Coróinvíreas and arán banana: A new English-Irish dictionary covers the pandemic

The first major new English-Irish dictionary in 60 years includes words that are very 2020

The first major English-Irish dictionary to be published in over 60 years will be launched today by President Michael D Higgins .

Dara Ó Briain, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Mary McAleese and others will share their grá for the national language as the Concise English-Irish Dictionary is launched online at 1pm today on Foras na Gaeilge’s Facebook Page.

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 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; and a broad range of language from the most technical to the most informal.

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.”

Chief editor Pádraig Ó Mianáin said: “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 had to be left out and the remaining content had to undergo significant editing and reformatting.”

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 office - oifig bhaile

fake news - bréagnuacht

selfie - féinín

he’s a savage player - is imreoir den scoth é

banana bread - arán banana

social distancing - scaradh sóisialta

pandemic - paindéim

coronavirus - coróinvíreas

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 risk - ar do phriacal féin atá sé

it was nothing to write home about - bhí sé cuibheasach gan a bheith maíteach

I wouldn’t hold it against her - ní bheinn anuas uirthi mar gheall air

to make a laughing stock of somebody - ceap magaidh a dhéanamh de dhuine

to rest on your laurels - do 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, priced €30/£25.