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Posted on24 March 2015

Words used in English, picked up from the Irish Language

Irish Language Atlas TranslationsSt Patrick’s Day may have been and gone for another year, but the impact of the Irish language on English endures.

Take a look at this list of 10 words that Livemocha have put together, to see some examples of how the English language has borrowed from Irish.

Bog – an area of wet, spongy ground; a marsh
Example: It’s best to go around the bog. If you try to walk through it, you’ll likely get stuck.

Boycott – to refuse to buy, use, or participate in something as a form of protest
Example: I have been boycotting that store for years because the owners treat their workers poorly.

Galore – a great quantity; in abundance
Example: There were all types of desserts at the party: cake, pies, and ice cream galore.

Gob – a lump of something
Example: The baby has gobs of mashed peas in his hair and all over his face.

Hooligan – a young person (usually male) who causes trouble, sometimes breaking the law
Example: Some hooligans were throwing eggs at houses in the neighborhood last night.

Phony – not real; fake
Example: Andrew made up a phony story about a traffic jam when his parents asked why he was late.

Slew – a large number
Example: Smartphones have a slew of features that are not available on basic phones.

Slogan – a memorable phrase used to market products or services
Example: Nike’s slogan is “Just Do It.”

Smithereens – tiny pieces
Example: The bomb exploded, blowing the car to smithereens.

Whiskey – a strong alcoholic drink
Example: An Irish coffee is a drink made with coffee, sugar, cream, and whiskey.

If you can think of any other examples of words which derive from another language, we’d love to hear them!

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