St. Patrick’s Day is probably the least stressful of all holidays with the simple agenda of wearing green, kissing your fellow (temporary) Irish relations, and enjoying a pint or two. But if you’re looking for another puzzling way to honor the missionary work of a Catholic saint, why not throw some words into your conversation that have origins in Irish or Gaelic (the parent language of Irish). Here are 10 good ones!
Bog – From the Irish word for bulrushes (bogluachair) that are often found growing in boggy areas.
Banshee – From the Irish bean sidhe (woman of fairy land).
Dig – Not as in moving dirt, but hippie-speak meaning “to understand” (e.g. I dig you man). The Irish word is tuig.
Galore – From the Irishgo leor meaning "until plenty.”
Hooligan – From the Irish family name, Ó hUallacháin.
Kerfuffle – An alteration of carfuffle, from Scottish Gaelic ‘cearr’ meaning wrong or awkward with addition of fuffle meaning to become disheveled.
Phony – From the Irish fainne which means “ring” and is in reference to the brass ring used by swindlers who passed it off as gold.
Smithereens – A variant pronunciation of the Irish smidiríní.
Slogan –The origin is sluagh-ghairm which means "a battle-cry used by Gaelic clans."
Whiskey – From the Irish uisce beatha meaning "water of life.”
Of course, if you ever find yourself in a situation that requires a greater command of a foreign language than a few choice words, you can turn to Translators USA. We have interpreters galore—more than 9,000 in fact—who can assist you with quick, accurate translations of documents, presentations and conversations in more than 150 languages. No matter what your linguistic challenge, you can bet we’ll dig it.