10 American Words to Avoid in an Irish Pub on St. Patrick’s Day

With St. Patrick’s Day, the crown jewel of all party holidays, around the corner, we're sure you're probably considering having a fun night out at an Irish pub. But if you're an American looking to blend in with the crowd for which the holiday means the most, you probably don't want to look like an amateur. (Step 1: Always avoid green beer.)

Read More: If carousing isn’t your thing and you prefer gargling at home watching the teilifís, read about 17 Irish Actors to Watch on St. Patrick's Day over at AMC.

While we've already provided you with a primer on some popular Irish phrases that will help you blend in, it's also important to know which common American sayings to avoid so that you don’t end up with a black eye, a handprint across the face, or kicked to the curb wondering what you said wrong. Check out the list below. And, seriously, put down that green beer.


A wagon usually conjures images of vintage Americana – the red Radio Flyers loaded with children and seen in abundance at bucolic, small town July 4th parades. A wagon in Ireland, however, refers to a woman who’s not nice. Or more directly, the word meaning a female dog.


It seems like an innocuous word. You didn’t say one of the many other more crass derrière variants. But in Ireland, fanny refers to the front side–specifically a woman’s lower front side.


Disney’s quintessential character. The epitome of innocence, right? Nope. It’s the male equivalent of a fanny.


A popular given name in America and Canada, primarily masculine. It's often short for names like Randall, Randolf, Randolph, and even Betrand and Andrew. But ask “Are you Randy?” in Ireland, and you’ll surely garner a double take for asking if someone is aroused sexually.


While requesting a ride has become synonymous in American English with Uber and Lyft, how strange it must sound to Irish ears since requesting a ride is a euphemism for requesting sex. Puts a whole new meaning to the term "ride sharing."


You may be feeling down about something going on in life, but in Ireland this is a sexual act. So don’t be surprised if you get an unpleasant reaction if you’re looking to bum a ride.

Read More: Irish Sayings to Use in American Irish Pubs on St. Patrick’s Day


Americans might think of go-getters or driven people, full of courage and determination. This has quite the different meaning in Ireland, where it pertains to the fluid delivered through the mickey (and not just when you're using the loo). Phrases like “He or she is full of spunk” is guaranteed to result in a cringe-y moment.

Blowing someone off

Americans do this when someone isn’t liked. Irish people do this when someone is.


Thanks to MTV, most Americans recognize this as slang for "home." You’re most likely to get rejected by an Irish person when asking for him/her to come back to your crib, but perhaps not for the reason you think. A crib usually refers to a cot, which would certainly make for an uncomfortable rendezvous.


Currently it’s most commonly associated with the 45th American President, but also is used when playing a card of the chosen suit that ranks above the others. Well, in Ireland, it refers to a bodily gaseous discharge, often malodorous.

Are you feeling more prepared for March 17?

Read more:

10 American Words You’ll Never Hear a British Person Say

10 British Insults Americans Won’t Understand