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Village’s Dictionary of Irish Life

Ireland is no stranger to the subtle re-definition of language, or to saying the exact opposite of what you really mean. Village offers a torch through the murk.

We live in uncertain times. Constant refrains of ‘fake news’, and assertions that we have moved into a ‘post-truth’ age, have left the world with the feeling that our hold on certainty and accuracy are more tenuous than ever. Doublespeak and obfuscation abound.

Of course, we in Ireland are quite used to the subtle re-definition of words for political ends, and the peculiar skill of saying something with complete sincerity, when you in fact mean the exact opposite.

With all this in mind, for the edification of our readership and as a small contribution to the discourse of the nation, Village presents the first part of its specially-commissioned Dictionary of Irish Life.


Abortion (n.)

Terminating the life of a foetus.

Terminating the life of a foetus in England.


Academic (n.)

Someone who is an expert in a particular area of learning.

Jargon-driven life-long student who cannot do anything, least of all lecture.


Action (n.)

Doing something.



Activist (n.)

Someone who campaigns.

Someone who you do not have to listen to, yet.


Administrator (n.)

A person in charge of the smooth operation of an organisation.

Someone with power to ensure people with ideas in an organisation are ignored.


Affordable (adj.)

That can be afforded.

That cannot be afforded.


Agriculture (n.)

Land-based economic activity employing 4% of population.

Unassailable industrial carbon-based rural activity.


Alcoholic (n.)

Someone who is drink-dependant.

Someone you wish to destroy, because they are more talented than you, and have a reputation for drinking even more than you do.


Alternative (adj.)


Right but still considered wrong.


An Garda Síochána (n.)

Guardians of the Peace.

A force formed in 1923 for destroying whistleblowers, making things up and diverting blame.


Apartment (n.)

Small space to live in.

Space, since Alan Kelly, that is too small to live in.

Appellant (n.)

Instigator of an appeal in the courts.

Beneficent donor to the legal profession.

Apple (n.)

A delicious round fruit.

Company to which a government wants to give €13 billion that otherwise would be ours.

Archaeologist (n.)

Someone who studies prehistory by excavating and preserving sites.

Someone who ignores archaeology or documents it before destruction.

Arthur’s Day (n.)

Celebration Day for Guinness.

Evening of above-average alcoholic oblivion, which was cancelled as it brought detrimental attention to the days of average alcoholic oblivion.

Artist (n.)

A creator of high quality paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby.

Justification-free beneficiary of state funding.

Arrogance (n.)

An unjustified inflated confidence.

The awareness of your opponent that you are wrong.

Article (n.)

Written piece for a magazine or newspaper.

Contents of press release issued by the last person to buy a journalist lunch.

Aspire (v.)


What An Taoiseach does instead of respire.


Aunt (n.)

Parent’s sister, or uncle’s wife.

Great-aunt born out of wedlock.

Austerity (n.)

Belt-tightening measures in a reduced economic situation.

A mechanism for ensuring that the burden of bailing out the extravagance of the failed rich falls on the poorest.

Author (n.)

Writer of fiction.

Tax-avoider who can write.

Automobile Association (n.)

Private club for car drivers.

Broadcaster of automobile-centred travel news to travellers of all sorts.

Awesome (Primarily US) (adj.)

Great or exciting.

Requiring no effort or thought.

Axiomatic (adj.)

Self evident.

Wrong, but prescribed by Colm McCarthy.