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  • Forfatterens bildeRebekah Olson

Irish Words Missing from English

Irish is a beautiful language whose long and rich history has given it time to accumulate so many fascinating words English really should consider borrowing. In honor of St. Patrick's Day this year, below are just a few of my favorites.

Giant's Causeway, Ireland
Giant's Causeway, Ireland

Quick Facts

☘️ About 1.2 million people speak Irish, most of whom live in Ireland.

☘️ Irish is a Celtic language (e.g., Welsh, Scots, etc.) with three main dialects (Ulster, Connaught, and Munster) with many sub-dialects

☘️ The Irish alphabet has just 18 letters, which can be combined to make new sounds (ex: b + h = v)

Ragaireacht (v.) ra-gerr-akt: late-night wandering or sitting up talking long into the week morning hours


Aduantas (n.) ah-dwon-tes: that feeling of unease or anxiety caused by being somewhere new, or by being surrounded by people you don't know


Aiteall (n.) at-ell: a spell of lovely weather between rain showers


Amainiris (n.) arm-an-erish: the day after the day after tomorrow (always wanted a word for that!


Plobaireacht (v.) ploh-ber-acht: when you're crying and trying to speak at the same time but can't quite manage


Bealaiste (n.) bay-al-ash-tuh: the drink or toast that seals the deal, sláinte!


If you'd like to hear how these words are pronounced, check out the University of Dublin's awesome synthesizer here.

Since it has so many widely-varying dialects, Irish has no received pronunciation (or, standard way of writing its pronunciation), making it difficult to write its sounds in English. The synthesizer actually has three dialect options so you can hear the differences and pick your favorite!


A very happy St. Patrick's Day to all (I'll be celebrating at this virtual Flogging Molly concert meself) :D

☘️ Éirinn go Brách! ☘️

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