Tue 27 Apr 2010
Yolks were used to make this
As I’ve mentioned before, there are few nationalities in the world more creative in the verbal insults department than the Irish. This knack for clever verbiage also applies to slang words and phrases, so I wanted to share a few of my favorites along with my misunderstandings of them.
Phrase: Cop on
What I Thought It Meant: Something to do with the police or “garda” as they say here, as “cop” is what we call the police in America.
Meaning: Kind of the same as “get with it.” If someone is telling you to “cop on,” they want you to realize something already. Typically used as a verb (“Cop on, you stupid cow!”) it can also be used as a noun, which I find hilarious.
Best Use I’ve Heard so Far: “Daddy can’t buy you cop on!”
What I Thought It Meant: When I first saw a sign that said “Jeggings” in a storefront, I hadn’t the slightest clue as to what this meant.
Meaning: These are a cross between jeans and leggings, known back in the states as “jean leggings.” In typical Irish tradition where everything is shortened into a nickname or catchphrase, they are jeggings. Imagine if J-Lo was instead Jopez or instead of “chillax” (a way of combining “chill” and “relax”) we said “relachill.” It just doesn’t sound right nor does it glide off the tongue the way good nicknames should. Jeggings? Can you think of a word that sounds more jarring (besides the word jarring, that is)?
Verdict: Though the name leaves much to be desired, I love jeggings. Finally I can tuck my jeans into my boots without them bunching up around the knees. So for this reason, and this reason only, I will forgive the God-awful name.
Sammy and Ashling model jeggings
Phrase: Two reds don’t make a right.
What I Thought It Meant: I thought someone was misusing the more common phrase, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Meaning: When I pointed to a red-head guy as a possible match for my equally red-haired friend Aoife recently, her response was, “Two reds don’t make a right.” Though this statement is quite funny, she was dead serious in her sentiment. For some reason, red hair seems to be a sensitive issue with those who have it, which is strange in a country full of “gingers” (a word very much disliked by my friend and her fellow redheads).
Verdict: I’m willing to bet that my friend will end up marrying a redhead. If so, I will get T-shirts made that say “Cop on! Two reds DO make a right!”
What I Thought It Meant: The yellow of an egg, like any normal person would!
Meaning: Pretty much anything and everything. Confused? An example: Instead of saying, “Can you get me that chair over there?” you can say, “Can you get me the yolk over there?” If you point to the chair while saying it, the person you are speaking to should understand. “Yolk” can replace almost any word. “I can’t find that yolk” and “You know, that yolk up there is really bright.” There are creative uses with the word, such as “That yolkie thing that she brought over the other day” or “What was that yolk yolk?” (As if the redundant use of an already-vague term will somehow clarify things).
Verdict: Eggs everywhere are disgruntled at the flagrant use of the word.
What I Thought It Meant: Not subject to adjustment, fixed. As in “The car door is locked so you can’t open it.”
Meaning: The state of being really drunk. Example: “He’s completely locked out of his head!” Needless to say, this word gets a lot of use in Ireland because people here are drunk a lot. I don’t really understand how the word fits with the meaning, and no one else seems to know either. Maybe it’s because people who are drunk feel trapped inside the inebriated versions of themselves, unable to control the loud singing, occasional crying and verbal vomiting that pours out with every drink? Or perhaps it’s based on how many people get arrested for public intoxication every year in Ireland (as in to be “locked up”)?
Verdict: Whatever the case, it’s fitting.