Cassidese Glossary – Arrah Na Pogue

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.

It is hard to see why Arrah-Na-Pogue is included in Cassidy’s list. It is the title of an 1865 play by Dion Boucicoult. Arrah is a version of Anna, while the phrase na póige means ‘of the kiss’. Thus its meaning is Anna of the Kiss and this is the usual translation given in English.

Cassidy says that it is Ara na bPóg, Arrah of the Kiss. This is a basic grammatical error. The phrase na bpóg means ‘of the kisses’, not ‘of the kiss’. Cassidy is correct in stating that Irish póg comes from Latin, but it does not come directly from pax. It is a shortened version of osculum pacis, kiss of peace.

Incidentally, Dinneen also states that the phrase ara na bpóg means ‘one given to kissing’, but in the play and the 1911 silent film based on it, Arrah is clearly the name of the central character.

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