Every week the good folks at City Language School will take you through some words that the Irish (both the language and people) have given to English. This version of English is known as Hiberno English and while it is not that different from Standard English (Received Pronunciation), there are some curious variations that are unique to our little green island.
It’s week three in the series and therefore the letter…
Culchie (noun) – This is something of a derogatory term for people that come from outside of Dublin. According to A Dictionary of Hiberno-English the root is uncertain. One possibility is that the term is short for agricultural as in farming while another idea is that it refers to a person from Kiltimagh in County Mayo in the west of Ireland (Coillte Mach in Irish).
Clatter (noun/verb) – This is a very common word in Dublin and means to hit someone hard.
‘I clattered him’ or ‘I gave him a good clatter’
Clatter can also be used for car crashes.
‘I clattered into his car’
Clatter (noun) – Yep it’s the same word but in this case it means a large amount.
He made a clatter of money out of the business = He made lots of money out of the business
Cod (noun/verb) – No it’s not the fish instead it’s a trick or a joke or a con. Cod has a lot of different meanings depending on context.
“He sold me this car with a broken door”
“Oh that’s a cod. Bring it back to him”
“They got married last week!”
“You’re codding me” = I don’t believe it!
Stop codding around and get into bed = Stop messing/playing/fooling around and get into bed.
There’s even a scientific term for it. Codology is the practice of codding.
I have had enough of your codology! Stop talking rubbish!
Carry-on (noun) – The meaning of ‘carry-on’ in this context has nothing to do with travelling by plane. It simply means behaviour and usually not the best kind.
“I don’t like that sort of carry-on” = “I don’t like that sort of behaviour”
So now you know the words, what are these two people talking about?
David: “That culchie came to Dublin and earned a clatter of money from some sort of illegal carry-on.”
Brian: “You’re codding me!”
That’s it for this week. We’ll be back next time with the letter D and a look at words such as dig-out. In the meantime, if you bump into Bertie Ahern he might explain
As always we’d like to acknowledge the help of Terence Patrick Dolan’s, A Dictionary of Hiberno-English for this article.