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 Irish, there are two words for dust. One is the native word deannach. The other is a borrowing from English, dusta. This is a very old borrowing. It was certainly used in the mid-17th century in the Protestant Bible translation of Bishop Bedell.
The Hudson Duster Gang were so called, as Cassidy himself explains, because of their fondness for dust, a slang term for cocaine. Yet Cassidy seems to assume that because it’s duster and not just dust, this word must come from the Irish dusta. Of course, this is nonsense. The word duster also exists in English and is self-explanatory. Even by Cassidy’s standards, it is an incredibly weak argument.