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.
Daniel Cassidy, in his work of false etymology, How The Irish Invented Slang, says that a brace game is a crooked gambling game. He claims that it comes from the Irish phrase beir as.
I don’t know where brace comes from in this case, though the strongest suggestion seems to be that it comes from a kind of brace or lever used to fix the device known as a case keeper in the card game Faro.
It doesn’t come from beir as, which is a dictionary entry, not a phrase. Beir is an imperative (an order or instruction) and as means ‘out of’. So it means, if it means anything, ‘take out of’.
Cassidy provides no evidence for his meaning of crooked. Nobody has ever used cluiche beir as to mean anything in Irish, let alone a crooked game. Here are some genuine uses of beir as:
Beir as é, take it away.
Beir as tú! Go away! You don’t mean it!
Rug siad as an oíche mar sin, in that way they passed the night.
Ag breith as, making off.
Dá mbeadh breith as dá rogha agam, if I could pick and choose.