3 Words That Have a Different Meaning in Ireland

Irish people speak English, but that does not mean that Americans and Irish speak the same language. Countless words are used in their everyday vocabulary that is used in America, but the words take on an entirely different meaning in Ireland.


Giant's Causeway - Summer 2012
Giant’s Causeway – Summer 2012

In the States, rain means precipitation falling from the sky usually in large flood-like quantities. In Ireland, rain means pesky water falling from the sky usually penetrating through every defense mechanism possible still soaking you to the bone.

I have discussed rain in great length thus far in my column, but I cannot stress enough the difference in rain here. Rain, no matter the thickness of the droplets, is considered to be just as foul and terrible as the day before. The wind can thrash rain into your face and turn your umbrella inside out, and the sun does not and will come out ten minutes later to dry the scene. No, rain in Ireland means a consistent never-ending battle between man and precipitation invading their personal lives and ruining them for eternity.



In America, walking means a leisurely stroll through a neighborhood or trail, and sometimes can be applied to exercise when performed at a fast pace. In Ireland, walking means a mode of transport from one place to another in a matter of time as allowed by pedestrians, crosswalks, and his or her own two feet.

Walking is a loathed formed transport equal to that of a downtown Atlanta commute at rush hour. During peak tourist season, the footpaths of Dublin are crammed street to building with humans walking a pace like that of a tortoise staring aimlessly at the surrounding scenery. On the way to work, locals have no choice but to lower a shoulder and barge through like a wrecking ball. Everything in Dublin City-Center can be reached within a thirty-minute walk. Thirty minutes in Irish walking pace is equal to that of a five-minute car ride with traffic. A two-mile distance to the best pub is diminished by the idea of having to pay to ride the bus or pay for a taxi. A little extra walking at the end of a workweek burns off the extra calories consumed in said pub.


Southern Americans use the word tea when speaking of an iced drink with so much sugar that it has been known to cause kidney stones if consumed too often. In Ireland, tea is a drink consumed at any point of the day and at such alarming rates that local satirical writing has suggested some Irish men and women must bleed tea.

Here tea is served warm to hot with the option of milk, sugar, and other additives. Tea breaks are more common than coffee breaks, and they can be taken at any time in the day that one deems necessary. If I am having a bad day, my Irish co-workers will recommend me to have a cup of tea. The Irish men and women around me gawk at me as I make hot chocolate in the morning. Tea quite possibly runs more fluidly through the country of Ireland than the Rivers Shannon and Liffey combined.

10 thoughts on “3 Words That Have a Different Meaning in Ireland

  1. Rain here in Asia means all kinds too, including thunderstorms which is filled with lightning, thunder, torrential rain and flooding…but I love the concept of tea!!! Cos I don’t drink coffee…hehehe…:)

      1. Yeah, it’s been raining pretty heavily nowadays…hearing thunders can be pretty scary though, especially, when there are lots of lightning around…and I live on a high floor!! Haha…:)

  2. Morgan, War Eagle. We’re planning a trip to Ireland in September. Thank you for the vocabulary lesson.

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