The popular phrase "Irish goodbye" is used in the media and conversations quite frequently. What does it mean, and how is it connected to Ireland?
The Irish goodbye is used by people who do not want to stay at parties for a long time. But what exactly does it mean, and what is the etymology of this phrase?
What is an Irish goodbye?
What is an Irish exit and why is it called so?
According to Dictionary.com, an Irish exit is when you sneak out of a party without telling anyone. It may be rude, but it keeps you from having any awkward, half-in-half-out-the-door conversations.
Is the Irish goodbye rude?
People often argue about the social implications of such a move.
Some say that it can be acceptable when the person is too drunk or not in a mood to say goodbye and wants to avoid awkward conversations.
An Irish exit is also suitable when a party is bad or boring and you are not comfortable staying there any longer.
However, others feel like sneaking out without saying your goodbye is rude, as it makes people wonder where you went and whether you disliked their party or company.
It is often compared to ghosting, a term that is used to describe sudden withdrawing from all communication without explanation.
Is it Irish exit or Irish goodbye?
Both options can be used in a sentence, and there is no significant difference between them. A lot of times, people switch between these two expressions.
Where does the Irish exit get its name from?
No one knows exactly why this phenomenon is called Irish farewell. There is no particular stereotype about people from Ireland leaving parties without exchanging a few last words with their hosts and friends.
However, it is commonly believed that the phrase originates from Boston, an American city that has a large population of Irish residents.
The term was initially used to describe someone who drank too much and left a social gathering without letting people know about it, so no one could notice how intoxicated they are.
This phrase might have also been derived from the stereotype about Irish people drinking a lot.
Some other theories suggest that the British came up with this phrase to mock their neighbors, as Ireland was under their rule for a long time. This is possibly why those who hear this phrase assume that people from Ireland are used to leaving parties without a trace, even though it is not supported by evidence.
In the early 2000s, the phrase became widespread and started being used in popular culture a lot.
For instance, there was a song "Irish Goodbye" by Maria Taylor, where the singer depicts the feelings that she experiences as she is about to leave a party.
Irish goodbyes usually are a sign of poor etiquette. However, it is considered acceptable when the gathering you are at is full of strangers and there is no point for you of being there anymore, or if you are too drunk.
Other variations of the Irish goodbye
There are some similar phrases to Irish exit that bear the same meaning. Some of them contain the names of other countries and nations.
The expression "French leave" originated in the middle of the 18th century in England, and then got picked up by other languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Slovenian.
It is unknown why the English decided to associate such an exit with France, but the French did not take it lightly.
Eventually, the phrase "to leave as the English" appeared in the French language. Some other countries that did not have a similar expression picked it up - such as Hungary, Romania, and Russia.
As for the Irish goodbye, this is one of the rarer variations of the expression, and it is used primarily in England and the United States.
Some countries use their own versions of this term. For instance, Germany, which is geographically close to Poland, came up with its own phrase, "to make a Polish exit".
It is hard for linguistic experts to trace the exact origins of all these expressions. However, the most common theories suggest that such idioms are born when one country wants to mock the other for some reason.
For instance, when England called it "French leave", it was an insult towards the French, as a nod to their rivalry of many years.
As for the "Polish exit", the Germans came up with it after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
This phrase also has a version that does not mention a specific nationality. Sometimes, when someone leaves without bidding farewell to others, this person is thought to have left "like a thief in the night".
The thief version of this phrase suggests a secretive and stealthy manner of leaving a social event. It can be used when someone abandons a party without telling anyone, and it does not have any connotations with nationalities and countries.
The Irish goodbye is a controversial phenomenon, which leads to people often sharing their opinions on it when they hear the expression. It has a few synonyms that reference other nationalities and is not specific to the Irish.