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Irish twins

  • Interestingly, the term Irish twins is an idiom that originated in the United States. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal meaning. We will examine the meaning of the idiom Irish twins, whether it is appropriate to use it, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

    Irish twins are two children born to the same mother with a year or less between their birth dates. Irish twins usually find themselves attending the same year of schooling at the same time, though they are of two different ages. The term first appeared in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century, a time when there was a great surge of Irish immigrants into the United States. Most Irish immigrants at that time were strict Catholics, and therefore, did not practice family planning. It was not uncommon for Irish families to be quite large, with children coming into the family almost yearly. For this reason, it is easy to see that the term Irish twins was at the time considered a pejorative, making a negative comment upon their “differentness” as immigrants. Many people still consider it to be an offensive term, especially outside of the United States. However, Americans of Irish descent often embrace the term, in the way that other groups have embraced terms that were once offensive such as hillbilly and redneck. In any case, there is a good chance that someone in your audience would be offended by the term, and it is best not to use it.

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    Examples

    “It’s very possible we’ll have two under the age of 1,” the reality star revealed. “They’ll definitely be Irish twins!” (US Magazine)

    The term “Irish twins” is a colloquialism stemming from babies born close together, but twins born 87 days apart in Ireland in a record-setting pregnancy are not what the term was initially coined to describe. (The Inquisitr)

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