Irish slang – chance the arm

by Seán on June 4, 2007

by Seán | June 4th, 2007  

old Irish man laughingYou speak English. You’ve heard most of Ireland does as well. You may have heard the Irish speak the best english in the world. In any case, the last thing you may be expecting is communication difficulties on your visit to the emerald isle.

Most of the potentential pitfalls in your conversations may come from the slang used here. This is the twenty-seventh in a series I’ve been publishing of some common Irish slang that used to confuse us when we first arrived.

Chance the arm – Give it a try.

Also said, “chance your arm” or “chance my arm,” this phrase is used when the speaker is either trying something new or wishes to acknowledge something is less than a sure thing. I suppose it intimates a possible loss (lose one’s arm) or an interference (to reach into something), but the idiomatic meaning of giving something a try is clear. For example:

“I’d never been skiing before, but I thought I’d chance my arm at it.”

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