Definition of Irish in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈʌɪrɪʃ/


1Relating to Ireland, its people, or the Celtic language traditionally and historically spoken there.
Example sentences
  • Either way, all Irish people spoken to yesterday were affected in some way by the atrocities.
  • Even more urgent was the need to find a response to Irish demands for independence.
  • The Irish criticism of the British position is not as strong as that of other countries.
1.1 offensive (Of a statement or action) paradoxical; illogical or apparently so.


[mass noun]
1 (also Irish Gaelic) The Celtic language of Ireland.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Such an arrangement would address the practical modalities of translation for Irish.
2 (as plural noun the Irish) The people of Ireland; Irish people collectively.
Example sentences
  • A similar strategy was also employed against England's other national enemy, the Irish.
  • It also aided their hopes of assimilating the Irish in Scottish society and extending their own influence.
  • 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.



Example sentences
  • John Hume's brain wave of issuing a certificate of Irishness to the millions of people around the world who claim Irish descent - at a price of course - is pretty ingenious.
  • The fact that ‘we’ were in their country for a few hundred years might be considered a good reason to be thoroughly well acquainted with ‘what Irishness is’.
  • And, in this regard, Harry believed that his Irishness was a help in befriending the Nigerians as it did not carry with it the colonial baggage of the former rulers.


Middle English: from Old English Īr- (stem of Īras 'the Irish' and Īrland 'Ireland', obscurely related to Hibernian) + -ish1.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: Irish

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