Cassidese Glossary – Cove

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. 

(Note: Again, this is not in alphabetical order but in this case, these two words, cove and cuffin, are placed together in Cassidy’s book, with cuffin before crack and cracker, so I have followed his order here.)

Cove is an old cant expression for a man or a fellow. Cassidy claims that it derives from the word caomh, which he says is a noun meaning ‘a friend, a relative; a beloved object’.  Cassidy is correct about the meaning of caomh. However, there is no reason to suppose a connection between caomh and cove. Caomh is pronounced keev. The meaning of cove is man or fellow, not friend or beloved.

The word cove is believed to come from Romani: “man, person, fellow, chap,” slang from at least 1560s, said to be from Romany (Gypsy) cova “a thing,” covo “that man” [Barrère and Leland]. (See etymonline:

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