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: https://www.etymonline.com/word/cove)