Irish Slang – Fanny

old Irish man laughingSo you think you’ve got a handle on the English language. So ya think you’ll take a holiday (that’s vacation to you, Mr & Mrs USA) to Ireland and understand what folks are saying.

Think again.

Although Ireland is a predominately english-speaking nation, there will be moments when you’ll wonder whether that’s true or not. It’s not the Irish language, but the way the Irish use English that is truly unique. One of the things that tickled my ears the most when I first moved here and that tends to confuse our stateside guests is some of the slang. Below is the twenty-ninth installment in my series of common Irish slang that used to confuse us when we first arrived.

Fanny – A very rude word for a woman’s private parts.


Never use this word in polite company as it does NOT mean your gluteus maximus out here. In Ireland, “fanny” is so rudely specific, it’s pretty much treated like a curse word.

Poor, oblivious US tourists come to Ireland every day and refer to the “fanny pack” they’re wearing unknowingly causing the Irish people around them to blush and/or giggle every time they hear it said. The anglicization of “fanny pack” is “bum bag,” by the way.

When an Irish friend came to visit me in the bay area he could not get enough photos of the exterior of a restaurant featuring an enormous statue of a woman holding a plate of hamburgers. The California hamburger chain was called, of course, Fat Fanny’s. Hee hee hee.