Irish Contributions to the English Language

Cathal Ó'Chontúirt

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Most of us would be aware that different political events and there consequences in Irish history have given birth to many words and phrases in the English language.

The most obvious occurrence that comes to mind would be when locals in and around Ballinrobe withdrew services from and ostracized Charles Cunningham Boycott. So successful was their campaign, that it became known as a boycott.

Another instance involving Ireland, though more countries were also involved, was the taxation imposed on both the size and number of windows in a house, which in turn led to the phrase daylight robbery.
 

Colonel Zachariah

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Yer ma...
 

Tadhg Gaelach

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Tory from Tóraidh, as in Tóraíocht Diarmuid agus Gráinne.

Slogan from Slua Ghairm (battle cry)

Bog from Bog (soft)

Plaid from Plaid (a woven cloth)
 

GoogleWasMyIdea

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By Hook or by Crook

This is the story (allegedly) -

"the phrase comes from the names of the villages of Hook Head and the nearby Crooke, in Waterford, Ireland. Hook Head and Crooke are on opposite sides of the Waterford channel and Cromwell (born 1599, died 1658) is reputed to have said that Waterford would fall 'by Hook or by Crooke', that is, by a landing of his army at one of those two places during the siege of the town in 1649/50."
 

Tadhg Gaelach

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The word Ambassador from from the Gallish word Ambiactos, with the same meaning.
 
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Banshee and leprechaun.

Smithereens - many tiny pieces.

Limerick - the poem.

Interestingly, according to Kluge, Irish lent old high German 'clocca' which became 'Klocka', which was then lent to English as 'clock' - an old bell tower from which Irish Missionaries rang bells to summon prayergoers, becoming clock-tower in English.

*Kluge, F. Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache (1989) de Gruyter ISBN 3-11-006800-1
 

GoogleWasMyIdea

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Tuig.

Dig
Oxford dictionary definition: (Informal) Like, appreciate, or understand.
"A slang term that became popular during the late 1960s and the 1970s – even becoming part of the title of a song by The Beatles on their 1970 album Let It Be. The use of the word ‘dig’ to mean to like, appreciate or understand is widely accepted as having derived from the Irish language, specifically from the Irish verb tuig, meaning to understand."
 

Tadhg Gaelach

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The verb "change" has Gallish origins, coming into Latin as Cambire, from a Gallish word related to Irish Cam (bend).
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