Foras na Gaeilge‘s Concise English-Irish Dictionary published

Banana bread, selfies and social distancing: the first major English-Irish dictionary in over 60 years published


In an online event at 1pm today Friday, on Foras na Gaeilge’s Facebook Page, President Michael D. Higgins will officially launch the Concise English-Irish Dictionary.  

Joining us will be personalities and household names such as, Dara Ó Briain, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Mary McAleese and many more as they share their experiences with, and grá for our national language.

The new dictionary contains 1,800 pages, over 30,000 entries, 85,000 word senses and 1.8 million words in contemporary English and Irish. Produced by Foras na Gaeilge, the dictionary is the first major English-Irish Dictionary to be published in over sixty years (since Tomás de Bhaldraithe’s seminal English-Irish Dictionary in 1959). 

The entries are derived from the hugely popular New English-Irish Dictionary website,, which attracts over two million visitors a year.

The aim of the dictionary project is to produce a comprehensive modern dictionary which would represent:

  • current usage not only in Irish but also in English as it is spoken in Ireland; 
  • the main dialects of contemporary Irish;
  • a broad range of language from the most technical to the most informal.

Commenting on the launch of the dictionary, President Higgins said: 

“It was a privilege to launch the New English-Irish Dictionary website in 2013 and I’m delighted to be able to celebrate the final stage of the project today, the Concise English-Irish Dictionary. This dictionary follows on in a proud tradition of Irish-language lexicography, including famous works by Niall Ó Dónaill, Tomás de Bhaldraithe and Pádraig Ó Duinnín.

Dictionaries are critical tools for any language community. They allow communities to express themselves confidently and effectively in their own language, while also preserving the richness – the saibhreas – of a language. 

I congratulate Foras na Gaeilge, the dictionary team, and everyone who was involved in this historic achievement.”

Chief Editor Pádraig Ó Mianáin said of the new dictionary:

 “The New English-Irish Dictionary brings Irish-language lexicography into the third millennium with its emphasis on currency in both Irish and English and its coverage of all levels of language use, from formal to informal and from written to spoken. The New English-Irish Dictionary has been online since 2013 and now attracts over 2 million users worldwide annually, with over a quarter of them from overseas.

“When the online version was completed, production of a printed version began. In order to produce a one-volume dictionary, over a third of the content in the online dictionary (which contains 48k entries and 145k word senses) had to be left out and the remaining content had to undergo significant editing and reformatting. We are delighted that the dictionary is now available, and to have this opportunity to launch it with the President today.”

Interesting Entries and Translations

To celebrate this milestone, Foras na Gaeilge are highlighting some of the newer and more interesting entries and translations, including some that have recently come to prominence during the coronavirus pandemic:

  • home officeoifig bhaile
  • fake news – bréagnuacht
  • selfie – féinín
  • he’s a savage player – is imreoir den scoth banana breadarán banana
  • social distancingscaradh sóisialta
  • pandemicpaindéim
  • coronaviruscoróinvíreas
  • cyberbullying cibearbhulaíocht
  • online banking baincéireacht ar líne
  • Brexit – Breatimeacht
  • the latest political wrangle – an t-aighneas polaitiúil is déanaí
  • to make a hames of something  – praiseach a dhéanamh de rud
  • it’s at your own riskar do phriacal féin atá sé
  • it was nothing to write home aboutbhí sé cuibheasach gan a bheith maíteach
  • I wouldn’t hold it against herní bheinn anuas uirthi mar gheall air
  • to make a laughing stock of somebodyceap magaidh a dhéanamh de dhuine
  • to rest on your laurelsdo mhaidí a ligean le sruth

The printed dictionary also contains a substantial Language and Grammar section with essays and tables covering topics such as style, translation and grammar information.

It is available in bookshops and online now with an RRP of €30/£25.

Contact: For additional information, interviews and imagery please contact: 

Loretta Ní Ghabháin, Lorg Media, Baile Nua, Maigh Cuilinn, Co. na Gaillimhe 

Tel: 087 799 7981 | Email:

Cormac Breathnach, Foras na Gaeilge