Another unconvincing claim from Daniel Cassidy is that the term ben or benny, a slang term for an overcoat, comes from the Irish báinín. Why is this unconvincing? It is not impossible but the fact is that there is no evidence for an Irish connection. The word báinín describes a rough homespun cloth or a rough jacket or waistcoat made from it and is actually found in English dictionaries under the phonetic spelling bawneen. It is hard to see why people wouldn’t talk about their bawneen or even their bawn rather than their ben. Ben, benny, benjamin and benjy are all used as names for an overcoat in American slang. Joseph is also used. Both Joseph and Benjamin are associated with the coat story in the Bible and also they are obvious Jewish names, and many tailors were Jewish, both in America and in England. These terms are not used in Ireland itself.

In short, this one is not crazy but it’s not very smart either. Where’s the evidence?


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