Irish slang – Bollocks

by Seán on January 29, 2007

by Seán | January 29th, 2007  

old Irish man laughingSo you think – hey, I speak English. I’ll take a holiday (that’s vacation to you, Mr & Mrs USA) in Ireland and get on just fine!
Sure, you think, there might be some problems with understanding accents from time to time, but there’s not going to be any REAL problems communicating; if I don’t understand something, I’ll just ask them to repeat themselves.

Well, you’d be mostly right. Ireland is, after all, a predominately English-speaking nation. You will encounter bits of Irish here and there (more on that later) but the thing that tickled my ears the most when I first moved here and that tends to confuse our stateside guests is some of the slang. So, below is the eleventh in a series I’ll be publishing of some common Irish slang that used to confuse us when we first arrived.

Bollocks – Testicles. Spelled sometimes bollix or bollox, the word is known primarily as British slang (made famous world-wide when the the Sex Pistols’ album was released in 1977) , but is lodged firmly in the Irish vernacular as well. It has been put forward that the word may actuallly be Celtic in origin, from the Irish word bolg, meaning “bag.” The Sex Pistols’ UK courtcase over the vulgarity of the term was dismissed when their legal representative proved that the word was an Old English term for “preist.”

Aren’t lawyers great?

In Ireland it’s used primarily as an insult, meaning a person is spitefully stubborn or mean-spirited (“He’s a real bollocks!”), or it’s used simply on its own as a curse venting frustration(“Oh no, I missed the last bus? Bollocks!!”). It’s also used to mean somebody severely mismanaged something, (“He made a bollix of the whole job”). It can also mean something makes no sense or is an outright lie (“You were U2′s singer before Bono? That’s complete bollocks!”). Confusingly, when the bollocks belong to a dog, that means something is terrific, really top notch (“That new iPhone is the dog’s bollocks!”).

It can, of course, simply be a vulgar way of referring to actual testicles (“He kicked me in the bollocks.”).

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Irish slang - Master Post - About Ireland
August 3, 2007 at 2:06 pm

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Checkers December 2, 2007 at 2:31 am
Corner

Bolg in irish actually means stomach, not bag. Bag is mala. And yes, I am Irish

Corner

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