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gurrier (plural gurriers)

  1. (slang, Ireland, pejorative) spiv, rascal; lout, ruffian; street urchin
    • [1954] 1967: transcript of Patrick Kavanagh's libel action; reprinted in Collected pruse, MacGibbon & Kee, p.172:
      "At the beginning of our encounter I want a definition. What is a gurrier? —It is a euphemism for the word 'gutter'.
      At all events it is part of your verbal currency? —It is not. It is currency in Dublin."
    • 1966, Seamus De Burca, The Irish digest, Vol. 86, page 25:
      'The Garda sergeant wanted to know the distinction between a Gouger and a Gurrier. Mr. Howard, who was a true-blue Dubliner, supplied the answer: "A Gurrier is a little man cut short, a mickey dazzler. He cuts a dash among the girls and is always willing and able to strike a blow for a pal. But our Gurrier, unlike the Gouger, never gets into trouble with the police."'
    • 29 November, 1967, Committee on Finance. - Vote 6—Office of the Minister for Finance (Resumed)., Dáil Éireann - Vol.231,col.1076:
      Mr. Dillon: Oh, I am not referring to the Minister as a gurrier. I am only expressing amazement that a resident of Clontarf, who has graduated to Portmarnock, should use the language of the gurrier.
      Mr. Haughey: You are wrong on both counts and I do not resent the title “gurrier” at all.
    • [1970] 2001, Edna O'Brien, A Pagan Place, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, →ISBN, p.121:
      "She said the gentleman in question was nothing but a gurrier. She went into details over his garb and his accent. He wore a blazer with brass buttons and his trousers were gray flannel. He was the sporting type. His accent she said had to be heard to be believed, likewise his impertinence. She called him a pup. Then she said gurrier. Then she reverted to pup."
    • 1980, Padraic O'Farrell, How the Irish speak English, Mercier Press, p.22:
      "A 'gouger', 'gurrier', 'cowboy' or 'gink' is a bad type of fellow."
    • 1983, Benedict Kiely, Dublin, Oxford University Press, →ISBN, p.3:
      "People from other parts of Ireland refer to Dubliners as Jackeens or Gurriers. Jackeen in the city always meant a cunning, loudmouthed, ignorant youth: while Gurrier was a term of approbation. In the Thirties and Forties to be a Great Little Gurrier was to be a bosom friend, a fine fellow, a taproom companion: but today it has been debased and is the equivalent of a bowsey or a gouger."
    • 1994, Joseph O'Connor, The secret world of the Irish male, →ISBN, page 149:
      "The old man told me that James Joyce was nothing but a dirty little pup who had never done a decent day's work in his life, a dirty little gurrier who had run Ireland down for money"
    • 1998, Kevin Corrigan Kearns, Dublin voices: an oral folk history, page 201:
      "A gurrier means a fella that was rough and tough and would pick a fight quite easily and his language wasn't the best"
    • 31 January, 2002, Paul Bradford, Private Members' Business. - Crime Levels: Motion Resumed., Dáil Éireann - Vol.547,col.870:
      "Some weeks ago I was a victim of crime within 150 yards of the gates of Leinster House. I was approached or set upon by a little gurrier with a syringe."

Usage notesEdit

  • Originally and mainly restricted to Dublin


Derived termsEdit

Further readingEdit