I was reading about Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ireland — on an Irish news site — and was surprised to see the word gobshite bandied about in the comments. Gobshite?
Literally, gobshite combines two wonderful words of the British Isles, gob (mouth) and shite (sh*t). Mouthsh*t doesn’t have a great ring to it — but gobshite? That’s brilliant.
I found this definition online:
1. (UK, Irish, slang, moderately offensive) One who engages in nonsensical chatter or unwanted conversation.
2. (UK, Irish, slang, moderately offensive) A person of very poor judgment and unpleasant character.
Another esteemed online reference, Urban Dictionary, defines gobshite as a “Loud-mouthed person who talks a lot, but nothing with any value – as in shite coming out of their gob.”
You will also find definitions that say gobshite refers to what one expels from their mouth while chewing tobacco, which is both colorful and appropriate.
Several years ago after a listener complained about the word, the BBC’s Ulster service ruled it was acceptable for broadcast. According to a 2007 newspaper report:
“The meaning conveyed by the words ‘shite’ and ‘gobshite’ in the vernacular of Northern Ireland, and in the context of this programme in particular, was different from other parts of the UK in that they did necessarily not carry the same level of offence and aggression and could be seen as a form of comedic banter.” The language was also “appropriate for children listening during school holidays”.
As for America, I’m not sure gobshite would fly, but I encourage you to give it a shot. Next time your commenting in your local newspaper’s blog section, see if you can work in a gobshite or two. I promise to do the same.