Gnáthghiorrúcháin i nGaeilge: Everyday Abbreviations in Irish (not “textese”)

Posted on 11. Apr, 2015 by in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Uacht. nó Íocht. i mBÁC?  Is this "Sráid Uí Chonaill Uachtarach" or "Sráid Uí Chonaill Íochtarach" i mBaile Átha Cliath?  Leid: an bhliain 1964.  Má tá a fhios agat an "uachtarach" nó "íochtarach" é, scríobh isteach!  (grianghraf:,_Dublin_from_Nelson%27s_Pillar,_1964.jpg).  Ar ndóigh, tá an freagra le fáil sa Vicípéid agus beidh sé ar fáil anseo sa todhchaí.

Uacht. nó Íocht. i mBÁC? Is this “Sráid Uí Chonaill Uachtarach” or “Sráid Uí Chonaill Íochtarach” i mBaile Átha Cliath? Leid: an bhliain 1964. Má tá a fhios agat an “uachtarach” nó “íochtarach” é, scríobh isteach! (grianghraf:,_Dublin_from_Nelson%27s_Pillar,_1964.jpg). Ar ndóigh, tá an freagra le fáil sa Vicípéid agus beidh sé ar fáil anseo sa todhchaí.

Long before we started playing with symbols and phrases like “a#” (for “a thaiscidh,” pronounced “HASH-kee, which means “darling” in Irish), we were using giorrúcháin for their most basic purpose, to save space on paper and time in writing or typing.  Here are a few quite straightforward ones, which you will likely encounter fairly often in written Irish.  Some pronunciation tips are included.  There is also a glossary below, with some further pronunciation tips.

B.Á.C. (or often BÁC), Dublin. Baile Átha Cliath, which obviously bears no resemblance to “Dubh-linn” from which we actually get the word “Dublin”., for example (mar shampla) [mahr HAHM-pluh; the “s” is silent]

lch., page (leathanach) [LyA-huh-nukh]

lgh., pages (leathanaigh) [LyA-huh-nee]

Uacht., Upper, as in street addresses.  Short for “uachtarach.”

So “Upper O’Connell Street,” in Irish, is: ___________________________ (freagra thíos)

Íocht., Lower, as in street addresses.  Short for “íochtarach.”

So “Lower O’Connell Street,” in Irish, is: ___________________________ (freagra thíos)

A few that are less traditional, for reasons which will become clear, are “SEIF” and “VEID.”  If I give you a jumbled word bank of the individual words behind an dá acrainm seo, can you sort them out into the actual phrases?  Freagraí thíos arís.

Banc Focal: Víreas Easpa Easpa Imdhíonachta Imdhíonachta Faighte Siondróm Daonna

Leid: in Irish, unlike English, both of these acrainmneacha [AK-ran-im-nyuh-khuh] have ceithre litir.  In English, one has trí litir, the other has ceithre cinn.

Are there any giorrúcháin that you’ve been wondering about, or any favorite texting abbreviations that you like to use in Irish?  If so, please send them in in the comments section.  SGF — Róislín


Sráid Uí Chonaill Uachtarach, or as it’s often abbreviated, “Sráid Uí Chonaill Uacht.”

Sráid Uí Chonaill Íochtarach, again, typically abbreviated as “Sráid Uí Chonaill Íocht.”

SEIF, Siondróm Easpa Imdhíonachta Faighte (AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)

VEID, Víreas Easpa Imdhíonachta Daonna (HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus)

Gluais agus Fuaimniú:

Baile Átha Cliath, Dublin, lit. the town of the ford of the hurdle.  There are at least three pronunciations:  BAHL-yuh AW-huh KLEE-uh (very fully articulated), BAHL-yuh KLEE-uh (medium articulated, with the “Átha” part basically swallowed up), and BLAW-KLEE (very colloquial, kind of like “Fluffya” for, hmm, wanna guess?  The freagra is below, underneath the entry for “daonna“).  “Dubh-linn” means “black pool.”

Ó Conaill, O’Connell.  Becomes “Uí Chonaill” [ee KHUH-nil] to show possession, as in “Street of O’Connell.”  Not that O’Connell, or any individual, actually owns/owned the street, but the same form is used when streets, squares, etc., are named for someone.

uachtarach [OO-ukh-tur-ukh]

íochtarach [EE-ukh-tur-ukh]

siondróm [SHIN-drohm]

easpa [ASS-puh], lack, deficiency

imdhíonacht [IM-YEE-uh-nukht], usually translated as “immunity,” but sometimes as “immune.”  The adjective “immune” is “imdhíonach,” with a typical “-ach” adjective ending.

imdhíonachta [IM-YEE-uh-nukh-tuh], of immunity

easpa imdhíonachta, immunodeficiency (NB: a single compound word in English but two separate words in Irish)

faighte [FAI-chuh; that’s “ai” as in the IPA phonetics symbol /ai/, pronounced like the vowel in the following English words: aye, eye, I, my, pie], “acquired,” also “gotten.”  Because the English spellings for this sound are so inconsistent, none of them work well  for representing the Irish sound, even in a rough pronunciation guide.  The word “faighte” is based on the verb “faigh” (get, acquire), which sounds more or less like English “fie,” but with a broader “f.”

víreas [VEERzh-us], virus

daonna [DEE-nuh], human.  This is the adjective, related to words like “duine” (person), “daoine” (people), “daonnaí” (human being, pl: daonnaithe, human beings), and “daonra” (population)

Fluffya – some locals’ pronunciation of “Philadelphia.”  The same phenomenon happens, it seems, with “Tronno” [i.e. Toronto], right, a Cheanadacha?

Ó BB7B go GOA: Irish abbreviations (giorrúcháin) and textese (téacsais)

Posted on 08. Apr, 2015 by in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

As lives get more and more abbreviationized and acronymized in the English-speaking world, we may as well look at what’s happening in the Irish-speaking realm.

Let’s start with the oldest one I know of — BB7B.  Its age is a reminder that using abbreviations, acronyms, and other space-saving approaches in writing isn’t a new idea — they certainly predate téacsais.  For example, if I recall correctly, the “tilde” above the “n” in Spanish (ñ) came from writing a small “n” above the “n” in the main line of the text in medieval manuscripts (for words that originally had two n’s).  Saved spásVeilleam was an-daor, or probably more accurately, time-consuming and laborious to make!  BTW, “tilde” is the same in Irish and in English, but I do like the sound of the Irish plural, tildí — 9L is agam kn fa.  I don’t know why I like the sound so much but maybe because “Tildy” was a popular leasainm for “Matilda.”  Maybe that’s resonating in my head, combined with “bilby,” “Heidi,” and “Migildi Magildi.”  Ar aon chaoi

Oh, and we’ll get to the Irish for “btw” later in this blog.

In the phrase “BB7B,” the character that looks like the number seven (7), is actually an old symbol for “and,” much like an t-amparsan (the ampersand: &).  The character should be written subscript, i.e. straddling the base line of the text, but it doesn’t always come out that way in print.  So we may see it looking like “BB7B.”

Hmm, I just noticed that eochair an amparsain and an eochair 7 are the same on my eochairchlár.  I wonder if that was coincidence, way back in the early days of qwerty design.  Ceist do bhlag éigin eile, áfach.

So much for how to write it.  What does it mean?  “Beir bua agus beannacht.”  Literally, “Take victory and a blessing.”  It’s a nice way to close a letter, although it does sound a little formal and hortatory to me these days, as opposed to, say, SGF.

And here are a few more:

9L for níl, sounds like “naoi” (9) and the letter “l.”  It’s not as if using “9L” for “níl” really saves that much space — it saves one character.  But saving spás doesn’t always seem to be the main goal in these abbreviations.  Sometimes it’s just fun, like the rebuses  (na réabais) of old.

kn for cén, sounds like “kay-en.” “Cén” means “which” and is sometimes translated as “what,” as in “Cén leabhar?” or “Cén t-ainm atá ort?”  The actual letter  “k” is almost non-existent in actual Irish words but it’s reasonably useful here, since most Irish speakers also know English.  Sampla: 9L is agam kn fa = Níl a fhios agam cén fáth.

kj for “goidé” or “cad é,” reflecting the northern (Donegal and Northern Ireland) phrase for “what.”  This form contrasts with the standard word, which is simply “Cad …?” and the Connacht one (“Céard …?”).  In the northern pronunciation, the “d” of “cad é” is pronounced slender, a lot like an English “j,” so “cad é” sounds like “kuh-jay.”  The alternate spelling, “goidé,” which is (maybe by now I should say “was”) traditional in the North, shows this clearly, since the “d” is written slender.  Remember your slender d’s, as in “Diarmaid” and “Dia,” in contrast to broad d’s as in “Dónal” and “donn.”  Sampla: kj mar ta 2? (Goidé mar atá tú?)

BTW.  So I slipped the English version in above.  The usual phrase for “by the way” in Irish is “dála an scéil,” so the abbreviation is “DAS.”  I use this sometimes, but somehow it constantly reminds me of Ram Das, the character in A Little Princess.  It also looks like the German word “das,” which I find it a bit distracting.

SGF for “Slán go fóill.”  This one I use a lot, as regular readers of this blog probably recognize.  Very useful, definitely saves space, and isn’t readily mistaken for anything else, in English or other languages, although we do have Svenska Golfförbundet, Stochastic Green Function (yikes — I don’t know what that is in English!), Société Géologique de France, and Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Finanzmarktforschung, and an SGF airport code, for Springfield, Missouri.  Hmm, what about the other 33 Springfields in the US, let alone the 36 or so Springfield Townships?  Oh, well, I don’t really need to know (9d 2 no (!).  As for that Swiss one, I can definitely see why they can benefit from an abbreviation — 52 characters reduced to three!

As for the two Springfield townlands in Ireland, in Co. Offaly and Co. Westmeath, somehow I don’t think they have aerfoirt.

9d2no  — that’s really an English abbreviation somehow using a bit of Irish as well (9d for “need” based on “naoi,” the number “9).   A little beyond beyond, I think, but it actually works for me.

And now, one of my favorites, because it’s clever, bilingual, and visual, and the meaning is endearing:

A# for “A thaiscidh” (pronounced “uh HASH-kee”).   It means “dear” or “darling” and comes from the Irish word “taisce” (treasure, or “cache” in computer usage).   In direct address, “taisce” would be spelled “a thaisce” [uh HASH-kuh].  The “a” shows that direct address is coming up, as in “a Sheáin” or “a Dhia.”

Speaking of “a Dhia,” we have:

OMD for “Ó mo Dhia” (Oh my God / OMG).  Not that “mo” was used that much in the vocative in Irish, traditionally, but, this phrase has become very popular anyway.

And finally,

GOA for “gáire os ard” (laughing out loud / LOL).  I enjoy this one, partly because it’s always fun to spot humor, partly because it’s pronounceable, and partly (and randomly) because it reminds me of visiting Goa, India.  Checking out acronyms on thefreedictionary website, I see that “GOA” can also, aptly, mean “Glossary of Abbreviations,” as well as, more strangely, “Gods of Arr-Kelaan.”  Hoodathunkit?

SGF agus TSAGBTSAS.  I doubt that last 9-letter one will really catch on (Tá súil agam gur bhain tú sult as seo) …  ach, bhuel , I’ll try TSAGBTSAS here anyway and see if by any caolseans it catches on.  But, no, no sign of it so far, ar an Idirlíon.  – Róislín

Nóta: If you’re really interested in Tildy, which was the name of one of O. Henry’s literary characters, you can find her story at:, “The Brief Debut of Tildy.”

Ceistiúchán Cásca — An Easter Quiz in Irish (Fill in the Blanks)

Posted on 03. Apr, 2015 by in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Rolladh Uibheacha Cásca ag an Teach Bán i Washington DC.  Cén bhliain é, i do bharúil?  Freagra san aimsitheoir aonfhoirmeach acmhainne, .i. sa URL. NB: Ní hionann rolladh uibhe agus rollóg uibhe (bia Shíneach!).  Fearann poiblí (

Rolladh Uibheacha Cásca ag an Teach Bán i Washington DC. Cén bhliain é, i do bharúil? Freagra san aimsitheoir aonfhoirmeach acmhainne, .i. san URL. NB: Ní hionann rolladh uibhe agus rollóg uibhe (bia Shíneach!). Fearann poiblí (

In this blog, we’ll look back at some terms introduced in previous write-ups about Easter (An Cháisc) in this series.  There will be some phrases to fill in using téarmaí Cásca.

Remember, the Irish word for “Easter” has three main forms, and each of these can be subject to further changes (lenition, eclipsis).  While the underlying word is “Cáisc,” the subject form is almost always:

An Cháisc [un khawshk], lit. “the Easter.”  Like “An Nollaig” (Christmas), the Irish word for the holiday takes the word “the” in front, most of the time (but not all the time!).

The other two typical forms are:

Cásca, of Easter, and “na Cásca,” which also means “of Easter”

And there’s a plural:

Cáisceanna [KAWSH-kyuh-nuh], Easters.  Admittedly, we don’t use the plural very often, even in English, probably, but there could always be phrases like, “Of all the Easters I remember, ….”

And here are the remaining forms which might occur in specific phrases:

gCáisc, Chásca, and much less commonly: gCáisceanna, Cháisceanna

In the second half of this blog, we’ll look at some days of the week besides Sunday, since there is a special designation for the days leading up to Easter, and for several days after.  But we won’t go as far as the terms for 50 days before and after Easter, at least not in this blog!

So, let’s get started with some phrases.  Freagraí thíos, and also, note that I’m not putting in the exact number lines for letters or words, just one long-ish line, so the dúshlán [doo-hlawn], will be a little greater.  You’ll have to decide whether to include “an” or “na“:

1) Beannachtaí __________

2) ubh _________________

3) ciseán _______________

4) aimsir _______________

5) Oileán _______________

6) Éirí Amach ____________

7) Mion-________________

8) uan _________________

9) tine _________________

10) uibheacha ____________

And now for some related terms that don’t use the word “Easter” as such in English or in Irish.  These are roughly in chronological order, leading up to Easter.

Here’s a word bank for the answers, but remember, most of them change form, either at the beginning or the end of the word, or both: pailm, An Inid, céasadh, luaithreach, mandáil, and spiaire (terms given in random order).  Watch out for mutations and case endings!

I’ve filled in definite articles (“an,” “na“) where they apply:

11) Domhnach na _____________________  (Shrove Sunday)

12) Máirt ________________ or Máirt na ______________  (Shrove Tuesday aka Mardi Gras aka Pancake Tuesday).  For this term, I’ve seen both the form with the definite article (“the”) and without it.

13) Céadaoin an ______________________ (Ash Wednesday)

At this point the calendar, we see the beginning of An Carghas (Lent; notice that “Carghas” is preceded by “an“)

14) Domhnach na __________________ (Palm Sunday)

15) Céadaoin an ___________________ (Spy Wednesday)

16) Déardaoin ______ OR Déardaoin na________ (Maundy Thursday; again, both forms exist)

17) Aoine an _______________________ (Good Friday)

And now a couple of remaining terms that do include the word “Easter” in Irish:

18) Satharn ________________________ (Holy Saturday)

19) Domhnach _____________________ (Easter Sunday)

20) Luan __________________________ (Easter Monday)

21) Máirt _________________________ (Easter Tuesday, admittedly not so widely recognized, but it is designated).

Hope you enjoyed that.  SGF – Róislín


1) Beannachtaí na Cásca: Happy Easter (lit. the blessing of Easter)

2) ubh Chásca: an Easter egg

3) ciseán Cásca: an Easter basket

4) aimsir na Cásca: Eastertide

5) Oileán na Cásca: Easter Island / Rapa Nui)

6) Éirí Amach na Cásca: the Easter Rising (1916)

7) Mion-Cháisc: Low Sunday

8) uan Cásca: Paschal lamb

9) tine na Cásca: Paschal fire

10) uibheacha Cásca: Easter eggs

11) Domhnach na hInide: Shrove Sunday

12) Máirt Inide or Máirt na hInide: Shrove Tuesday

13) Céadaoin an Luaithrigh: Ash Wednesday; remember, “‘luaithreach” is a collective noun, so it means “ashes” and “luaithrigh” means “of ashes”

14) Domhnach na Pailme: Palm Sunday

15) Céadaoin an Spiaire: Spy Wednesday

16) Déardaoin Mandála OR Déardaoin na Mandála: Maundy Thursday (“mandála” is the genitive case of “mandáil,” which means ‘mandate’  — so no relation to the “mandala” — note: no long mark — of Búdachas and Hiondúchas)

17) Aoine an Chéasta: Good Friday

18) Satharn Cásca: Holy Saturday, lit. Easter Saturday; this can also be “Satharn Naofa,” or in older spelling “Satharn Naomhtha” but using “Cásca” seems to dominate

19) Domhnach Cásca: Easter Sunday

20) Luan Cásca: Easter Monday

21) Máirt Chásca: Easter Tuesday