New English-Irish Dictionary
Frequently Asked Questions

How do I look up an English word?

  • Type the word into the Search Box on any page of the website and then click the search button:

    (Alternatively you can press the ‘Enter’ or ‘Return’ keys, or the equivalent if you’re using a mobile device.)

  • If the dropdown list appears as you’re typing in the word, you can simply select the word you want from the dropdown list:

How do I look up an Irish word?

See the demo video below and the description of the new function.


You can now search for a word or phrase in the Irish-language content of the New English-Irish Dictionary, and see all occurrences if it’s used in the dictionary. But please note that the search in Irish is not as reliable or as comprehensive as the search in English, for a number of reasons:


  • Missing words and senses:

    because it’s an English-Irish dictionary, the Irish words and senses contained in the New English-Irish Dictionary (NEID) are driven by the English content.

    For example, if you search for the word 'fadhb' in the Ó Dónaill dictionary you'll see that five main senses are listed; in the NEID only one of these senses is evident:


  • Random order of Irish meanings:

    when you search for an Irish word, results are displayed in alphabetical order by English headword, and very often the most important or common meaning of the Irish word isn’t at the top of the list. For example, if you search for ‘seomra’:


  • English or Irish?

    if you search for an Irish word (or an inflected form of an Irish word) that has the same spelling as an English word, you’ll be given a choice between the English search and the Irish search.

    For example, if you search for ‘bean’, which is a word in both languages:


    You can click on option ‘GA>EN’ above to search for ‘bean’ in Irish rather than in English:


  • Index of adjacent headwords:

    when you search for an Irish word, the browse index won’t display a list of adjacent Irish words; once again this is an English-Irish dictionary, and the indexes are based accordingly on the English headwords.

    Similarly, if you make a spelling error in your search, suggestions in English will be displayed. For example, if you search for ‘mor’, the software can’t tell if you wanted ‘mór’ in Irish or ‘more’ or ‘moor’ in English; because this is an English-Irish dictionary, only the options in English will be displayed.

    Note also that the search in Irish is accent-sensitive, so results will be different with and without the síneadh fada: if you search for ‘briste’ you won’t get any occurrences of ‘bríste’, and vice-versa.


  • Lemmatized search

    when you search for the base form, or lemma, of an English word, the search also finds all inflected forms – e.g. if you search for ‘man’ you’ll also see any occurrences of ‘men’ in the results. The search in Irish will find only the exact word or phrase you’ve searched for – so if you search for ‘fear’ you won’t get ‘fir’, ‘fhir’, ‘bhfear’ etc. A lemmatised search in Irish will be added to the site in the future.

Why can’t I find the word I’m looking for?

This may occur because the current version of the dictionary doesn’t yet contain all of the headwords which will eventually be published. The current version contains those words most frequently looked up by dictionary users, and covers around 80% of expected searches. We understand that it’s frustrating when you can’t find the word you need, and we’ll be greatly expanding the dictionary coverage this year and next year to close such gaps – see What's Next? for further details.

If the word you want to look up is a technical term, you may also wish to search for it in Foras na Gaeilge’s terminology database, www.tearma.ie. Note, however, that this is a database of technical terms, and isn’t intended to cover general language.

How do I listen to sound files for the Irish translations?

See the demo video and description below.



Where a sound file is available for a translation, it’s always provided in each of the three major dialects – Connacht, Munster and Ulster. Depending on which dialect you wish to hear, simply click on the letter C, M or U respectively, immediately beside the speaker icon.

Why aren’t there sound files for all the translations?

Not all of the sound files were ready in time for the first version of the dictionary; we’ll be adding more in the coming months. We’re giving priority to single-word translations, we’ll gradually be expanding the coverage to multi-word translations after that.

The sound files aren’t pronounced the same way as in my own dialect – why is this?

The sound files have been added as a general guide to the user as to pronunciation in the three main dialects of Irish, and have been recorded using native speakers from those dialects. We recognise that there may be significant differences in pronunciation of words and versions within each main dialect; however, it wasn’t possible for us to cover all versions within the main dialects, and we also felt that such comprehensive coverage would be more of a hindrance than a help to the learner.

Why don’t the sound files work on my browser / mobile phone / tablet / other handheld device?

  • Browsers

    The sound files have been tested on the latest versions of the following major browsers – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. If they aren’t working on your browser, it may be because you’re using an older version, or because you’re using a browser other than those listed.

  • Handheld devices

    The sound files have also been tested on a wide array of mobile phones and tablets, but unfortunately it hasn’t been possible to test it on every single type of handheld device. If it doesn’t work on your device, it may be because it’s an older model, or it may be because a parameter needs to be set. We suggest contacting your supplier if you encounter any problems. It’s also worth checking if sound files are working for your device on other sites apart from this dictionary.

How do I look up grammatical data for a translation?

See the demo video and description below.


Click on the part-of-speech tag which appears immediately after the Irish translation. For example, if you’ve looked up black, and you want to see the grammatical information for the Irish translation dubh, you would click on the tag ‘adj1’ beside it.


Note, however, that sometimes clicking on the grammar tag doesn’t cause any grammatical data to display. This may occur for two reasons:

  • Because there isn’t any additional grammatical data for that part of speech. For example, in the headword lung, when used as a modifier the genitive plural or the genitive singular forms of the base translation scamhóg are used:

    In both these cases there isn’t any further grammatical data to display.

  • The grammatical data isn’t yet set up in our database.

Why isn’t there grammatical data for all translations?

Not all of the grammatical data was ready in time for the first version of the dictionary; we’ll be adding more in the coming months. We’re giving priority to single-word translations, we’ll gradually be expanding the coverage to multi-word translations after that.

Finding translations with the Advanced Search

Because the full dictionary content isn’t yet online, it may happen that the headword you’re searching for isn’t found. However, in many cases the translation you need may be available in a sample sentence or phrase under another headword.

Take for example the headword rabbit, which is one of the headwords not yet online. If you click on the ‘Advanced Search’ option, below the main search box on the right-hand side:

…the Advanced Search panel is then displayed as shown below:

Simply type ‘rabbit’ into the search box and click the ‘Search’ button (or press the ‘Enter’ or ‘Return’ key) and you’ll see the results displayed below:

If you click on any of the results above, you’ll see an example using ‘coinín’ which is the Irish word you’re looking for:

To go to the Advanced Search, or for more information on using the Advanced search, click here.

When I look up a word, why is another word sometimes displayed instead?

  • If a word has two slightly different formats, or variants, it may be catalogued in the dictionary under a format other than the one you’ve searched for. For example, if you search for logon, the headword login is displayed:

    In such cases the Irish translation for both versions of the headword is the same.

  • If you look up a word using the American English spelling, this will cross-reference you to the non-American spelling of the same word. For example, if you search for anemia the headword anaemia is displayed:

  • If you look up a word which isn’t in the dictionary, the software attempts to find the nearest matching word. For example, the word civil isn’t yet published, so when you search for this word the dictionary displays instead the headword civil war, which is the closest match it finds.

    For further information on words which aren’t yet in the dictionary, see FAQ Why can’t I find the word I’m looking for?

Can I click on the word that I want to look up?

Yes you can, from another entry, from any text on the website, or from outside the website.

  • From another entry

    If you’re on the dictionary website and you’ve just looked up, for example, the word login:

    You now decide you’d like some more information about the Irish translation for details, which appears as part of the entry displayed above. Simply double-click on the word details, and then click once on the ‘Translation’ label which now appears above it:

    … the headword detail is then displayed:

  • From any text on the website

    If you’re on the dictionary website you can also use the double-click feature described immediately above to look up a word anywhere on this website, other than a word that’s contained within a dictionary entry. For example, you can double-click on the word ‘example’ in this sentence to look it up – try it now!

  • From outside the website

    You can use our double-click plug-in to look up words from your own browser using the double-click feature – see Can I get the New English-Irish Dictionary on my browser toolbar?

Finding examples of Irish usage

You can use the Advanced Search to find examples of correct Irish usage or to check grammatical rules.

Example 1

Suppose you’re not sure whether or not a noun is lenited (with a séimhiú) or aspirated (with an urú) after the preposition ‘chuig’. You can check this by using the following parameters in the Advanced Search screen:

  • Type ‘chuig’ in the Search box;
  • Select Irish as the language;
  • Select ‘Example translations’ in the ‘Search in’ box:

When you click the search button, you’ll see the following results:

From the results highlighted in the red boxes, you can see that the noun isn't lenited or aspirated when it comes immediately after ‘chuig’; on the other hand, the results in blue boxes illustrate that after ‘chuig an’ the noun requires either an urú or a séimhiú.

(Note that there are also several examples of the word ‘chúig’ shown in the results above – this is because the Advanced Search looks for matches regardless of the fada).

Example 2

Suppose you’re not sure whether a particular number is followed by the singular or plural form of the noun – for example, let’s say you want to say ‘there were a thousand of them’, and you’re not sure whether you should say ‘míle ceann’ or ‘míle cinn’. Once again enter the three necessary parameters in the Advanced Search screen:

The results clearly show that the number ‘míle’ is always followed by the singular form of the noun:

Some of the entries are quite long, are there any shortcuts to the details I need?

Yes, there are several:

  • (a) Using the links from the entry summary box

    If an entry contains 5 or more main senses, a summary box with all the main meanings is shown at the top of the headword. For example, if you look up dog you’ll see the following:

    If it’s the translations of dog as a verb you’re after, then simply click on item 6 in the summary box above. This will scroll you directly down to where the translations of dog as a verb start:

  • (b) Using the browser ‘find’ function

    In most browsers you can use the CTRL+F keys to find a text string on the screen. Supposing, for example, you’re at the top of entry eat, which is quite a long entry but doesn’t have a summary box because it has less than 5 main senses, and let’s say it’s the phrasal verb eat up that you’re looking for. In this case you can simply type CTRL+F, enter the text ‘eat up’ and press ENTER; you’ll now be brought directly down to the part of the entry you want:

  • (c) Using the Search Results panel

    When you look up any word in the dictionary, the Search Results panel on the right-hand side shows all phrasal verbs, phrases and compound headwords which contain your search string. So if, for example, you’ve looked up get, which is one of the longest entries in the dictionary, you’ll see the following:

    If the phrasal verb or phrase or compound you want appears in the Search Results panel, simply click on it to go to the part of the entry you want to view (or indeed to a separate entry – see below). For example, if it’s a case that you want to look up the Irish for get out, you can click on this text in the Search Results panel as shown below:

    Once again this will scroll you down directly to the part of the entry you want:

    You can also use the Search Panel to select a completely different headword if you wish. For example, if you search for centre you’ll see the following:

    If it’s the Irish for day centre you’re looking for, click on this headword in the Search Results panel:

    …and the compound headword day centre will be displayed to you:

Why can’t I get the dictionary on my browser / mobile phone / tablet / other handheld device?

  • Browsers

    The dictionary has been tested on the latest versions of the following major browsers – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. If it isn’t working on your browser, it may be because you’re using an older version, or because you’re using a browser other than those listed.

  • Handheld devices

    The dictionary has also been tested on a wide array of mobile phones and tablets, but unfortunately it hasn’t been possible to test it on every single type of handheld device. If it doesn’t work on your device, it may be because it’s an older model, or it may be because a parameter needs to be set. We suggest contacting your supplier if you encounter any problems.

Are there any apps for the new dictionary?

Our app is available for Apple and Android devices. Click here for more information.

How do I browse the content of the dictionary?

  1. Select the Browse Dictionary option from the toolbar at the top of the screen.

  2. Select the letter of the alphabet you want:

  3. Select the range you want to browse:

  4. And finally select the individual headword(s) you want to look up from the range displayed:

  5. You can use the browser back button to return from the headword display to the list above and to display more headwords, if you wish.

How do I send feedback about the dictionary?

You’re welcome to email us at aiseolas@focloir.ie.

Can I get the New English-Irish Dictionary on my browser toolbar?

Yes you can – see section Tools for more information.

Are there any webmaster tools?

Yes there are – see section Tools for more information.

How do I cite the dictionary?

You can insert a link to any entry in the dictionary in any document you wish, by simply copying the URL from your browser when the relevant entry is displayed on the screen.

For example, if entry abdomen is displayed on your screen:

… then the URL in your browser will be the following:

Simply copy this URL to wherever you need to insert it. For example, if you’re writing a document about certain dictionary entries, you might use the URL as follows:

‘…and here’s another example of a single-sense entry which has more than one Irish translation: focloir.ie/en/dictionary/ei/abdomen?q=abdomen ...’

Note that if you want to reference an entry from an email you don’t need to go through the above procedure, simply click the email icon in the top right of the screen instead.

Word of the Day
adjective: leamh, neamhbhlasta, támáilte