9 Irish Slang Terms To Improve Your Internship

by Kelli Mutchler

Legend. Savage. Grand-like. The Irish may speak English, but their version is so full of slang that you need a dictionary to decipher the sentences. Conversations in an office will naturally be slightly more formal than those at the pub, but there are still a few bits and bobs you should know to fit in with coworkers during your internship in Ireland. These words and phrases will help you better understand the manager and the environment of your Irish internship.

Page of a dictionary

1. CV – Curriculum Vitae

Like a resume, this document lists skills and previous employment experiences. But unlike a resume, a CV also emphasizes educational experiences: degrees, additional certifications, publications, and presentations. Because the CV holds more detailed information, it will be a page or two longer than the brief resume used in job applications.

2. Certs – Educational Tests

Unlike most North Americans, many European students, Irish included, must specify their studies from an early age. These choices are fortified by several certs through secondary education, and mean students don’t have the freedom to change majors or degree choices halfway through their university or college career.

If you are interning with other Irish students or young adults, they are most likely working to further a future that has been decided years before.  

3. Uni – University

Not to be confused with college, which is typically a technical or two-year school, university refers to a four-year program. Some Irish will use the term college to refer to the physical campus of a university:  “I was at college this morning…”

4. Slagging/Taking The Piss – Teasing

It’s not uncommon for co-workers to engage in a bit of joking, or witty banter, with each other.  Few subjects are off limits, and none are above a good punch line. This may seem politically incorrect to interns who are used to a more formal working environment. Understand that an overly-defensive or sensitive reaction can result in further slagging. However, the Irish humor is well-intentioned and rarely meant to hurt feelings.

5. Your One/Your Man – The Main Person In A Story

Irish businesses tend to be smaller and more communal than their North American and European counterparts. A manager or boss may know every staff member by his or her first name, and treat everyone with equal respect – and teasing. In turn, this means that staff members may refer to their superiors in terms that would be considered too casual or disrespectful in other working environments.    

Tralee Bay, Ireland

Tralee Bay, Ireland

6. How’d You Get On? – How Did It Go?   

In everyday conversation, this question is similar to asking “How are you?” or “How have you been?”  When asked in an office environment, it can also refer to business meetings, presentations, and events. While the question can be asked of one person, the Irish are a highly communal society and value the success of the group over an individual. Rather than answer with a personal response, “I did quite well,” it is better to answer with information about the office, team, or company as a whole.

7. A Round – One For Everyone Present

Whether using this in the office lunchroom to grab your co-workers a cup of tea, or offering to buy a beer for everyone after a stressful day, the Irish show their community spirit by shouting, “A round!”  It’s unspoken but understood that if one person gets hot drinks at the 2:00 p.m break, someone else will organize it next time.

8. What’s The Craic? – What’s The News/Gossip?  

Again, the Irish office can be a close-knit, informal place where staff members want to talk about your mother’s brother’s foot fungus, not to be nosey, but simply because they’re interested. While this may seem intrusive to some interns, understand that such gossip is usually sincere and is seen to strengthen the cohesiveness of the office.

9. Dosser – Lazy/Not Working At A Job

An intern will notice that the Irish don’t hold back. From playful slagging, to travel and work assignments, they tend to jump right in! Hard work is an asset to any office, but over-achievers who focus more on individual accolades than staff success will be in for some heavy slagging.  The same will occur if an intern is seen as a dosser who doesn’t pull their weight. Find that comfortable place between the two, and your placement will be a deadly (ideal) experience!