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Irish Slang – Your Man

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 sixteenth installment in my series of common Irish slang that used to confuse us when we first arrived.

Your man – The person to which I’m referring.

This is a very Irish turn of phrase that can catch people who have never heard it before a bit off-guard. The first time I heard it, someone was talking to me about country music, something I’m not too keen on, and said, “Your man, Garth Brooks, for example . . . “

For a minute I was mildly offended that, just because I was from the states this Irish guy had lumped me in with Garth Brooks, saying that he was obviously “my man,” when I didn’t even like country music.

Later that day I heard this phrase again when someone pointed out a total stranger to me and said, “Your man over there,” proceeding to tell me about him.

Obviously, this was a turn of phrase we heard SO often that we quickly understood it to mean “that guy” in the third person. An Irishman can be talking about your worst enemy to you and still refer to him as “your man.”

Gender-wise, it’s equally common to refer to a woman in the third person as “your woman.”

An Irish “your man” is nothing to you; he’s just – as Douglas Adams says – “this guy, you know?”