Monthly Archives: August 2019

Cassidese Glossary – Gump

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.

According to Cassidy, the word gump, meaning chicken, comes from the Irish word colm, pronounced collum. This doesn’t mean a chicken – it means a dove or pigeon – but according to Cassidy it would be used ‘figuratively’ for a chicken. He cites no sources for this opinion and gives no evidence at all but in any case, the two words are so unlike each other in sound and in meaning that this can be dismissed immediately as nonsense.

Not only that but the term gump was used to mean an idiot (especially female) for nearly a century before it was first applied to a chicken.

Cassidese Glossary – Guffaw

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.

There is no mystery about the origins of the word guffaw. It’s a Scottish term imitative of the sound of a hearty laugh, like ho-ho-ho in English or pá há (gáire) in Irish. See a brief account of its etymology here: https://www.etymonline.com/word/guffaw

According to the late Daniel Cassidy, this comes from gáire foghar, which he claims means: ‘a laughing sound or noise.’ In fact, Cassidy has got this the wrong way round. Gáire foghair (it needs to be in the genitive) would mean ‘a laugh of sound’, which doesn’t mean anything. It would have to be ‘a sound of laughter’, which would be foghar gáire. In other words, this ‘Irish’ phrase is completely fake and the genuine origin is well-known anyway.

Cassidese Glossary – Grumble

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.

In his book How The Irish Invented Slang, Daniel Cassidy claims that the English word grumble comes from the Irish gruaim béal or gruaim béil, meaning despondency of mouth. As usual, the Irish phrase which is supposedly the origin of the word is not a real Irish phrase and Cassidy provides no evidence for its use. Try looking it up on Google. And it really isn’t a likely expression anyway.

As usual, Cassidy was less than honest about the source of the word grumble. He says that the OED says ‘proximate source uncertain.’ This is very telling. Proximate means immediate. Here’s what the OED really has to say on this subject, before Cassidy cut it and twisted it into the shape that suited him:

“Etymology: Proximate source uncertain: compare French grommeler to mutter between the teeth, Dutch grommelen, < grommen to rumble, growl (compare GRUMME, v.), German grummeln to rumble.”

In other words, grumble is closely related in sound and meaning to words in German and  Dutch, as well as a Germanic loanword in French. It’s either a borrowing from German or Dutch or an unrecorded cognate of these words in Old English. The details of this are in doubt, hence the ‘proximate source uncertain’. However, the Germanic origin isn’t uncertain. The wind doesn’t blow from the south and the north at the same time. If the word comes from the Germanic languages, it doesn’t come from Irish, even if the supposed Irish derivation were really convincing, which in this case it isn’t.

Cassidese Glossary – Growler

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.

A growler was a bucket of beer in the slums of New York. People were sent out to fill the bucket with beer and they carried it home covered with a tin lid. Because the fizzy beer gave off gas, the lid rattled continually and this was the growling.

Daniel Cassidy ignored this reasonable explanation. According to him, growler represents gearr-ól úr, meaning ‘a fresh, short drink’. This is incredibly contrived and totally improbable, especially as the real, English etymology is well-known.

Cassidese Glossary – Ground Sweat

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.

We have already dealt with this above. Cassidy’s explanation is that it comes from grian suite, which he claims means ‘a sunny site, a sunny spot; fig. a gravesite.’

Grian suite makes no sense in terms of Irish grammar, as it would mean ‘of a sunny site’ (genitives cannot stand along in Irish) or ‘sun-situated’, in which case it would have to be one word. There is no evidence of sunny site or any similar phrase being used for a grave in Irish or in Ireland. This seems to be based on American cemetery names like Sunnylands – if it’s based on anything at all.

In fact, a ground sweat refers to the liquefaction of the body in the grave.

Cassidese Glossary – Grouch

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.

Cassidy claims that grouch comes from the Irish cráite (kraw-cha or krah-cha), which means tormented. This is not a good match in terms of sound or meaning.

Back in the real world, grouch is believed to be a version of the ancient word grutch:

https://www.etymonline.com/word/grutch

 

Cassidese Glossary – Grifter

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.

Cassidy claims that this is another version of grafadóir. As we saw with the words Graft and Grafter, grafadóir means someone who digs over a garden or field and has no connotations of scrounging, money-grubbing or corruption. These meanings were invented by Cassidy.

Cassidese Glossary – Graft, Grafter

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 one of Cassidy’s claims that I found completely incomprehensible at first. Cassidy claims that the terms graft (as in corruption) and grafter (corrupt politician) come from the Irish words grafadh and grafadóir.

He claims that grafadh (which is pronounced graffa or graffoo) means “grubbing, scrounging; hoeing” and that grafadóir means “a grubber; a scrounger, a moocher; fig. a professional politician.”

In reality, grafadh means to hoe or dig or grub, while a grafadóir is a grubber or a hoer, someone who uses a hoe or a mattock to break up the top surface of a garden or a field.

So where does all the stuff about scrounging and professional politicians come from? Well, the only explanation I can think of is that because in English the term grub has connotations of scrounging and corruption, then the fact that the terms grafadh and grafadóir are linked to the English word grubbing (only in the sense of digging), then Cassidy felt it was justified to attach all the meanings of grub in English to these Irish words, even though it is quite clear that they refer only to digging gardens and fields. Applying this to other words, capall is the Irish for horse and must also mean heroin or any kind of opiate because the English word horse can mean heroin. Giota is the Irish for piece, but it must also mean gun because the English word piece means gun. Of course, this is nonsense. Capall doesn’t mean heroin, giota doesn’t mean gun, grafadóir doesn’t mean a money-grubbing politician.

Back in the real world, graft is probably linked to the British English graft meaning work, which is probably of Dutch origin.

Cassidese Glossary – Gopher

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.

The Gopher Gang was a group of New York Irish gangsters in the early twentieth century. Their name traditionally derives from their habit of hiding out in cellars, like a bunch of subterranean gophers.

Daniel Cassidy, in his book How The Irish Invented Slang, ignored this explanation and claimed that the word gopher is really a corruption of the Irish comhbhá, which he claims is pronounced gofa (it isn’t) and means “alliance (gang), close alliance.”

In fact, comhbhá comes from bá, which means sympathy and is defined as follows:

comhbhá1, f. (gs. ~). Fellow-feeling, sympathy; close friendship, alliance. (Var:~idh f)

In other words, comhbhá is more something you feel than an organisation or group and it sounds nothing like gopher. The origin from gopher (as in the animal) makes perfect sense.