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[ahy-rish] /ˈaɪ rɪʃ/

of, relating to, or characteristic of , its inhabitants, or their language.
the inhabitants of and their descendants elsewhere.
the aboriginal Celtic-speaking people of .
Also called Irish Gaelic. the Celtic language of in its historical or modern form.
Abbreviation: Ir, Ir.
Compare , .
get one’s Irish up, Informal. to become angry or outraged:
Don’t go getting your Irish up over a little matter like that.
of, relating to, or characteristic of Ireland, its people, their Celtic language, or their dialect of English
(informal, offensive) ludicrous or illogical
(functioning as pl) the Irish, the natives or inhabitants of Ireland
another name for Irish Gaelic

c.1200, Irisce, from stem of Old English Iras “inhabitant of Ireland,” from Old Norse irar, ultimately from Old Irish Eriu (accusative Eirinn, Erinn) “Erin,” which is from Old Celtic *Iveriu (accusative *Iverionem, ablative *Iverione), perhaps from PIE *pi-wer- “fertile,” literally “fat,” from root *peie- “to be fat, swell” (see fat (adj.)).

Meaning “temper, passion” is 1834, American English (first attested in writings of Davy Crockett), from the legendary pugnacity of Irish people. Irish-American is from 1832; Irish coffee is from 1950. Wild Irish (late 14c.) originally were those not under English rule; Black Irish in reference to those of Mediterranean appearance is from 1888.


A white person; Gray, ofay: You call all white people Irish? (1990s+ Black street gangs)

Related Terms

get one’s dander up
see: luck of the devil (Irish)


Read Also:

  • Irish-gaelic

    noun 1. (def 4). noun 1. the Goidelic language of the Celts of Ireland, now spoken mainly along the west coast; an official language of the Republic of Ireland since 1921

  • Irishism

    [ahy-ri-shiz-uh m] /ˈaɪ rɪˌʃɪz əm/ noun 1. a custom, manner, practice, idiom, etc., characteristic of the . /ˈaɪrɪˌʃɪzəm/ noun 1. an Irish custom or idiom

  • Irishize

    [ahy-ri-shahyz] /ˈaɪ rɪˌʃaɪz/ verb (used with object), Irishized, Irishizing. (sometimes lowercase) 1. to make , as in character or custom; give an character to.

  • Irish-linen

    noun 1. a fine, high-count linen handmade in Ireland and used for tablecloths, handkerchiefs, doilies, and garment trimmings.

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