Cassidese Glossary – Bird

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.

Apparently, a bird was once used in American slang to mean something excellent. Cassidy traces this to the Irish word beart, which, according to his definition (he gives no references to any dictionaries or sources), means:

“A great deed, an admirable feat, an exploit, an action, a plan; a prank, a trick, a joke, a gag, a spoof, sport.’

According to Ó Dónaill’s Irish-English dictionary, beart means a bundle or parcel, or a lot as in ‘a job lot’; a garment; a cast or move in a game; a shift or plan; a proceeding, action or transaction; a berth (of a ship).

According to Dinneen’s dictionary, beart can mean an act, a deed; behaviour; a game or trick (at cards), a move in a game, an appointment, a situation, a bunch or heap (of the hair, etc.); a bundle (of rushes, straw, etc.), gear, apparatus, paraphernalia.

There is no reason to suppose that there is any connection between ‘a bird’ and the Irish beart.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.