My Irish-English dictionary

A downloadable PDF of my dictionary can be found here

This is compiled from my private study files – and so is offered for general use with a caveat that there are many errors. I started compiling this more than 10 years ago, and eventually I would hope to go through it and correct everything, but it is a big job. There are more than 12,000 headwords (which translates into a wide vocabulary as Irish often uses phrases to create lexical items, such as cur le chéile “cooperate”, found under cur and not as a headword). There are 1300 footnotes of things to check. This is in the main my attempt to be careful and not rule out variants given in Dinneen’s dictionary (e.g. is the plural of béile béilí or béilte? probably both, but I have found attestation of neither). It is a searchable file, but the quotation marks are curly and it might be a good idea to copy and paste a curly quotation mark when searching the PDF as a straight quote mark won’t be found.

44 Responses to My Irish-English dictionary

  1. Dave Smith says:

    Sorry, I cannot get your shockwave plugin based system to work.
    There are probably mor computer slowcoaches than me around, I class myself as fairly smart.
    You may be trying o protect copyright, and I have nothing against that, but you might be losing your audience.
    ps, from what I have seen,
    1/ IPA is customarily introduced with square brackets.
    2/ Representation of non standard characters is badly degraded in text format.

  2. Dave Smith says:

    Hi Dave.
    It seems to work with Safari, but not Firefox.

  3. Mícheál says:

    An féidir liom é seo a fháil i leabhar?

  4. Dave Smith says:

    Page 153, definition 448: stór.
    No IPA pronunciation given.

  5. admin says:

    Hi, Dave Smith. I have only just noticed your comment for some reason. I will add IPA for stór in time for the next upload. Thanks for noticing!

  6. Domhnall Liam Liam says:

    Dave, IPA characters only appear between square brackets when they represent a phonetic transcription, but these transcriptions are phone*m*ic. That is, they give the theoretical underlying forms (“phonemes”) from which the actual pronunciation can be arrived at by means of regular rules. Actual phonetic transcriptions would be much more detailed. (For starters, they would indicate both palatalisation and velarisation, and the symbols used would be, respectively, a raised small letter “j” and a raised small letter gamma.)

  7. admin says:

    Thanks, Domhnall Liam Liam. I don’t use square brackets, but parentheses in my dictionary. Anyway, I think you mean to say that the International Phonetic Association makes a distinction between phonetic and phonological transcription and would put the phonological transcription I employ between oblique strokes. But I am not the IPA and can do as I please on my blog! As far as I am concerned a narrow transcription with raised superscript characters and various marks appearing beneath the characters would simply be clutter and hard for the average person to interpret. I use the same system as the phonological transcription in the Irish of West Muskerry by Brian O’Cuiv.

  8. Domhnall Liam Liam says:

    Not just the IPA, a chara, but anyone in the field of linguistics in the broadest sense; it’s an extremely widespread convention. But I agree that narrow phonetic transcriptions are of dubious utility to non-experts. Better to follow Ó Cuív’s model of a phonemic one accompanied by detailed notes on the exact phonetic realisations of the various allophones.

  9. admin says:

    Domhnall Liam Liam, does the embedded file of my dictionary display correctly for you? I moved my PDFs to, as they can prevent copying, printing and downloading of content, and I may eventually want to print this dictionary.

  10. Eain says:

    Hello, thanks for all you do.

    Is it possible to download this significant work as this vocabulary?

    • admin says:

      Eain, I would like to get it published eventually, after being checked over by a native speaker of Cork Irish, so I don’t want to give away my intellectual property. Have you downloaded the audio files on my site? They are all being made available to anyone.

  11. Eain says:

    you gonna publish cork irish dictionary? It’s great work for popularising this wonderful dialect!
    But, at the same time, I heard that it’s hard to publish any dialectial textbooks/dictionaries in Ireland except Kaydean.

  12. Eain says:

    And, also, why You chose to write cork words in kaydean-style? like cruidh – crúnn?

  13. admin says:

    Eain, the publishing phase will be the easiest of the lot. I can, if necessary, go to a “vanity publishing house” to publish whatever I want. I don’t need the government’s permission. The hardest part will be finding someone willing to edit the whole dictionary – a native speaker careful and meticulous enough to correct anything wrong. But I am in the middle of my second book by Peadar Ua Laoghaire, which I am mining for vocabulary, and I have around 40 books by him on the list, so it will be a long time until I am thinking about publication. By the way, I recognise you from Romanas’ forum!

  14. admin says:

    Eain, the dictionary is designed to be helpful to others – and nearly all writing uses the spellings devised by the government. I think you are referring to crúdhann sé, he milks. I agree totally that crúdhann sé is the traditional spelling, but the number of people who use this spelling today is ZERO. Crúnn sé is the only spelling found today. Do you use the Russian letter yat? Бѣдный блѣдный бѣлый бѣсъ Убѣжалъ съ обѣдомъ въ лѣсъ? If not, why not? As you can see from my site, I prefer the Gaelic script and the old spelling, and my transcription of Mo Sgéal Féin (see and of Séadna ( is in the original spelling, formatted in a PDF to correctly display the Gaelic font.

  15. Eain says:

    1. really? What is your nick on this site?

    2. about the spelling – I got your opinion.

  16. admin says:

    >>>What is your nick on this site?

    Eain, that doesn’t mean anything in English. What do you mean?

  17. Eain says:

    Имею в виду, какой ник у тебя в группе Романаса?

  18. admin says:

    What is my user name on that site? I think it is djwebb or something like that, but I hardly ever posted there.

  19. Eain says:

    Сколько слов вы планируете вместить в свой словарь? Больше 20 тыс. слов?

  20. admin says:

    Eain – или можеть быть Иван? – я бы хотел вместить больше трицати тысяч слов в мой словарь, именно те слова что ты можешь найти в книжках Пядер О’Лери.

  21. Eain says:

    Ean – Ян (моё изобретение, хотя наверное, лучше Éan, или Eán), зв.п. a Eain.

    больше трицати тысяч слов
    Ого! Неплохой задел

    Если вам сложно писать кириллицей, пишите по-английски. Я его понимаю.

  22. admin says:

    I can write in Cyrillic, as I have found a phonetic keyboard. You know we English prefer asdf keyboards. But anyway, I am going to continually improve this dictionary. One of the principles of the dictionary is to direct the reader from Caighdeán words to Cork words. So, if you look up a Caighdeán word, it will be marked as ICS (the Irish of the Civil Service) and you will be referred to the correct Cork word…

  23. Eain says:

    А ты собираешься вмещать в словарь только слова из работ Пядара О’Лейри, или современные слова тоже будут иметься?

    • admin says:

      Eain, I am aiming initially just to put words found in Cork Irish literature in my dictionary. I want to do around 40 books by Peadar Ua Laoghaire first, and then go on to other writers. You can find a list of Cork Irish literature at . At the end – probably more than a decade from now, I may try to put some modern words in – I will at that point put any words in Foclóir Póca that are not in my dictionary, carefully noting whether they are ICS (Irish of the Civil Service, aka the Caighdeán) or Cork Irish. It is a huge project.

  24. Eain says:

    Can’t find meaning of the “insim” word in focloir. Can you tell me?

  25. bill flynn says:

    The term “rafferty rules” in English is often used in rural communities to refer to poor maintenance of fences and gates,etc. In “Seana-chaint na nDeise II”, reachtaire is described as “a person who took a lease on land for a season to take the season’s produce, esp. a person who took on lease the use of milking cows for a season.” In “Seanchas an Tailliura”, chapter XVII, p. 146, Tadhg O Buachalla observes:
    Bhiodh reachtairi ann fado:
    An reachtaire agus a bha ar an gcnoc
    agus a chearca ag piocadh deise
    An miol mhai ar an mintir
    agus na tainte ar a dheidh.

    Bhidis ag deanamh amach gur bhrea an saol a bhi ag an reachtaire: bheadh tigh
    agus talamh aige on bhfeirmeoir.

    Breatnach who used the material of Archbishop Brennan indicates that this sort of “reachtaire” was not quite so admired as Buckley seemed to imply. He gives
    “daingean reachtaire” as meaning “a makeshift” with the idea that a seasonal lease brought with it only makeshift attempts at fencing. He also gives the example:
    Leath-sgeal(sic) chun bainne dh’ol dul ag suirghe le h-inion a’ reachtaire.
    These reachtairi were conacre sub-lessees. Could awareness of this low status have caused O Leary to use the English word “agent” for the for the more elevated position of a landlord’s steward?

    • admin says:

      Well both agent and reachtaire are found in Mo Sgéal Féin. I don’t think PUL had an elevated view of a landlord’s steward at all – he seemed to regard them as the lowest of the low!

  26. bill flynn says:

    Oops! I meant Archbishop Sheehan! And I meant that the two types were entirely different in social position and access to wealth, not how he might have judged them on the grounds of character.

    • admin says:

      That may be the way they are used but I think agent and reachtaire are used in Mo Sgéal Féin to refer to the same person…

  27. Seosamh says:

    A chara

    Just wondering, when is the planned publication date of this dictionary?
    (Soon, I hope)

  28. Seosamh says:

    Is it possible you could provide a version which is searchable?

  29. Seosamh says:

    Go raibh maith agat!

  30. clivegeraghty says:

    I love this website. The information contained in it is amazing. But apropos your comment that children in the Gaeltacht not speaking Irish as it was spoken 100 years ago, well, surely that applies to any European country. Languages move on, as Irish has; granted not always for the best.

    • djwebb2010 says:

      Yes, I know all languages change. But the children in the Gaeltacht who don’t understand their grandparents’ Irish (there are many anecdotal examples of that) are simpler weak speakers of the language. There are even examples of Gaeltacht teachers pocketing the extra money given to Irish teachers in the Gaeltacht and then not doing the immersion job. Fraud, as I would call it, which ought to attract the attention of the Gárdaí Síochána.

  31. Dawn Dee says:

    Dear djwebb2010,

    Just wondering where your wonderful dictionary went. I miss it so! It is the best!

    • djwebb2010 says:

      Well, there are things in that file that I wrote five or more years ago and need to redraft. I’m planning on gradually putting up the letters bit by bit. But if you’re seeking some information, I’ll do my best to answer any questions.

  32. Matthew Webb says:

    Have T. O’Neill Lane’s early 20th century dictionaries provided any material for your Cork Irish Dictionary?

  33. Pingback: The latest version of my dictionary | Cork Irish

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