Irish Slang – Doctor’s Surgery

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-third in a series I’ve been publishing of some common Irish slang that used to confuse us when we first arrived.

Doctor’s Surgery – Doctor’s office.

An Irish Doctor’s surgery has nothing to do with surgeons or operations. It’s a standalone office where a private Doctor conducts his practice. It may have a waiting room, offices and an examination room, but that’s about it. It is rarely even near a hospital, more likely to be found in the middle of town somewhere. A doctor’s surgery in Ireland is where people go visit their General Practitioner for helath check-ups and the like. This can be supremely confusing and a little bit scary for folks not familiar with this use of the word “surgery.” For example:

My phone rang one Saturday evening with a call from the states, but not an area code I recognised:

“Hello, Sean?” It was Kuch, big D’s fiancee in New Jersey. She sounded in a panic.

“Hey – what’s up, are you okay?”

“Not too great – I just got a call from a stranger – big D’s in the hospital, do you know what happened?! He didn’t call me or anything, do you think he got in a car accident or something?!”

“What? Kuch, Big D is in Sean’s Bar, I just saw him there. What are you talking about? Who called you?”

“This girl just called me and said that she found his phone outside of the surgery. She saw that my number was the last one called and so she rang me to find out who’s phone it was.”

“Woah, slow down. Some girl rang you up and said she found big D’s phone outside an operating room?”

“Yeah. I figure maybe it fell out of his pocket or something when he was being wheeled in.” Suddenly, it dawned on my what had happened.

“Kuch, did she maybe say ‘the doctor’s surgery’?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Kuch, a ‘doctor’s surgery’ in Ireland is just a GP’s office. Big D probably dropped his phone on the sidewalk while he was walking by.”

“WHAT?! He’s NOT in surgery?”

“No, he’s having a pint. I left him in the bar not five minutes ago.”

I wasn’t privy to the conversation where Kuch berated big D over losing his phone . . . and I’d say I’m the better for it. *grin*