Green’s Dictionary of Slang

quare adj.

[Irish pron. of SE queer]

1. odd, eccentric, ‘queer’.

[UK]Belfast News-Letter 2 Jan. 4/2: ‘That’s a quare question for your honour to be after axing me’.
Clonmel Herald 13 May 4/3: ‘I had the devil’s quare adventure after I left you last night’.
[Ire]S. Lover Legends and Stories 40: Sure the sojer thought it was a quare throut that couldn’t be briled.
[Ire]S. Lover Handy Andy 27: Oh, my heavens! but that’s a quare thing, Misther Dick, sir.
[Ire]C.J. Kickham Knocknagow 129: ‘They’re quare times,’ said Mr. Beresford Pender.
[UK]Hartlepool Northern Dly Mail 24 Feb. 2/6: ‘Indeed, he’s a quare man altogether [...] and it isn’t worth our while to be bothering with the likes of him’.
[UK]B. Stoker Snake’s Pass 19: He was so much mulvathered at the Shnake presumin’ to sthay, [...] that for a while he didn’t think it quare that he could shpake at all.
[Ire]G. Fitzmaurice ‘Peter Fagan’s Veiled Bride’ in Weekly Freeman 17 Mar. (1970) 15: People do be talkin’ an’ sayin’ quare things.
[US]A. Irvine My Lady of the Chimney Corner 53: He looked aghast and said, ‘How quare!’.
[UK]P. O’Donnell Islanders (1933) 188: Amn’t I the quare wan to be staggerin’ like this.
[US]News (Frederick, MD) 3 Sept. 11/2: ‘That’s a queer little customer yonder in the gray suit.’ ‘Quare is the word, mister’.
[Ire]‘Flann O’Brien’ At Swim-Two-Birds 103: That’s a quare one!
[Ire]‘Myles na gCopaleen’ Best of Myles (1968) 58: That’s a quare one.
[Ire]B. Behan Quare Fellow (1960) Act II: If you would only [...] change over to a friendly subject of mutual interest – like the quare fellow that’s to be topped in the morning.
[Ire]B. Behan Brendan Behan’s Island (1984) 111: granny grunt and chorus (sings): [...] With you he was a quare one, fol-de-do and g’ ou’ a that, / He was a quare one , I tell you.
[Ire]C. Brown Down All the Days 140: Isn’t life and death quare, all the same?
[Ire]T. Murphy Thief of a Christmas in Plays: 2 (1993) Act I: I seen the quarest couple.
[Ire]D. Healy Sudden Times 242: That’s a quare one. Isn’t it, Ollie?

2. good, excellent; also as general intensifier, e.g. quare few, a fair few.

Belfast Commercial Chron. 15 Dec. 4/2: Irishman — Be the powers, but that old Virginy, with his cock eye, must be a quare man never to tire.
N.Y. Morn. Express 21 Jan. 7/1: [He] said that he had always been a ‘quare’ man until this morning, when he got drunk and took to the cross.
[UK]Royal Cornwall Gaz. 12 Apr. 7/6: The man looked at him [...] in great amazement, and then said, ‘ch shure yer a quare man for a minister’.
[Ire]C.J. Kickham Knocknagow 379: But somehow his drollery had quite deserted him; and not a single ‘quare thing’ could he remember, that would convince Bessy Morris that he [...] was the rollickingest, rovingest blade in all Tipperary.
[Ire]St. J. Ervine Mixed Marriage Act I: A don’t like Hughie goin’ after Papishes. He knows a quare lock of them.
[UK]P. O’Donnell Islanders 98: A quare ould grin he had on him, an’ be me sowl, Biddy, nobody noticed any huff on yerself.
[Ire]L. Doyle Back to Ballygullion 174: There’s a quare horse-power in that wee engine behind us, judging from the skelly I got at her.
[Ire]T. Murphy Whistle in the Dark Act I: The quare one should be waiting this hour.
[Ire]E. Mac Thomáis Janey Mack, Me Shirt is Black 70: Me mother and me granny let out a quare few shouts in their day over shoes and boots.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] Quare (n): contrary to popular belief this does not mean queer or strange but great.

3. see queer adj. (1)

In compounds

quare place (n.) (Irish)

1. hell.

[Ire]C. Brown Down All the Days 95: I hope you’re with God in heaven tonight, but I know in me heart it’s down in the quare place you are with a red-hot poker up your arse and you screaming for mercy and finding none!

2. somewhere unpleasant.

[Ire]J. Murphy A Picture of Paradise in McGuinness Dazzling Dark (1996) Act I: God knows you were never done telling them in the quare place.
quare stuff (n.)

(Irish) constr. with the, illicitly distilled whisky, poteen.

[UK]J. McGuffin In Praise of Poteen 118: Tourists seeking Irish souvenirs are not infrequently sold rot gut and told that it’s ‘a drop of the quare stuff’.

In phrases

quare man, m’da [lit. ‘odd man, my father’]

(Ulster) a general expression of disbelief.

M. Hemry Introduction to Chasing Danny [Internet] His amazing narrative voice carries his stories’ dramatic arcs, characters, and dialog about fathers in ‘Quare Man, M’ Da’.
Michael Wynne ‘Quare Man, M’ Da’ in Chasing Danny.