Irish words & phrases that baffle New Yorkers

Happy Monday All

It’s the start of another week here in New York City, and although it’s hard to believe, I’m also starting into my SIXTH month here. It’s so crazy how fast the time has gone. But I still love this city as much as I did on the day I landed in January.

New York has so much to offer and is a real melting pot of customs and cultures from all around the world. The Irish in particular are thought of very fondly here, but it is safe to say that some of the ways we speak leave the New Yorkers baffled.

So, I thought I’d share a few instances of our colourful language that are sure to have a New Yorker giving you a wide-eyed stare when you utter them. If you are a New Yorker or are friends with someone who is, maybe this can be a handy guide to know what the hell us Irish are talking about. Let’s go:


What they think: Are you on drugs?

What we mean: Having fun/having a laugh/any news?


What they think: A four wheeled vehicle used for transporting goods

What we mean: A person who is a complete and utter bitch

Ara, sure look it…

What they think: Look at what?

What we mean: That happened, but sure we will carry on. A commonly used phrases that fits in any Irish conversation

I will, yeah!

What they think: Oh great, you can do it.

What we mean: No, I won’t.

Go way outta that!

What they think: You want me to leave?

What we mean: Are you joking?/are you serious?/ I can’t believe it

A Ride

What they think: A car, or taking a lift with somebody

What we mean: A very attractive person

Gimme that Yoke

What they think: Yellow part of an egg, the yolk

What we mean: Pass me that thing (could literally be anything)


What they think: Your ass

What we mean: Vagina (how did this mix up even happen? 🤣)


What they think: People who work in restaurants running food to tables

What we mean: Running shoes, or sneakers as they are know here.


What they think: Somebody who jumps

What we mean: An article of clothing for the upper body. Commonly know as a sweater here

The wooden spoon

What they think: A wooden cooking implement

What we mean: An instrument that puts the fear of god in you, used for keeping bold children in line


What they think: ???

What we mean: A stroller/pram


What they think: Move something

What we mean: Kissing, usually at teenage discos, similar to the American making out.


What they think: Putting something under water

What we mean: Heating the water. To be used sparingly. Leaving on when you leave the house is nearly punishable by death.

Far from x they were reared

What they think: ???

What we mean: They have no right to be high and mighty given where they came from


What they think: Ideas

What we mean: Ideas above your station. Closely related to ‘far from x they were reared.’

Put that in the press

What they think: What am I pressing?

What we mean: Put that in the cupboard


What they think: To kill

What we mean: I’m so hungry I’d eat that really fast/Trying to find something was very difficult

Mar dhea

What they think: ???

What we mean: Yeah right/as if


What they think: ???

What we mean: Idiot

A dose

What they think: A measure of medicine

What we mean: A really annoying person

Cute Whoooore (pronounced like sewer)

What they think: An attractive prostitute

What we mean: A sneaky or cheeky person


What they think: Fuel for the car

What we mean: That’s hilarious


What they think: A condom

What we mean: An eraser


What they think: ???

What we mean: All crisps, no matter the brand


Got any more that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!


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