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.
This is another perfect example of Cassidy’s incompetence as a researcher. Cassidy claims that button, which apparently is a slang term for a dealer in gambling, derives from the ‘Irish’ phrase beart t-aon, which Cassidy says means ‘the one who deals’. This is complete nonsense. Beart means an act or action. In games it means a move (as in a move in chess or in backgammon) and it is not likely that it would be used for a deal in cards. Most Irish speakers would use déanamh for this – you could also use roinnt or dáileadh.
Even if it did mean a deal of cards, this doesn’t mean that it could be used for the person who deals the cards. And while the word aon means one (as in the numeral) it isn’t used to mean ‘the one (who did something)’. This is an té. So, how would real Irish speakers say ‘the one who deals’? An té a dhéanann na cártaí, or An té a dháileann na cártaí, or An té a roinneann na cártaí. Not beart t-aon. And what is that t- doing there? How could that possibly make any sense in terms of the rules of Irish grammar?
This is a little like somone claiming that the dealer in a game of cards would be called el repartir uno in Spanish.