101+ Irish Mammy Sayings We’ve All Heard at Least Once

Never heard any Irish mammy sayings? Don’t know what they are? Then you are in the right place. Discover some of the best Irish mammy sayings right here.

What is a mammy? Mammy is a very common way of saying mum or mother in Ireland. Whether you call your mother mammy or mummy, there are some phrases uttered by them that most Irish children have heard at least once during their childhood. I’ve heard many and uttered them myself. Discover some of these Irish mammy sayings right here.

Irish mammy quotes are famous to those from the Emerald Isle. There are some we dread as a child, and others we dread uttering when we become a mammy ourselves. But most are hilarious. Here is a list of just some of the most said Irish mammy-isms.

Irish mammy sayings my own mother always said, and that I am saying to my son

Were you born in a barn?

A quote saying "Were you born in a barn?"

Did you turn off the immersion?

What time do you call this?

Wait till your father gets home!

Ask your father.

You’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached/screwed onto your shoulders.

If you don’t have a clean plate you’re not getting dessert.

You’ll eat what you get or you can starve.

Why? Because I said so.

What part of no don’t you understand?

Answer me when I ask you a question/speak to you.

Over my dead body!

A quote saying "Over my dead body!"

Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Jaysis – Now being repeated by my young son!

What did I say the first time?

God, give me patience!

I’ll light a candle for you.

How many times do I need to tell you?

Don’t make me ask you again.

The state of this room, it’s like a pig sty.

Have you done your homework yet?

What did your last slave die of?

I’ll give you something to cry about.

I don’t care who started it, I’m finishing it.

A quote saying "I don't care who started it, I'm finishing it!"

Don’t make me come up there.

Don’t cross your eyes or they’ll stay like that.

Are your hands broken? No, then pick it up yourself.

Are your legs broken? No, then you can walk yourself.

God gave you legs/hands/arms, use them.

If you fall and break your legs, don’t come running to me crying!

Where do you think you are going dressed like that?

You are NOT going out dressed like that!

You’ll understand when you’re older.

I’ll tell ye when you’re older.

Who do you think you’re talking to like that?

Look at me when I’m talking to you!

Ah, the dead arose and appeared to many!

A quote saying "Ah, the dead arose and appeared to many!"

Would you look at what the cat dragged in?

Put that down, you don’t know where it’s been!

Where do you think you’re going?

My house, my rules. When you own your own house you can make the rules.

Right, that’s it, I’m getting the wooden spoon – One sentence we dreaded in my house. I once broke the wooden spoon aged 7 and was so petrified, I hid the tow parts on top of the wardrobe so my mother couldn’t find it. I still don’t know if she ever did!

I don’t care what everyone else is doing/has.

If Anne stuck her hand in the fire, would you do it too?

I swear to God – Can be followed by any other Irish mammy saying.

Don’t make me get up off this chair!

Are you deaf or something?

Am I talking to a brick wall?

Money doesn’t grow on trees.

A quote saying "Money doesn't grow on trees!"

Do you think I’m made of money?

It’s way past your bedtime – Uttered most nights to my son.

If you are too sick to go to school, you’re too sick to play outside/watch TV/play games.

How do you know what it tastes like if you haven’t even tried it.

Sick back from the TV or you’ll get square eyes and need glasses like me – I do have to wear glasses as a result of sitting too close to the TV in the ’80s.

Did you brush your teeth?

Did you comb/brush your hair?

A little birdie told me.

I’ll see – Meant not happening!

Stick out your tongue – Looking for the black mark to indicate you are lying. We’ve actually taken a picture of our son with his tongue out, added a mark (good old smartphones), and showed him. Now 4 years on we can still tell if he’s lying by whether he’ll actually stick out his tongue or not.

A quote saying "Stick out your tongue!"

Pick that up before someone trips over it.

Take your coat off or it’ll be no use to you when you go back outside.

Don’t make me count to three!

I have eyes in the back of my head.

Are ye making tea?

Turn on/off the big light!

Other Irish mammy-isms

Bridget, Mary, Josephine, Anne, one of yis!

A quote saying "Bridget, Mary, Josephine, Anne, one of yis"!

You’ll eat it and you will like it.

Yes, I AM the boss of you!

Do you think I came down in the last shower?

I didn’t float up the (local river name) in a bubble! (pretty much means the same things as the previous saying)

Who died and made you the boss?

I don’t care who put it there, pick it up!

You’re getting on my nerves.

Sure who’d be looking at ye!

I’ve had it up to here with the lot of ye.

If I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it.

A letter came in the post for you, will I open it?

A quote saying "A letter came in the post for you, will I open it?"

You’ll be the death of me.

I’m going to skin you alive.

You’ll have your eye out with that thing.

Who is she, the cat’s mother?

If you stick out your tongue again I’ll cut it off!

You better wipe that smile off your face or I’ll do it for you.

I’ll put that smile on the other side of your face.

Say sorry like you mean it.

Close the door, you don’t live in a barn!

Beds were not made for jumping on.

Don’t use that tone with me young man/lady!

Don’t ask me why, the answer is NO!

A quote saying "Don't ask me why, the answer is NO!"

I don’t have to explain myself to you. The answer is NO!

Don’t walk away from me when I’m talking to you!

No child of mine is going out dressed like that.

You won’t be happy until you break it.

Are you a man or a mouse?

You could grow cabbages behind those ears.

Eat your vegetables, they’re good for you/will make you strong.

Don’t talk with your mouth full.

If you are not asleep when I come up, you’re in trouble/I’ll kill ya.

If I have to count to three, I’m getting your father.

If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times.

The starving children in Africa would eat it.

A quote saying "The starving children in Africa would eat it"

I’m not a taximan you know.

I’ll treat you like a grown-up when you start acting like one/If you want to be treated like an adult, start acting like one.

As long as you live under my roof, you’ll do say I say.

I hope someday you have children just like you.

I brought you into this world, I can take you out just as easy.

Don’t EVER let me catch you doing that again.

Do you think this is a hotel/restaurant?

A little soap and water never harmed anyone.

There’s enough dirt in those ears to grow potatoes.

If Sean’s mam let him jump off a cliff, would you want me to let you do it too?

Watch your mouth.

Go wash your mouth out with soap and water.

A quote saying "Go wash your mouth out with soap and water"

Turn that racket down!

Believe me, this hurts me more than it hurts you.

Be quiet and eat your dinner.

Say that again and I’ll give you a thick ear.

If you can stay out all night, you can get up this morning.

Stop running in the house.

If you eat that, you’ll get worms.

I suppose you think your clothes are going to pick themselves up off the floor.

If you stay in the shower any longer, you’ll wash down the drain.

Now turn around till I see what it looks like on ye.

I’ll redden your arse for ye.

The house is lit up like a Christmas tree, turn off the lights!

A quote saying "The house is lit up like a Christmas tree, turn off the lights.


This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you know of any I have missed off, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

Now, how many of you have heard these sayings?

More Irish culture posts:

by Cath Jordan
Cath is an Irish expat and the founder of Travel Around Ireland. She and her husband both come from Dublin, where the rest of their family remains. They regularly return to the Emerald Isle to explore the country with their son as well as to visit family. Through Travel Around Ireland, Cath shares her local expertise and knowledge with travellers and visitors to Ireland. Find out more about Cath here.

4 thoughts on “101+ Irish Mammy Sayings We’ve All Heard at Least Once”

  1. I lost count as to how many of these sayings my mom said to me. It’s been a few generations since my family came from Ireland but I can still hear my mom.

  2. My mom, “Brida”, used to call me a “Durn little idgit”.
    She was from pure Irish parents; Coffey and Curren. I always loved her name.


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