Hiberno English: Here\’s D

Every few weeks the good people 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.
This week we\’re having a gawk at the letter \’d\’
Dáil (noun)
The Dáil is the lower chamber of the Irish parliament and as such the most important political institution in the country. Dáil is an Irish word meaning assembly. As you might expect, it is common to see and hear this word in the media.
There was a vote in the Dáil today.
There was plenty of codology in the Dáil today. (please see our last post for the meaning of codology)

A rare photo of the Dáil full of people (see below)


daw (noun)
This is a common term throughout the country to describe someone who is not too clever. According to one source, it again comes from Irish. In this case the Irish spelling is dáigh (but the pronunciation is like the English paw or saw). Often the word brain is added to make the compound noun daw-brain.
There are plenty of daw-brains in the Dáil.
(By the way it\’s worth noting the accent in \’á\’ in the words Dáil and the Irish word dáigh. This accent is called a fada which is another Irish word meaning long. It means long because that\’s exactly what a fada does it makes the vowel sound longer.)

Deadly (adj.)
In Dublin and elsewhere the term deadly is used to express something positive. It\’s more or less the same as cool.
How was last night? Oh it was bleedin\’ deadly man!

dig-out (noun)
The term dig-out was well-known long before it was made famous by a former Irish politician who claimed that a rather large loan he got from some business associates was just a dig-out, a small casual loan…in most cases at least.
He was having a hard time with some finances so I gave him a bit of a dig-out.


\”It was just a dig-out\”

dosser (noun)
A lazy or disinterested person who sometimes likes to distract other people with stupid actions. It is a word that is used in schools quite often to describe schoolboys who can\’t concentrate and constantly try to make jokes.
You\’re a dosser.
There are lots of dossers in the Dáil.

A normal session in The Dáil (see above)

That’s it for this week. We’ll be back next time with the letter E and a look at the word \’eejit\’.
As always we’d like to acknowledge the help of Terence Patrick Dolan’s, A Dictionary of Hiberno-English for this article.