Cartoon showing a newspaper headline "Craic is not a real Irish word"

Aye, sure, for a bit a craic

What’s the craic? – How are you doing?

Ach the craic was ninety! – The fun and laughter amongst the people was at very high levels indeed!

Aye, sure, for a bit of craic… – Let’s try that idea as we are curious beings in need of entertainment…

When I look up a word I remember using as a child, I’m usually greeted with “derived from Middle English” complete with a reference to some published source or two.

However, the trouble with etymology is that you can only reference sources that were published or recorded. So, in the same way that most of the internet is in English (60% of websites) and only about 17% of the world speak English, the vast majority of publications to be referenced have been in English too.

Apparently the word craic was borrowed into the Irish language in the as craic from Ulster Scots in the 20th Century. Rabbie Burns had been spoutin’ about crack since the 1700s. Craic is then re-borrowed into English in the late twentieth century, although I distinctly remember confusion amongst English folk, who assumed it was drug related so thought it best avoided.

It seems the Celts were too busy having a bit of craic to write any of this stuff down, but that’s just how they roll…




Say hello! A Patchwork Province
Feel free to drop me a line with a thought or enquiry, and I'll do my best to get back to you. :)