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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 12:38 GMT
Eejit: Northern Ireland's idiot wind
eejit n, noun, excessively foolish fellow, stereotypical Irish insult. Plain "idiot" according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

USAGE: "The people will decide who's playing the eejit," David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionists, referring to parties and members of the Northern Ireland Assembly who had been trying to prevent his re-appointment as first minister

VERIFICATION: assembly speaker Lord Alderdice ruled "eejit" not to be "un-parliamentary" language after assembly member Billy Hutchinson's assertion: "You'll never find me hiding behind anyone, you eejit, shut up."

CITATION: Irish comedian Sean Hughes, who in Alan Parker's classic 1991 film The Commitments played Dave, an A&R man for Eejit Records; cemented term as almost being too Irish to be true.

CITATION 2: as used in three priests and a little lady comedy Father Ted, viz, Dougal: "I've been drinking like a mad eejit! " (See Internet links for audio)

CONNOTATION: comic citations confirm affectionate use of eejit as word connoting almost lovable rogue, old duffer, oaf. As such, its use between rival characters in Northern Ireland politics may be considered incongruous - firstly due to the gravity of the situation, and secondly because despite advances in peace process, actual affection between players has not yet been widely displayed. Could it be an early sign of traditional political insults - croppy boy, Provo lover - being put permanently beyond use?

ALTERNATIVE: given the scuffles that broke out in Stormont's Great Hall after Mr Trimble's re-appointment, more suitable Irish slang terms may be gouger - aggressive, unpleasant person - or gurrier - rough, aggressive person.

Comments can be submitted to the E-cyclopedia by clicking here.

Some of your comments:

The TOGs [Terry's Old Geezers - Terry Wogan's fan club members] amongst us will remember that Our Tel introduced this expression to Middle England a few years back now.
John, UK

A huge part of Northern Ireland's heritage, and it's population, comes originally from the west of Scotland. The word "eejit" has been in common use in the Glasgow area for generations, certainly since the 19th Century.
David McKenzie, UK

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