‘Craic’ Irish Slang: What It Means and How to Use It

As a young Irish person, born in the heart of the midlands, I feel qualified to answer the question: “What is the meaning of craic?”

If you’re staying in Ireland for an extended period or just want to learn a little bit more about the Irish culture, you’ll need to know what the term craic means.

Craic or crack is a versatile slang word related to having a good time. It is one of the most commonly used slang words in Irish English.

In this blog post, we will give you the definition of craic, provide some examples of how it’s used in conversation, and how we can form sentences with the word craic.

Meaning of Craic

Craic is an Irish word that can be translated to mean “fun,” “enjoyment,” or “good times.”

It’s a term that is used to describe the good vibes and atmosphere of a party, night out, or gathering. It can also be used to describe a person.

Craic is a versatile word that can be used in a number of situations. It’s perfect for describing good times with friends or family and will make you sound like a true Irish speaker!

Usage of Craic 

Here are some examples of how craic is used in everyday conversation:

“We had a great craic at the pub last night.”

Meaning: We had great fun at the pub last night.

“He’s always up for a bit of craic.”

Meaning: He is a fun person to be around.

“The holiday was great craic. I loved the nightlife.”

Meaning: The holiday was enjoyable.

“She’s great craic to be around.”

Meaning: She’s great fun to be around.

“The craic was mighty.”

Meaning: It was great fun.

“We watched the hurling match for the craic.”

Meaning: they watched hurling (Irish sport) for fun.

“That’s bad craic.”

Meaning: that’s not acceptable behavior (“bad craic” is not widely spoken in Ireland)

Irish People

Asking a Question with “Craic”

“What’s the craic?” / “How’s the craic?”

Meaning: What’s going on? What’s happening?

“Was last night any craic?”

Meaning: Was last night any fun?

“Any craic?”

Meaning: Any news?

Craic vs. Crack

It’s important to note that craic and crack are two different words with different meanings.

Crack is a type of drug, whereas craic is a slang word for fun or enjoyment. So be sure not to confuse the two!

As the term “craic” is so common in Ireland, Irish people will know what you are talking about when you use any one of the phrases mentioned earlier.

However, if you go to a different country, they will most likely think you are talking about crack cocaine. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend using this term in other countries outside of Ireland or the UK!

Alternative Phrase to “What’s the Craic”

When greeting one another, Irish people often ask, “what’s the craic?” which means what is happening or what is going on.

“What’s the story?”

This is another slang phrase used mostly in Dublin, Ireland. It also means “what’s the craic” or “what’s happening.”

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History of the Word “Craic”

Craic was borrowed from the English word “crack” since at least 1968.

“Crack” was derived from “crak,” a Middle English term that meant “loud conversation, bragging.”

In Northern Ireland and Scotland, expressions such as “what’s the crack” with “crack” were meant in the context of “news” and “gossip” originating from this region.

The term is recorded as far back as the 1770s in Scotland and as far back as 1825 in Northern England.

It is believed that the term entered Ulster from Scotland in the mid-20th century before being borrowed into Irish.

The catchphrase “Beidh ceol, caint agus craic againn,” popularized by Irish RTE TV, means that we will have music, conversation, and fun. This aired on SBB ina Shuí from 1976 to 1982.

While still, some artists such as Christy Moore spelled it as “crack” in the ’60s and ’70s, The Dubliners adopted the Irish spelling in 2006 in their album: “Too Late to Stop Now: The Very Best of The Dubliners.”

The term craic was also borrowed by Scottish Gaelic in the 1990s, but we don’t know if they took it directly from the Irish or the English.

The Scottish use the term to this day, but it’s not as widespread as in Ireland. Similarily, it is spoken in certain parts of England and Wales.

Ireland

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what craic means, you can start using it in your own conversations!

Craic is a great way to show that you’re familiar with Irish culture and want to engage in some light-hearted banter.

Have fun with it and enjoy the good times! Sláinte!

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I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain and online. I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others! I enjoy traveling, nature walks, and soaking up a new culture. I also like a good Guinness! Please share this post if you find it helpful; I really appreciate it. Thank you!

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