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If you are easily offended please stop reading now.
OK, the gobshites have gone. The Irish have insults down to a fine art, right? So here are a few modern ones. Fifty Irish insults. A few have even crept into my books. They are only the tip of the iceberg, and mostly one-word ones to get straight to the point rather than the longer put-downs of the Oscar Wilde rapier-wit variety.

Right, here goes (and these are just the mild ones)…

  1. Amadán (Irish for fool or idiot)
  2. Balubas (plural, from a tribe that ambushed and killed Irish peacekeepers in the Congo, the “Niemba Ambush” in 1960)
  3. Biffo (Big Ignorant Fellow From Offaly)
  4. Blow-in (a recent arrival)
  5. Blueshirt (from the shortlived right-wing organisation in the Irish Free State in the 1930s)
  6. Bog-trotter
  7. Bollix
  8. Bowsie
  9. Brit (though even the Brits call themselves that now)
  10. Carrot top (red-haired person)
  11. Clown (as in “You’re some clown”)
  12. Culchie
  13. Cute hoor (note spelling)
  14. Dipstick
  15. Dirtbird
  16. Divil (half insult, half affectionate)
  17. Dope
  18. Eejit
  19. Geebag
  20. Gimp
  21. Gobshite (and Gobdaw)
  22. Gombeen (or Gom)
  23. Gouger
  24. Gowl
  25. Gurrier (origins hard to pinpoint, possibly from the French guerrier for warrior, or the Irish gorraithe for clown, or from the Irish for a hatching hen, or gur cake)
  26. Headtheball (nutter)
  27. Hoor (see “Cute hoor”)
  28. Langer (Cork term for person outside County Cork, noun as opposed to the more adjectival Langers)
  29. Lúdramán (Luder for short)
  30. Maggot (one can also “act the maggot”)
  31. Midget parasite (that’s a rather recent one)
  32. Muck savages (usually plural)
  33. Muppet (not particularly Irish)
  34. Not the full shilling
  35. Only harmless
  36. Plastic Paddy
  37. Politician
  38. Pox
  39. Prick
  40. Sap
  41. Scoby
  42. Shitehawk
  43. Skanger
  44. Sleeveen
  45. Thick (as noun, often pronounced “ya bleedin’ tick” in Dublin; as adjective, “ya thick eejit”)
  46. Toerag
  47. Tool
  48. Tosser
  49. Tosspot
  50. Wagon

Yep, as Samuel Johnson noted back in the 18th century: “The Irish are a fair people – they never speak well of one another.” There are a clatter of books out there about Irish insults, including A Book of Irish Insults by Sean McMahon, Never Throw Stones At Your Mother – Irish Insults and Curses by David Ross, The Feckin’ Book Of Irish Insults For Gobdaws As Thick As Manure And Only Half As Useful by Colin Murphy and Donal O’Dea and, by the same two authors, Now That’s What I Call A Big Feckin’ Irish Book: Jammers with insults, proverbs, family names, trivia, slang (love the short title).

Swearing in Irish

Most of these insults are in English, or at the very most Hiberno-English. So I leave you with a quick guide to how to curse and swear in Irish…

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