St. Patrick's Day Vocabulary: Words With Irish and Gaelic Roots

March 8, 2016
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17th, but you won't find the words shamrock or leprechaun on this list. Learn these lesser-known words associated with Ireland. Some have Gaelic and Irish roots, and some are words related to Irish culture and history. For more lingo related to the Emerald Isle, read the article: Beyond Shamrocks and Leprechauns
A potato blight in Ireland in the 1840s caused the failure of the food crop that was a main food source for nearly 40% of the population.
"I'd care more about a blight in the potatoes than for all the politics in Europe."
From bogach, which comes from the adjective bog meaning "soft and moist"
The weather has turned against us, and the plains, covered with snow two days ago, have turned to a swampy, shoe-sucking mud bog.
From an English name, one Captain Charles C. Boycott, who refused to lower rents on Irish tenant farmers and was opposed by the Irish Land League in the late 19th Century.
A Roman Catholic bishop in the Philippines this week urged the faithful to boycott Madonna's shows over her "suggestive" performance and "vulgar" clothes.
The word comes from the Gaelic clann, "family" or "offspring," with the Latin root planta, "offshoot."
In the Kennedy clan, each older sibling was made guardian of a younger one.
Although the etymology of this word is disputed, one theory derives it from the Gaelic muigean, which means "disagreeable person".
Do something to improve yourself. Here’s a clue – moping around and being a curmudgeon doesn’t fall into this category.
Ireland is often referred to as the "Emerald Isle" because of its lush, green landscape.
"I want Ireland," he said, "I want emerald green."
The famine which devastated Ireland the mid-nineteenth century led to the mass emigration of Irish people.
Serious drought and barren soil led to waves of emigration throughout history.
The Irish Famine, which occurred from 1845 - 1849, was the worst to occur in Europe in the 19th century.
And the growing influx of immigrants — even before the late-1840s famine in Ireland — was mortifying the city’s Protestant, Anglophile and nativist majority.
From Gaelic gleann, "mountain valley"
The four-mile path undulates through farms and foothills, into canopies of pines and magical green glens.
Probably from a form of the Irish surname "Houlihan."
All World Cup ticket holders are required to obtain a personalized fan-ID, allowing authorities to screen them and keep hooligans away from matches.
From Irish caoinim " I weep, wail, lament."
His keening caterwaul sounds as if he had flicked the ejector switch but forgotten to undo his seat belt.
The lilt a is form of traditional Irish folk music.
Their hits began with the lilting, keeningly romantic Linger, which reached the Top 10 in the US and Ireland, and No 14 in the UK.
The name of this five-line humorous verse is generally accepted as taken from County Limerick in Ireland.
An editor read through submissions for a St. Patrick’s Day limerick contest.
Ireland is has produced some of the greatest modern writers including James Joyce, Jonathan Swift and Anne Enright.
They may be incredible, grotesque, or funny, but they are never common-place: it is this uniqueness that is the great charm of ancient Irish literature.
Mutton stew is a traditional Irish dish made from mature lamb.
The sheep was killed, and produced excellent mutton—not fat indeed, but eatable.
Parades are held on March 17th to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
From sluagh, " a host, a crowd, a multitude."
A slew of food delivery apps and startups have sprung up across the French capital in recent months, and they're impossible to miss.
Smiddereens, from smidirin, which is a form of smiodar, "fragment."
Scientists who tried managing energies of the necessary magnitude often ended up with equipment blown to smithereens and laboratories littered with glass shards.
Ultimately from Gaelic sprédh "cattle, wealth" from what would be plundered on a spree.
But the big driver of America’s five-day shopping spree that starts on Thanksgiving was the mobile phone, not the mall.
One theory of this words' origin derives it from Gaelic arrach, "specter, apparition".
“Don’t tell me you believe in myths of jinn and efrits and wraiths that kidnap children in the night?”

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