This is another incredibly stupid claim made in Daniel Cassidy’s staggeringly incompetent book How The Irish Invented Slang. Apparently, goo-goo is an American slang term for upper class ‘reformers’. This term derives from the phrase Good Government, and there was a string of Good Government clubs at the end of the 19th century promoting this ideology.

Daniel Cassidy, of course, begs to differ. No, this well-known and well-attested derivation is wrong. Really, it has its origins in the teeming Irish-speaking slums of New York and represents the Irish guth guth. The Irish what? I hear you ask – especially if you speak Irish. Guth guth, says Danny the Dork, a reduplication of Irish guth meaning voice or (rarely) blame. So according to Cassidy, this phrase means:

‘guth guth (pron. guh guh), complain, complain; reproach, reproach; blame blame; censure, censure; fig. blah, blah.’

Is this true? No, of course not. There is absolutely no evidence of this phrase existing anywhere outside of Cassidy’s fantasy world. It’s that well-known English phrase, shit shit.

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