Irish slang – The Craíc

by Seán on November 20, 2006

by Seán | November 20th, 2006  

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 first in a series I’ll be publishing of some common Irish slang that used to confuse us when we first arrived.

Craíc – Pronounced “crack,” this has to be first word I discuss because it’s used ALL the time. Unlike the others I’ll be discussing, craíc is actually from the Irish language. This word pops up so frequently it can be dizzying, usually in the following ways:

What’s the craíc?
How’s the craíc?
We’ll go for the craíc.
He/she is good craíc.
The craíc was mighty!

To the californian ear it sounds like people are discussing their drug use, but “craíc” is an Irish noun meaning “fun” or “happenings.” Go on, give it a try:

“Howya! Any craíc?”

If you found this post helpful, be sure to check out the rest of our series of Irish Slang.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Irish Pot Heads - Miscellanea
July 21, 2007 at 8:44 pm
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Garret December 3, 2006 at 3:28 am

Hi, Very amusing, especially the gasping article. I\’m Irish and I remember foreigners being confused at the sharp intake of breath thing too. I just thought I\’d mention that craic is spelled \

Meirleach March 22, 2007 at 7:05 am

Whilst talking to someone through the magic of the internets sometime last year, I used the word ‘craic’ and found out that it’s now being used in its Irish meaning in Spain(but being spelt like the drug) :P

Hrm said person probably won’t mind my putting the chat snip up :P

it reminded me of a spanish slang word, spelt crack
means about the same thing as what you said
oh strange.
because craic is pronouced crack…
maybe the spaniards stole it
its really new, probably the last few months
I was confused when I first heard it in spain
“eso es un crack!”
“a what now”

Slowly but surely our influence spreads ;-)

Meirleach March 22, 2007 at 7:08 am

…there were names before all that, so you could actually see who was saying what. but apparently this comment box blanks things inbetween

David August 7, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Crack is actually a Cumbrian word. I peronally don\’t like the pigeon Irish spelling.

Sean Lightholder August 8, 2007 at 2:50 pm

David – news to me! Wikipedia certainly backs you up (in all of its open source glory), but I’d be interested in an Irish language scholar’s opinion. (Anyone? Anyone?)

In any case, I doubt the Irish pigeons are spelling it right. :P

(Perhaps you meant “pidgin?” First off, I find it hard to believe Wikipedia’s claim that craíc only entered the Irish language in the 1960s. I also doubt that its entry was due to a pidgin dialect of Irish.)


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