Is bludgeon connected with blood or block?

Bludgeon is a short, heavy club which is thicker or loaded at one end. Both OED and Etymonline say “origin unknown”. There are possible Cornish, Celtic, Dutch, cant, Middle French, Irish and Gaelic origins suggested in various sources. OED mentions the possible Cornish, Celtic, Dutch origins and the connection with blood: Not found before the … Read more

Where in Ireland, if anywhere, at the time of James Joyce, would “hoe” and “whore” sound similar enough to pun?

Where in Ireland, if anywhere, at the time of James Joyce (1882 – 1941), would “hoe” and “whore” sound similar enough to pun? This question pertains to Does Joyce, in Finnegans Wake or Ulysses, link the sound form “hoe” to “whore”? from our sister site for Literature. The first issue is rhoticity. While most of … Read more

What is the origin of “deadly” as “excellent” in Irish and Australian English?

I wonder what the origin of "deadly" as "very good" and "excellent" is in Irish and Australian English. For example, a satisfied hotel guest might say, "The staff were very friendly and helpful. The room was really nice and the breakfast was deadly." Actually, many etymology dictionaries like Etymonline only refer to the origin of … Read more

“All hazards and dangers we barter on chance”

This is from the lyrics of "Arthur McBride" by Paul Brady. …“But,“ says Arthur, “I wouldn’t be proud of your clothes For you’ve only the lend of them, as I suppose And you dare not change them one night, for you know If you do, you’ll be flogged in the morning And although that we … Read more

Irish slang word for working and taking state welfare payment

I think I heard this somewhere before. Is there an Irish (British maybe?) word for taking money from the state for unemployment, but then actually working a job secretly on the side. Answer Doing a Nixer. Particularly in Dublin slang. Google will find you many refs, including these. AttributionSource : Link , Question … Read more

How are English forms of Irish names used?

I’ve noticed that many Irish people use both their English and Irish versions of the name. For example, Moya Brennan, born Máire Ní Bhraonáin Can someone tell me what is the official status of these 2 different names? Do both the names appear in the passport/ID or just the Irish, thus making the English variation … Read more

What word(s) do children of English native speakers use for “kid”/”child”/etc

I’m looking for (a) word(s) that is/are perceived to be child’s language by adults, not words used by adults to describe children. What would be fine though are words used by adults when they are faking child’s language, be it in playing with children or in mocking each other. Dialectal words from specific regions (i.e. … Read more

Swear words in common usage by educated people in 1916

What swear words might have been commonly used in conversation (and, in particular, oral argument) in and around 1916, by literate men? As sources from the time are largely written, it is difficult to know whether they accurately reflect how people spoke or whether words that were used in conversation were considered unacceptable in print. … Read more

Why “enough for to fill” instead of “enough to fill” in this sentence?

“I drank enough drink for to fill Galway Bay”. This is from an old Irish drinking song called “Drink it up, men”, by the Dubliners. My question is: Is it a dated construction in Irish English? Is it current usage somewhere in Ireland? Is it (and has it always been) ungrammatical? I’ve edited the … Read more