Definition of Irish in English:



  • 1Relating to Ireland, its people, or the Celtic language traditionally and historically spoken there.

    • ‘It is in the early stages of proceedings and has been communicated to the Irish government.’
    • ‘This is likely why the Irish response to immigration has been so conflicted thus far.’
    • ‘The mayor say he will commission a separate study into the needs of Lewisham's Irish community.’
    • ‘The proceeds raised will be directed through the Irish aid agencies towards relief work in Sri Lanka.’
    • ‘You can call time on an old Irish tradition, apparently, but without new voices some things will never change.’
    • ‘He rattled the unions and disturbed the complacency that envelops Irish education.’
    • ‘Initial reports suggest it was a nail bomb, and that there is no apparent link with any Irish terrorist group.’
    • ‘Clearly the provisions of the Irish orders do relate to parental responsibility.’
    • ‘Even more urgent was the need to find a response to Irish demands for independence.’
    • ‘When Clayton is first introduced he is a slightly creepy, effete cowboy with a pronounced Irish accent.’
    • ‘I would assume that this means that there is no direct threat to any Irish jobs.’
    • ‘As the long delay makes plain, in the king's eyes there were matters much more urgent than the Irish question.’
    • ‘The news has been greeted with predictable dismay by the Irish branch of the Eurovision body.’
    • ‘The Irish criticism of the British position is not as strong as that of other countries.’
    • ‘Negotiation and mediation seems to be solving the Irish question albeit very slowly.’
    • ‘Either way, all Irish people spoken to yesterday were affected in some way by the atrocities.’
    • ‘He occasionally hints that the Irish state might have been a bit less troubled if only women had been given a larger role.’
    • ‘Did the Irish pizza industry develop in response to the potato famine?’
    • ‘Critics and reviewers previously found ways to praise Irish films while the general public ignored them.’
    • ‘After war ended in November 1918, the Irish question was to rear its head again.’
    1. 1.1offensive (of a statement or action) paradoxical; illogical or apparently so.


mass noun
  • 1The Celtic language of Ireland.

    • ‘The Book of Common Prayer was first translated into Irish Gaelic in 1608, and has gone through several editions and printings since then.’
    • ‘Higher maths was good and the sciences and the languages, Irish especially was very good.’
    • ‘Irish, also known as Irish Gaelic or Gaelige, is spoken today by approximately one million people worldwide.’
    • ‘The language is sometimes referred to as Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, or Erse, but in Ireland it is simply called Irish.’
    • ‘Such an arrangement would address the practical modalities of translation for Irish.’
    • ‘Cathal writes in Irish but read the translations in English as well as the original in Irish.’
    • ‘Irish is known as Irish, Gaelic or Irish Gaelic in English.’
    • ‘For the first year the column was mainly in Irish, but it drifted into English and continued thus exclusively.’
    • ‘Microsoft Office programmes such as Word and Excel will also be translated into Irish.’
    • ‘Irish is quite a different language and we require key documents translated into Irish.’
    • ‘He said he thought Irish was a great language and had great commitment to it.’
    • ‘The Gaelic notes in the Book of Deer were penned by a scribe whose native language was Irish.’
    • ‘Please contact a Program Coordinator for the schedule of the next Irish Gaelic course.’
    • ‘British ambassador to Ireland Stewart Eldon is not averse to speaking a few words of Irish.’
    • ‘But why did the Nazi radio bosses in Berlin bother to put out programmes in Irish at all?’
    • ‘There are also newspapers and websites exclusively in Irish Gaelic.’
    • ‘She was a fluent Irish speaker and she also taught Irish in St Paul's in Monasterevin.’
    • ‘The native language of Ireland is Irish Gaelic.’
    • ‘Who should I speak with if I was thinking of translating the book into Irish?’
    • ‘Irish Gaelic has been in decline since the 1840's but progress in recent decades has ensured that it will continue as a living language for many years to come’
  • 2as plural noun the IrishThe people of Ireland; Irish people collectively.

    • ‘Could there be a more compelling symbol of the almost spiritual place sport holds for the Irish?’
    • ‘It was a sequence of results that was very much out of context for the Irish.’
    • ‘The Victorian idea of the Irish was racist and put the Irish at the bottom of the evolutionary pyramid.’
    • ‘Our fourth game was that exciting single-point loss at home to the Irish.’
    • ‘Grey was recalled after two years, charged with cruel and dishonourable conduct against the Irish.’
    • ‘Cromwell was deeply influenced by the conduct of the Irish in the Ulster rebellion of 1641.’
    • ‘The next few weeks and months will be interesting as all eyes will be on the Irish.’
    • ‘A similar strategy was also employed against England's other national enemy, the Irish.’
    • ‘His defeat of King Ædan at Degsastan in 603 effectively subdued the Irish in Scotland.’
    • ‘Banning people from licensed premises is what the English used to do to the Irish.’
    • ‘Those working with elderly Irish in need in Britain say the funding is woefully inadequate.’
    • ‘If any group of white ethnics should have a sense of what it is to be an outsider and underdog, it should be the Irish.’
    • ‘It's not the first time he's abused freedom of speech for racist purposes - ask the Irish.’
    • ‘The Irish Post reflects the lives of and is the voice of the Irish in Britain.’
    • ‘It also aided their hopes of assimilating the Irish in Scottish society and extending their own influence.’
    • ‘Williams watched his side beaten well by the Irish on Saturday and admits there is a huge gulf between the teams.’
    • ‘There was a revolt by women for the vote, by the Irish for independence and, above all, by workers.’
    • ‘Dense fog followed by weeks of heavy and persistent rain made this one of the worst summers on record for the Irish.’
    • ‘The ball stays in the Aussie forward line except for a brief foray forward by the Irish.’
    • ‘Traditionally, the British are great actors, as are the Scottish and the Irish.’

Irish is now spoken regularly only in a few isolated areas in the west of Ireland, having elsewhere been displaced by English. It is, however, the first official language of the Republic of Ireland and is taught in all state schools. Scottish Gaelic was descended from it


Middle English: from Old English Īr- (stem of Īras ‘the Irish’ and Īrland ‘Ireland’, obscurely related to Hibernian)+ -ish.