Definition of blarney in US English:



  • 1Talk that aims to charm, pleasantly flatter, or persuade.

    ‘he had the “street charm” of an Irish politician, but this blarney concealed his inner self’
    • ‘There is an absence of celebrity backers on the pro side - but there is the fast-talking Irishman driving the Scottish bid team with charm, blarney and bundles of enthusiasm.’
    • ‘The world, for its part, has begun to see what lies underneath the blarney.’
    • ‘That night in the pub, Sean's blarney is on top form.’
    • ‘There was a great deal of blarney spoken about the chances of Irish horses, some of it nonsense and some of it all too true.’
    • ‘To dismiss this work as simple blarney seems extreme.’
    • ‘With his astonishing mix of blarney and brilliance, personal empathy and political calculation, he could have walked off the pages of a southern novel.’
    • ‘I last saw Peggy in late July and she was as enthusiastic as ever - full of that Irish blarney that saw her through her life.’
    • ‘The self-financed record gained unexpected wings from an old Irish charmer, the king of breakfast blarney on the radio.’
    • ‘Like all American real-estate ventures since colonial days, it's a mixture of vision, business, and blarney.’
    • ‘Though he let his natural blarney take him into areas where he should not have gone, there was nothing I could see which was illegal or suggested that he was up to no good.’
    • ‘There was bluster, bluff, and blarney, with everybody trying to talk over everybody else.’
    • ‘There's a difference between artful blarney and honest feedback that's worth being aware of.’
    • ‘He was brilliantly convincing with a strong Irish brogue, righteous indignation when confronted with the insignificance of his rumours, and disarming blarney.’
    • ‘It's a role that comes with certain duties, chief among them to keep the blarney coming until the lights go down.’
    • ‘Just as his Irish father has a bit of the blarney in him, so does he like to talk, too much in fact for his own good.’
    • ‘Certainly, for a man short on blarney and long on awkward reflection, his future plans come as something of a surprise.’
    • ‘Right now you're either dazzling the general populace with brilliance or charming them with blarney.’
    • ‘There are the old women flower sellers searching for the cheapest blossoms that with their blarney must earn them their livelihood.’
    • ‘You'll hear some blarney, but you'll also get a picture of the center that seems pretty true to my sense of it.’
    • ‘He gave a speech on his new charity work, and it was one of those smooth unctuous bits of California blarney no one could make with a straight face today.’
    blandishments, honeyed words, smooth talk, soft words, flattery, cajolery, coaxing, wheedling, compliments
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    1. 1.1 Amusing and harmless nonsense.
      ‘this story is perhaps just a bit of blarney’
      • ‘And this is where the romantic blarney comes in.’
      • ‘He would have much more to be cheerful about and before we knew it he would be full of the blarney, not to mention the Guinness.’
      • ‘It's unfortunate, however, that he has to rely on jaded Irish clichés of booze and blarney to enliven a story that is powerful enough to survive on its own merits.’
      • ‘This sweet, straightforward story has enough Irish charm to overcome the occasional blarney.’
      • ‘I cut through the blarney at the fair to ask a cross-section of tourists who consider themselves aficionados of all things Celtic if they had heard of St Andrew.’
      • ‘That was a load of blarney probably told to her by one of his many enemies to give yet another person reason to kill him.’
      • ‘Amid the usual blarney about fitness tests and winning the flag for the crew, it was quite refreshing, really.’
      • ‘I can imagine other readers who would find it more profound than I do, as well as those who might dismiss it out of hand as just more self-indulgent blarney.’
      • ‘There's probably a wee bit of Irish blarney in that tale - but it's what helps make him a great tour guide.’
      • ‘There was quite a bit of the old blarney left in this extremely complicated New Englandy-Irish lady yet.’
      • ‘Trust the Irish to give it to you straight, with no blarney, when it's something as important as drink.’
      • ‘‘You're full of blarney boy,’ she said with an affectionate pat on the top of his head.’
      • ‘Many supporters have been fooled into thinking the senator was as green as the hills of Kerry but, as it turns out, his Irish ancestry is a load of blarney.’
      • ‘Although he possesses none of the blarney and bluster of his southern Irish contemporaries, the humour is droll, earthy and occasionally laugh-out-loud.’
      • ‘The character was a rollicking success from day one, a marvellous, surreal, genuinely bizarre mix of whimsy, blarney, satire and violence packaged in outrageously funny plots.’
      • ‘My grandfather was an Irishman, full of blarney.’
      • ‘The person who prefers his brand of bilious blarney is probably wondering why this wonderful set wasn't simultaneously released on DVD as well.’
      nonsense, balderdash, gibberish, claptrap, blather, blether, moonshine
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verbblarneyed, blarneying, blarneys

[with object]
  • Influence or persuade (someone) using charm and pleasant flattery.

    • ‘Disguised first as a horse dealer and later as a holy man, he successfully blarneyed his way through regions, which were not a part of British-held India at the time.’
    • ‘Then Liz, coaxed and blarneyed, agreed to start again.’
    • ‘So he blarneyed his way into flight school and a couple of years later flew night missions over Vietnam in an F-4.’
    • ‘My brother, a software writer who had no business here except to root for me, had somehow blarneyed his way into the exclusive zone.’
    • ‘It seems so unfair that he should also have blarneyed his way to getting the fame and the girl and the money all in one sitting.’
    • ‘He had blarneyed the Jaguar driver into taking him along.’
    • ‘Five minutes later, after blarneying the cab driver that this is not what we wanted, we got him to drive to Hard Rock instead.’


Late 18th century: named after Blarney, a castle near Cork in Ireland, where there is a stone said to give the gift of persuasive speech to anyone who kisses it.