Cork Slang

The content of the attached website was originally published in 1983, in a book entitled A Dictionary of Cork Slang, written by a great Cork historian Seán Beecher.

 A Dictionary of Cork Slang is a collection of those words, not usually found in dictionaries, but which give colour, vigour and individuality to a language. It explains the meanings of the words, gives examples of their usage, and traces their derivations from sources as predictable as the Irish language to such exotic and unexpected ones as Hindustani (the Munster Fusiliers brought words home with them) to Shelta (the language of the Gipsies), English, French, Norse, Dutch, German, etc. There are circa 370 words, about 1,000 derivations and 21 illustrations by the renowned Cork artist William Harrington.

Jimmy Barry Murphy on the Dictionary of Cork Slang:

“In the years I have known the author, the thought of gathering together and eventually publishing the slang words of generations of Corkonians has always been a major ambition of his. Cork, I suppose, in common with other centres of population throughout the world, has its own very distinctive manner of speech, words and phrases which if used outside the Cork area, would be unknown and incomprehensible to most people. Their derivations we now know, thanks to this work, are many and varied, historic and humourous. I am sure that this compilation will be of great amusement and the source of much discussion amongst Cork people wherever they may gather.”

Fair Hill, Cork (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)
Fair Hill, Cork (picture: Cllr Kieran McCarthy)