg [3-syll.], a peculiar-shaped brass or white-metal button, having the stem fastened by a conical-shaped bit of metal. I have seen it explained as tooth-and-egg; but I believe this to be a guess. (Limerick.)
Tory-top; the seed cone of a fir-tree. (South.)
Towards; in comparison with:—'That's a fine horse towards the one you had before.'
Tradesman; an artisan, a working mechanic. In Ireland the word is hardly ever applied to a shopkeeper.
Trake; a long tiresome walk: 'you gave me a great trake for nothing,' (Ulster.)
Tram or tram-cock; a hay-cock—rather a small one. (Moran: Carlow.)
Trams; the ends of the cart shafts that project behind. (North.) Called heels in the South.
Trance; the name given in Munster to the children's game of Scotch hop or pickey.
Traneen or trawneen; a long slender grass-stalk, like a knitting-needle. Used all over Ireland. In some places cushoge.
Travel; used in Ulster for walking as distinguished from driving or riding:—'Did you drive to Derry?' 'Oh no, I travelled.'
Trice; to make an agreement or bargain. (Simmons: Armagh.)
Triheens; a pair of stockings with only the legs: the two feet cut off. It is the Irish troigh [thro], a foot, with the diminutive—troighthín [triheen]. In Roscommon this word is applied to the handle of a loy or spade which has been broken and patched together again. (Connaught and Munster.)
Trindle; the wheel of a wheelbarrow. (Morris for South Monaghan.)
Trinket; a small artificial channel for water: often across and under a road. (Simmons and Patterson: East Ulster.) See Linthern.
Turf; peat for fuel: used in this sense all over Ireland. We hardly ever use the word in the sense of 'Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap.'
Turk; an ill-natured surly boorish fellow.
Twig; to understand, to discern, to catch the point:—'When I hinted at what I wanted, he twigged me at once.' Irish tuig [twig], to understand.
 
Ubbabo; an exclamation of wonder or surprise;—'Ubbabo,' said the old woman, 'we'll soon see to that.' (Crofton Croker.)
Ullagone; an exclamation of sorrow; a name applied to any lamentation:—'So I sat down ... and began to sing the Ullagone.' (Crofton Croker.) 'Mike was ullagoning all day after you left.' (Irish.)
Ullilu; an interjection of sorrow equivalent to the English alas or alack and well-a-day. (Irish.)
Unbe-knownst; unknown, secret. (De Vismes Kane for Monaghan: but used very generally.)
Under has its peculiar uses:—'She left the fish out under the cats, and the jam out under the children.' (Hayden and Hartog: for Dublin and its neighbourhood: but used also in the South.)
Under-board; 'the state of a corpse between death and interment.' (Simmons: Armagh.) 'From the board laid on the breast of the corpse, with a plate of snuff and a Bible or Prayerbook laid on it.' (S. Scott, Derry.)
 
Variety of Phrases, A, 185.
Venom, generally pronounced vinnom; energy:—'He does his work with great venom.' An attempted translation from an Irish word that bears more than one meaning, and the wrong meaning is brought into English:—viz. neim or neimh, literally poison, venom, but figuratively fierceness, energy. John O'Dugan writes in Irish (500 years ago):—Ris gach ndruing do niad a neim: 'against every tribe they [the Clann Ferrall] exert their neim (literally their poison, but meaning their energy or bravery). So also the three sons of Fiacha are endowed coisin neim 'with fierceness,' lit. with poison or venom. (Silva Gadelica.) In an old Irish tale a lady looks with intense earnestness on a man she admires: in the Irish it is said 'She put nimh a súl on him, literally the venom of her eyes,' meaning the keenest glance of her eyes.
Hence over a large part of Ireland, especially the South, you will hear: 'Ah, Dick is a splendid man to hire: he works with such venom.' A countryman (Co. Wicklow), speaking of the new National Teacher:—'Indeed sir he's well enough, but for all that he hasn't the vinnom of poor Mr. O'Brien:' i.e. he does not teach with such energy.
Very fond; when there is a long spell of rain, frost, &c., people say:—'It is very fond of the rain,' &c.
Voteen; a person who is a devotee in religion: nearly always applied in derision to one who is excessively and ostentatiously devotional. (General.)
 
Wad; a wisp of straw or hay pressed tightly together. A broken pane in a window is often stuffed with a wad of straw. 'Careless and gay, like a wad in a window': old saying. (General.)
Walsh, Edward, 5, &c.
Wangle; the handful of straw a thatcher grasps in his left hand from time to time while thatching, twisted up tight at one end. By extension of meaning applied to a tall lanky weak young fellow. (Moran: middle eastern counties.)
Wangrace; oatmeal gruel for sick persons. (Simmons: Armagh.)
Want; often used in Ulster in the following way:—'I asked Dick to come back to us, for we couldn't want him,' i.e. couldn't do without him.
Wap; a bundle of straw; as a verb, to make up straw into a bundle. (Derry and Monaghan.)
Warrant; used all over Ireland in the following way—nearly always with good, better, or best, but sometimes with bad:—'You're a good warrant (a good hand) to play for us [at hurling] whenever we ax you.' ('Knocknagow.') 'She was a good warrant to give a poor fellow a meal when he wanted it': 'Father Patt gave me a tumbler of rale stiff punch, and the divel a better warrant to make the same was within the province of Connaught.' ('Wild Sports of the West.')
Watch-pot; a person who sneaks into houses about meal times hoping to get a bit or to be asked to join.
Way. 'A dairyman's way, a labourer's way, means the privileges or perquisites which the dairyman or labourer gets, in addition to the main contract. A way might be grazing for a sheep, a patch of land for potatoes, &c.' (Healy: for Waterford.)
Wearables; articles of clothing. In Tipperary they call the old-fashioned wig 'Dwyer's wearable.'
Weather-blade, in Armagh, the same as 'Goureen-roe' in the South, which see.
Wee (North), weeny (South); little.
Well became. 'When Tom Cullen heard himself insulted by the master, well became him he up and defied him and told him he'd stay no longer in his house.' 'Well became' here expresses approval of Tom's action as being the correct and becoming thing to do. I said to little Patrick 'I don't like to give you any more sweets you're so near your dinner'; and well became him he up and said:—'Oh I get plenty of sweets at home before my dinner.' 'Well became Tom he paid the whole bill.'
Wersh, warsh, worsh; insipid, tasteless, needing salt or sugar. (Simmons and Patterson: Ulster.)
Wet and dry; 'Tom gets a shilling a day, wet and dry'; i.e. constant work and constant pay in all weathers. (General.)
Whack: food, sustenance:—'He gets 2s. 6d. a day and his whack.'
Whassah or fassah; to feed cows in some unusual place, such as along a lane or road: to herd them in unfenced ground. The food so given is also called whassah. (Moran: for South Mon.) Irish fásach, a wilderness, any wild place.
Whatever; at any rate, anyway, anyhow: usually put in this sense at the end of a sentence:—'Although she can't speak on other days of the week, she can speak on Friday, whatever.' ('Collegians.') 'Although you wouldn't take anything else, you'll drink this glass of milk, whatever.' (Munster.)
Curious, I find this very idiom in an English book recently published: 'Lord Tweedmouth. Notes and Recollections,' viz.:—'We could not cross the river [in Scotland], but he would go [across] whatever.' The writer evidently borrowed this from the English dialect of the Highlands, where they use whatever exactly as we do. (William Black: 'A Princess of Thule.') In all these cases, whether Irish or Scotch, whatever is a translation from the Gaelic ar mhodh ar bíth or some such phrase.
Wheeling. When a fellow went about flourishing a cudgel and shouting out defiance to people to fight him—shouting for his faction, side, or district, he was said to be 'wheeling':—'Here's for Oola!' 'here's three years!' 'here's Lillis!' (Munster.) Sometimes called hurrooing. See 'Three-years-old.'
Wheen; a small number, a small quantity:—'I was working for a wheen o' days': 'I'll eat a wheen of these gooseberries.' (Ulster.)
Whenever is generally used in Ulster for when:—'I was in town this morning and whenever I came home I found the calf dead in the stable.'
Which. When a person does not quite catch what another says, there is generally a query:—'eh?' 'what?' or 'what's that you say?' Our people often express this query by the single word 'which?' I knew a highly educated and highly placed Dublin official who always so used the word. (General.)
Whipster; a bold forward romping impudent girl. (Ulster.) In Limerick it also conveys the idea of a girl inclined to whip or steal things.
Whisht, silence: used all over Ireland in such phrases as 'hold your whisht' (or the single word 'whisht'), i.e., be silent. It is the Gaelic word tost, silence, with the first t aspirated as it ought to be, which gives it the sound of h. They pronounce it as if it were written thuist, which is exactly sounded whisht. The same word—taken from the Gaelic of course—is used everywhere in Scotland:—When the Scottish Genius of Poetry appeared suddenly to Burns (in 'The Vision'):—'Ye needna doubt, I held my whisht!'
Whisper, whisper here; both used in the sense of 'listen,' 'listen to me':—'Whisper, I want to say something to you,' and then he proceeds to say it, not in a whisper, but in the usual low conversational tone. Very general all over Ireland. 'Whisper' in this usage is simply a translation of cogar [cogger], and 'whisper here' of cogar annso; these Irish words being used by Irish speakers exactly as their dialectical English equivalents are used in English: the English usage being taken from the Irish.
White-headed boy or white-haired boy; a favourite, a person in favour, whether man or boy:—'Oh you're the white-headed boy now.'
Whitterit or whitrit; a weasel. (Ulster.)
Whose owe? the same as 'who owns?':—'Whose owe is this book?' Old English. My correspondent states that this was a common construction in Anglo-Saxon. (Ulster.)
Why; a sort of terminal expletive used in some of the Munster counties:—'Tom is a strong boy why': 'Are you going to Ennis why?' 'I am going to Cork why.'
Why for? used in Ulster as an equivalent to 'for what?'
Why but? 'Why not?' (Ulster.) 'Why but you speak your mind out?' i.e. 'Why should you not?' (Kane: Armagh.)
Why then; used very much in the South to begin a sentence, especially a reply, much as indeed is used in English:—'When did you see John Dunn?' 'Why then I met him yesterday at the fair': 'Which do you like best, tea or coffee?' 'Why then I much prefer tea.' 'Why then Pat is that you; and how is every rope's length of you?'
Wicked; used in the South in the sense of severe or cross. 'Mr. Manning our schoolmaster is very wicked.'
Widow-woman and widow-man; are used for widow and widower, especially in Ulster: but widow-woman is heard everywhere.
Wigs on the green; a fight: so called for an obvious reason:—'There will be wigs on the green in the fair to-day.'
Will you was never a good fellow, 18, 114.
Wine or wynd of hay; a small temporary stack of hay, made up on the meadow. All the small wynds are ultimately made up into one large rick or stack in the farmyard.
Wipe, a blow: all over Ireland: he gave him a wipe on the face. In Ulster, a goaly-wipe is a great blow on the ball with the camaun or hurley: such as will send it to the goal.
Wire. To wire in is to begin work vigorously: to join in a fight.
Wirra; an exclamation generally indicating surprise, sorrow, or vexation: it is the vocative of 'Muire' (A Mhuire), Mary, that is, the Blessed Virgin.
Wirrasthru, a term of pity; alas. It is the phonetic form of A Mhuire is truaigh, 'O Mary it is a pity (or a sorrow),' implying the connexion of the Blessed Virgin with sorrow.
Wit; sense, which is the original meaning. But this meaning is nearly lost in England while it is extant everywhere in Ireland:—A sharp Ulster woman, entering her little boy in a Dublin Infant School, begged of the mistress to teach him a little wut.
Witch: black witches are bad; white witches good. (West Donegal.)
Wish; esteem, friendship:—'Your father had a great wish for me,' i.e. held me in particular esteem, had a strong friendship. (General.) In this application it is merely the translation of the Irish meas, respect:—Tá meás mór agum ort; I have great esteem for you, I have a great wish for you, I hold you in great respect.
Wisha; a softening down of mossa, which see.
With that; thereupon: used all over Ireland. Irish leis sin, which is often used, has the same exact meaning; but still I think with that is of old English origin, though the Irish equivalent may have contributed to its popularity.
'With that her couverchef from her head she braid
And over his litel eyen she it laid.'
(Chaucer.)
Word; trace, sign. (Ulster.) 'Did you see e'er a word of a black-avised (black-visaged) man travelling the road you came?'
Wrap and run: 'I gathered up every penny I could wrap and run,' is generally used: the idea being to wrap up hastily and run for it.
 
Yoke; any article, contrivance, or apparatus for use in some work. 'That's a quare yoke Bill,' says a countryman when he first saw a motor car.

Endnotes[edit]

8 ^  From my 'Old Irish Folk Music and Songs,' p. 56, in which also will be found the beautiful air of this.