Irish Slang – Punter

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

Punter – Your average paying customer.

In the states, a punt is something you do to a ball. It took be quite a while to realise that Irish folks were not referring to some vague sports figure when they said things like, “Your average punter.”

This word is used quite frequently in Ireland to describe people in pubs or an audience member at a sports match. Its usage can bleed over into a term referring to people in general. The word comes from the name for the old Irish currency – the punt was the basic unit of currency in Ireland, just like the dollar
would be in the states (not to be confused with the British “pound,” which the “punt” often is).