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“Ara look at the poor craythur” – a dictionary of odd Irish words

Woejus, cat, quare… they’re all here.
Oct 21st 2012, 11:00 AM 41,859 56

WE IRISH ARE famous for having the gift of the gab.

We also have our own charming way of expressing ourselves, from saying something is “cat” to finishing a sentence with “inallandanyways”. Here’s a handy breakdown of what it all means…

  • Ara

Ara is used to give an indication that you’re really not too fussed about something. It can also be used to start pretty much any sentence:

Ara I might go. I might not.
  • Ara Musha

When ara is used in conjunction with musha then it means something else entirely. It’s a term of endearment or affection:

Ara musha you poor craythur, you’ll be grand
  • Craythur

There is a world of difference between calling someone a “creature” and calling someone a “craythur”. A craythur deserves some kind of sympathy or empathy, and the word is usually preceeded by “poor”:

The poor craythur fell into the ditch, but she’ll be grand.
  • Sca

Sca is akin to ‘craic’ or ‘news’.

Any sca?
  • Dowtcha bai

A Cork saying, dowtcha boy basically means “well done” or more literally “I don’t doubt you, boy”:

I got the shift last night
Dowtcha bai!

Image: Shutterstock

  • Woejus

Something that is particularly crap, or “cat”:

That new Crystal Swing song is only woejus.
  • Cat

Something that is particularly crap or woejus. It is a contraction of the saying “cat melodeon” or “cat melojen”.

Your one’s outfit is totally cat.
  • Quare

Putting “quare” before a word adds emphasis. It’s most often heard coming out of a Carlow person’s mouth:

That batter burger is quare tasty.
  • Yerra

Similar to “ara”, the word “yerra” indicates that you really couldn’t give a toss about something:

Did your one ring you after you got the shift?
Yerra she was cat anyway.
  • Inallandanyways

A more complicated way of saying ‘anyway’, usually heard in the Dublin area:

I’m going to go and see him meself inallandanyways.

13 words you’ll never hear outside of Ireland>

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Emer McLysaght

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