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847 634 0339

The Irish Boutique is an Irish import store that has been located in the Chicago land area for over 40 years.  The shop stocks a variety of products ranging from Irish jewelry, crystal, china, food, sweaters, caps, t-shirts and a wide variety of Irish gifts. 

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5 Words of Irish Slang

john barry

Outside of Paul's Family's store in County Louth

Outside of Paul's Family's store in County Louth

The past week or so has been quiet in my kitchen and happily busy everywhere else. So no food for today.  As a lover of language (I majored in linguistics in college) I thought I’d share some Irish slang with you. Hopefully you will have a chance to use these terms on your next trip to Ireland.  

1.  Lash

This word can be used to mean a few different things.  It can be used to describe heavy rain as in “Heavy rain lashes Dublin”. It can also be used to refer to making an attempt at something, as in “I’ll give it a lash”.  Finally, it is commonly used in the phrase “on the lash” which means to go out drinking.  

2.  Jo Maxi

This term is used to refer to a taxi. This is something called rhyming slang, a type of slang that replaces words with rhyming words or phrases. Jo Maxi t is also the name of a late 80’s early 90’s Irish TV show that was named after this Dublin slang term for taxi.

I'm sure everyone who has ever visited Dublin has some version of this photo in their archives.

I'm sure everyone who has ever visited Dublin has some version of this photo in their archives.

3.  Yoke

An all purpose noun for something whose name escapes you, like thingamamob, watchamacallit, doodad, etc. Yoke can refer to an object or an indescribable person. Yoke can even replace the “thing” or the “bob” in other similar terms as in  yokeamajig, thingamayoke or yokeamabob.

4.  Jackeen

According to Wikipedia, this term is a mildly pejorative term for someone from Dublin, Ireland.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as "A contemptuous designation for a self-assertive worthless fellow," citing the earliest documented use from the year 1840. The term comes from the Union Jack (As Dubliners were considered the most English of all the Irish) combined with the Irish diminutive suffix "-een" (meaning little).

Look at all that green. They don't call it the Emerald Isle for nothing. 

Look at all that green. They don't call it the Emerald Isle for nothing. 

5.  Hames

Hames actually refers to two curved pieces of iron or wood forming or attached to the collar of a draft horse, to which the traces are attached. In Ireland, hames is used in the phrase “make hames of” which means to make a mess of something, usually due to carelessness, sloppiness or ineptitude. Often times hames is preceded by an intensifying or modifying term.  A soccer player who missed an easy opportunity to score may be said to have made a right hames of it.  Or, a complete hames of it, a fierce hames of it, an awful hames of it and so on.

For all those mother's out there. I hope you have an especially wonderful weekend full of appreciation for all that you do. If the rain is lashing down and your husband makes a terrible hames of the whole occasion, just chalk it up to miscommunication and don't let it get you down. Mother's are magic. And a special thanks to my Momma, the most magical of them all. I love you Mom!