Definition of Irish in US English:



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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Either way, all Irish people spoken to yesterday were affected in some way by the atrocities.’
    • ‘It is in the early stages of proceedings and has been communicated to the Irish government.’
    • ‘He occasionally hints that the Irish state might have been a bit less troubled if only women had been given a larger role.’
    • ‘As the long delay makes plain, in the king's eyes there were matters much more urgent than the Irish question.’
    • ‘Did the Irish pizza industry develop in response to the potato famine?’
    • ‘The mayor say he will commission a separate study into the needs of Lewisham's Irish community.’
    • ‘I would assume that this means that there is no direct threat to any Irish jobs.’
    • ‘Clearly the provisions of the Irish orders do relate to parental responsibility.’
    • ‘The proceeds raised will be directed through the Irish aid agencies towards relief work in Sri Lanka.’
    • ‘Initial reports suggest it was a nail bomb, and that there is no apparent link with any Irish terrorist group.’
    • ‘He rattled the unions and disturbed the complacency that envelops Irish education.’
    • ‘Negotiation and mediation seems to be solving the Irish question albeit very slowly.’
    • ‘This is likely why the Irish response to immigration has been so conflicted thus far.’
    • ‘You can call time on an old Irish tradition, apparently, but without new voices some things will never change.’
    • ‘When Clayton is first introduced he is a slightly creepy, effete cowboy with a pronounced Irish accent.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Even more urgent was the need to find a response to Irish demands for independence.’


  • 1The Goidelic language that is the first official language of the Republic of Ireland.

    • ‘Who should I speak with if I was thinking of translating the book into Irish?’
    • ‘Irish is known as Irish, Gaelic or Irish Gaelic in English.’
    • ‘Irish is quite a different language and we require key documents translated into Irish.’
    • ‘Microsoft Office programmes such as Word and Excel will also be translated into Irish.’
    • ‘Higher maths was good and the sciences and the languages, Irish especially was very good.’
    • ‘There are also newspapers and websites exclusively in Irish Gaelic.’
    • ‘The language is sometimes referred to as Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, or Erse, but in Ireland it is simply called 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’
    • ‘The Book of Common Prayer was first translated into Irish Gaelic in 1608, and has gone through several editions and printings since then.’
    • ‘Irish, also known as Irish Gaelic or Gaelige, is spoken today by approximately one million people worldwide.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He said he thought Irish was a great language and had great commitment to it.’
    • ‘Such an arrangement would address the practical modalities of translation for Irish.’
    • ‘But why did the Nazi radio bosses in Berlin bother to put out programmes in Irish at all?’
    • ‘The native language of Ireland is Irish Gaelic.’
    • ‘The Gaelic notes in the Book of Deer were penned by a scribe whose native language was Irish.’
    • ‘For the first year the column was mainly in Irish, but it drifted into English and continued thus exclusively.’
    • ‘She was a fluent Irish speaker and she also taught Irish in St Paul's in Monasterevin.’
    • ‘Cathal writes in Irish but read the translations in English as well as the original in Irish.’
  • 2as plural noun the IrishThe people of Ireland; Irish people collectively.

    • ‘The next few weeks and months will be interesting as all eyes will be on the Irish.’
    • ‘Dense fog followed by weeks of heavy and persistent rain made this one of the worst summers on record for the Irish.’
    • ‘Could there be a more compelling symbol of the almost spiritual place sport holds for the Irish?’
    • ‘The ball stays in the Aussie forward line except for a brief foray forward by the Irish.’
    • ‘Grey was recalled after two years, charged with cruel and dishonourable conduct against the Irish.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Traditionally, the British are great actors, as are the Scottish and the Irish.’
    • ‘There was a revolt by women for the vote, by the Irish for independence and, above all, by workers.’
    • ‘A similar strategy was also employed against England's other national enemy, the Irish.’
    • ‘Cromwell was deeply influenced by the conduct of the Irish in the Ulster rebellion of 1641.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His defeat of King Ædan at Degsastan in 603 effectively subdued the Irish in Scotland.’
    • ‘It was a sequence of results that was very much out of context for the Irish.’
    • ‘Those working with elderly Irish in need in Britain say the funding is woefully inadequate.’
    • ‘Banning people from licensed premises is what the English used to do to the Irish.’
    • ‘Williams watched his side beaten well by the Irish on Saturday and admits there is a huge gulf between the teams.’
    • ‘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.’


  • get one's Irish up

    • Cause one to become angry.

      ‘if someone tries to make me do something I don't want to do, it gets my Irish up’
      • ‘Just a few days before St. Patrick's Day, a Vermont woman got her Irish up before the state supreme court over her right to include the word ‘Irish’ on her license plate.’
      • ‘When someone shouted, ‘Jimmy got his Irish up,’ everyone knew that trouble was just around the corner.’
      • ‘It takes a lot to get my Irish up but up it is.’
      • ‘I got my Irish up to fight back; fortunately, someone was holding me back, laughing.’
      • ‘Yes, Big Bill has managed to really get my Irish up a couple of times over the course of the past six months or so.’
      • ‘What gets my Irish up about all this of course is how he was attacked when he died.’
      • ‘It was at this point that Higgins got his Irish up then took aim at the referee's solar plexus with a right jab.’
      • ‘Well in that case, here's something that might get your Irish up.’
      • ‘Fortunately or unfortunately, I got his Irish up when I compared his behavior to the tobacco company executives swearing that they had no idea that nicotine was addictive.’
      • ‘Early in my blogging career I used to get my Irish up too much.’


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