Meaning of wild Irish in English:

wild Irish

Pronunciation /ˌwʌɪld ˈʌɪrɪʃ/


derogatory, historical
  • Chiefly with the. Originally: Gaelic-speaking Irish people inhabiting the areas of Ireland not under English control. Subsequently also: Irish people regarded (especially by the English) as uncivilized, primitive, or unruly.


Late Middle English; earliest use found in John Trevisa (c1342–?1402), translator. From wild + Irish. Compare post-classical Latin silvestres Hibernici, plural.