For some time now, some of my on-line friends have advised me to provide a version of CassidySlangScam without the invective aimed at Cassidy and his supporters. In response to that advice, I am working on providing a glossary of the terms in Cassidy’s ludicrous book How The Irish Invented Slang with a short, simple and business-like explanation of why Cassidy’s version is wrong.
The term ‘big bug’ is an American expression that corresponds to terms like ‘bigwig’, big cheese, big wheel, big shot. In other words, it means someone important.
Cassidy points out that there is a very similar phrase in Irish, boc mór, which means a ‘big buck’. It is used in the same way as the English term. You could imagine someone using this term in the same way as big bug and with the same meaning.
Síleann sé gur boc mór é.
He thinks he’s a boc mór.
He thinks he’s a big bug.
In other words, this is a very good match. This is about as good as it gets in Cassidy’s ‘research’. However, while I accept that the link is possible, it is far from certain that there is any link between big bug and boc mór, because there is no evidence, and the English expression ‘big bug’ makes perfect sense on its own – at least as much sense as big cheese or big wheel.