St Patrick\’s Day – 7 words the Irish gave to English & the world

The Irish have given many things to the world, including words. To celebrate St. Patrick\’s Day, City Language School wanted to show you some of the many words we gave the English language and where they came from. If you\’d like to come to Ireland and learn more about our great country please have a look at the courses we offer.

Happy St. Patrick\’s Day!

Boycott stop commercial or social relations with a person as a punishment or protest.

About 140 years ago a man in Mayo named Charles Boycott was very mean to his tenants. He was so mean that people in the shops and pubs stopped serving him and nobody spoke to him. They ‘boycotted’ him and the name has stuck.

People are boycotting the shop because they are selling something we don\’t like.


Clocka machine that tells time

The Irish words for bell claggan or clocca are where the word clock is derived from.


Galorea lot of of/plenty

This fantastic word comes from the Irish go leor meaning a lot.

There were sweets galore at the party!



This is another word that comes from Irish. The gob in Irish is a bird’s beak but in English slang it is a mouth.

Shut your gob! is quite a common phrase.

This cute puffin has a beautiful beak


Hooliganthug/messer/violent person

Hooligan comes from a fictional family named in a song. The family were called the O’Hooligans and they were rowdy and aggressive.

The hooligans took over the stadium and started breaking seats.


Whiskeya golden alcoholic drink

‘Whiskey’ is the English interpretation of the old Irish name for the beverage, ‘uisce beatha‘ – meaning ‘water of life’.

Glendalough is a famous Irish whiskey


Trousers – clothes you wear on your legs

The Irish invented trousers or trouzes as they used to be called. This word comes from the Celtic words triubhas.

I put my trousers on backwards this morning!