Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Brilliant Irish Words

The Irish language is difficult for English speakers to master. The grammar is complex and it places the verb, rather than the subject, at the head of the clause. The Irish alphabet consists of just 18 letters, so words are often pronounced completely differently from what an English speaker might expect. But the vocabulary is colourful and contains some real gems:


BOGÁN (“BOH-GAWN”)
A bogán is an egg without a shell, although the word can also be used of soft, unsteady ground, as well as mushy, overcooked food—and, by extension, a spineless person.

MAOLÓG (“MAY-LOAG”)
When you fill something up to the brim but then keep on adding more, the part that lies heaped above the top of the container is the maológ. The same word is also used for someone who sticks out from a crowd, or for a small knoll or hill in an otherwise flat expanse of land.

POCLÉIMNIGH (“POH-CLAIM-NEE”)
Pocléimnigh is closest in meaning to English words like “frolicking” or “gambolling.” It literally means “buck-jumping,” and is a one-word name for an energetic, excitable leap into the air, or a jump for joy.

SABHSAÍ (“SAWH-SEE”)
Someone who works outside no matter how bad the weather is a sabhsaí.

STRÍOCÁLAÍ (“SHTREE-CARE-LEE”)
Stríocálaí literally means “scratcher” or “scraper” in Irish, but can be used figuratively to describe someone who works hard but is not particularly well-skilled.

More: Mental Floss 

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