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 term honky is used as a pejorative term for a white person in America. There is no agreement about its origins. Some of the theories are discussed here:
Cassidy derives it (he derives hunky, hinky and honky-tonk from the same word!) from the Irish word aingí, an adjective defined by Ó Dónaill in his Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla as malignant, peevish or fretful. There is nothing in the history of the word honky to suggest that it is from Irish or that it has anything to do with bad temper or peevishness, and the sound of aingí (an-gee – it doesn’t begin with a h- sound) isn’t close to the sound of English honky either.