blar·​ney | \ ˈblär-nē How to pronounce blarney (audio) \

Definition of blarney

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : skillful flattery : blandishment


geographical name
Blar·​ney | \ ˈblär-nē How to pronounce Blarney (audio) \

Definition of Blarney (Entry 2 of 2)

town in County Cork, southwestern Ireland population 1952

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Other Words from blarney


blarney verb

Did You Know?

The village of Blarney in County Cork, Ireland, is home to Blarney Castle, and in the southern wall of that edifice lies the famous Blarney Stone. Legend has it that anyone who kisses the Blarney Stone will gain the gift of skillful flattery, but that gift must be attained at the price of some limber maneuvering - you have to lie down and hang your head over a precipice to reach and kiss the stone. One story claims the word blarney gained popularity as a word for flattery after Queen Elizabeth I of England used it to describe the flowery (but apparently less than honest) cajolery of McCarthy Mor, who was then the lord of Blarney Castle.

Examples of blarney in a Sentence

Noun She was charmed by his blarney. a tale with more than a hint of blarney
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Enjoy a wee bit o’ blarney and Irish music at the Plymouth Arts Center March 13-14. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Art in the Burg, and more to do around Wisconsin this week," 8 Mar. 2020 The scandal cast him instead as a blarney artist, a man so in love with the power of a good story that facts were incidental. Time, "‘You’ve Got to Have Purpose.’ Joe Biden's 2020 Campaign Is the Latest Test in a Lifetime of Loss," 30 Jan. 2020 Appropriately enough, the Three Clubs show includes not just tricks and blarney, but a range of performers who would not seem out of place in the Catskills in 1911 — ventriloquists, jugglers, comedians and other magicians. Scott Timberg, Los Angeles Times, "Bad Boys of Magic trade the birds and bunnies for booze and banter," 16 Aug. 2019 And Adam Cork’s music is full of the blarney of Celtic lilt. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Orlando Bloom and Aidan Turner Are Drenched in Blood in London," 4 July 2018 As portrayed with loose-limbed brio by recent Salem State University graduate Chris Kandra (a find), Gerry is one of those rogues who seems to believe his own blarney. Don Aucoin,, "A dance of regret in Gloucester Stage’s ‘Lughnasa’," 20 June 2018 Take that incongruity as fair warning for the blarney that lies ahead. Ron Charles,, "As a novelist, David Duchovny is no Sean Penn," 3 May 2018 Here are some events in North Texas sure to bring out the blarney in everyone. Kathy Harris, star-telegram, "Green beer. Parades. Here's where to go for St. Patrick's Day in Dallas-Fort Worth | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 12 Mar. 2018 Yet what might be called his Irish blarney allowed him to communicate easily with bond traders and lower-level Fed workers. Landon Thomas Jr., New York Times, "William McDonough, Who Guided New York Fed Through Crises, Dies at 83," 26 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'blarney.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of blarney


1780, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for blarney


Blarney stone, a stone in Blarney Castle, near Cork, Ireland, held to bestow skill in flattery on those who kiss it

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The first known use of blarney was in 1780

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Cite this Entry

“Blarney.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce Blarney (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of blarney

informal : talk that is not true but that is nice and somewhat funny and that may be used to trick you

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for blarney

Spanish Central: Translation of blarney

Nglish: Translation of blarney for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about blarney

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