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.
In How The Irish Invented Slang, Daniel Cassidy claimed that the expression ‘mind your own bee’s wax’ comes from the Irish word béasmhaireacht. Béasmhaireacht is an incredibly obscure word for politeness. It is a variant of béasaíocht, béasacht or béasúlacht. These are defined (in the only dictionary quoted by Cassidy, Ó Dónaill, as ‘Mannerliness, politeness’. Strangely, Cassidy defines it as ‘morality, manners, habits’. His inability to simply copy the dictionary entries without rewriting them is a major issue with his research. Nobody would ever use béasmhaireacht to say ‘mind your own business’ in Irish, and in any case, béasmhaireacht doesn’t sound anything like ‘bee’s wax’, in spite of Cassidy’s phonetics which make it look like it has something to do with bees (beeswǝraċt). In fact, béas is pronounced like English base, not like English bees.
The real explanation for ‘mind your own bee’s wax’ is given here in the excellent World Wide Words:
The truth is, quite simply that ‘mind your own bee’s wax’ is a joking or slightly softened version of ‘mind your own business’.
By the way, this is how you say ‘mind your own business’ in REAL Irish: