Monthly Archives: December 2019

Cassidese Glossary – Lulu

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 late Daniel Cassidy’s bizarre claim in relation to this word is that lulu comes from the ‘Irish’ liú lúith. Liú is a word in Irish for a shout. It’s not the most common word in Irish for that concept. Scread or scréach would be far more common, but it does exist. As for lúith, it’s the genitive of lúth, which means vigour, agility, or tendon. It used to mean ‘joy’ in Irish as well but hasn’t for hundreds of years. Cassidy’s “a vigorous yell of joy” uses two separate meanings, one current and one obsolete. This is a little like saying that a fry can mean “a meal of young fish cooked in oil” or that play is “a dramatic game” because it can mean both play and a drama. This is bizarre and reveals a staggering stupidity and ignorance of how languages work on Cassidy’s part.

Anyway, according to Cassidy, in addition to meaning “a vigorous yell of joy”, it also figuratively means “a complete scream, a howler.” As it is a completely made-up expression, it doesn’t have any “figurative” meanings and there is no evidence of anyone ever using liú lúith for any purpose in Irish.

In reality, a lulu probably comes from the name of a certain Lulu Hurst:

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

Cassidese Glossary – Lucre

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.

Long ago, in Central Europe, there were two language groups which resembled each other. One was the ancestor of Latin, the other the ancestor of Irish. These language groups had many similar words, like the words for land or sea. They also had a similar word for value or wealth. In Irish, thousands of years later, this was to become luach. In Latin, the word became lucrum, and this later developed into the French lucre, which by the time of Chaucer had been borrowed into English and was used to mean ‘money’. It was often used with words like foul or filthy to show that wealth was corrupting.

This is how English got the word lucre, as in ‘filthy lucre’. There is no doubt or room for argument about this. The word lucre came from French, which developed out of Latin. The word is a cognate (a cousin, if you like) of the Irish luach. But it isn’t a borrowing from Irish. So why is it in this book? How is it relevant to Cassidy’s theory of Irish influence on English?

Tá mise chomh haineolach leat féin! (Your guess is as good as mine.)

Cassidese Glossary – Loogin

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.

Loogin is a slang term in America for a fool. There is no agreement about its derivation. It may be from a surname like Logan.

According to Cassidy, it comes from the Irish leathdhuine. This word is not a bad match in terms of meaning but it is definitely a bad match in terms of pronunciation. However, don’t take my word for it. Listen to the sound files for leathdhuine at the link below to find the pronunciation in Connaught, Munster and Ulster Irish:

https://www.focloir.ie/en/dictionary/ei/cock#cock__7

Cassidese Glossary – Longshoreman

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 Daniel Cassidy in his work of fake etymology, How The Irish Invented Slang, the origins of the word longshoreman lie in the Irish language. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union disagrees with him. According to their website:

“The origins of the ILWU lie in the longshore industry of the Pacific Coast – the work of loading and unloading ships’ cargoes. In the old days of clipper ships, sailings were frequently unscheduled and labor was often recruited at the last minute by shoreside criers calling: “Men along the shore!” – giving rise to the term “longshoremen.” The work was brutal, conditions unsafe, employment irregular, and the pay too low to support a family.”

According to Daniel Cassidy, the word longshoreman comes from the Irish loingseoir, which is one word (along with mairnéalach, maraí, farraigeach and seoltóir) for sailor. It is pronounced lingshore. Why the lubbers along the docks would be called sailors when they unloaded cargoes is difficult to explain but then almost nothing Cassidy wrote stands up to any scrutiny at all.

However, I should point out that not only is Cassidy not right about the Irish origin of longshoreman, this is one of the many claims he plagiarised without acknowledgement from the Daltaí Boards forum, where it appeared in April 2002, years before his book was published.

Cassidese Glossary – Lollygag

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 book How The Irish Invented Slang with a short, simple and business-like explanation of why Cassidy’s version is wrong. 

Lollygag, meaning idling or necking, first makes its appearance in the USA in the 1860s. Most experts regard it as coming from the English word loll, as in ‘lolling about’. This seems reasonable, as lolling is very similar to the core meaning of lollygagging. Daniel Cassidy, in his book of false etymologies, How The Irish Invented Slang, disagreed. He claims that the word ‘lollygag’, comes from the Irish leath-luighe géag, which he claims means ‘a reclining, leaning, lolling youth.’ Anyone who speaks any Irish at all will immediately realise that this is not true.

Admittedly leath-luighe (leathluí in modern spelling) does mean reclining or lying on your side (as does loll in English, of course), but the primary meaning of géag is limb, or arm, or arm of the sea, or a branch of a family. One obscure and poetic meaning is ‘a youth’ or ‘young person’, but this is not the meaning that an Irish speaker would usually take from the word in the absence of other contextual clues. And the version given by Cassidy makes no sense at all in terms of Irish grammar. Leath-luí is not an adjective, and anyway adjectives need to come after the noun in Irish. So leath-luí géag could never mean ‘reclining youth,’ even if you ignore the unsuitability of the word géag for a young person in ordinary conversation.

You would also have to account for why Irish immigrants didn’t use one of the many words which are similar in meaning to lollygag, words like learaireacht, scraisteacht, leadaíocht.

Like almost all of the phrases given by Cassidy in his book, this is not real Irish.

Cassidese Glossary – Lick (Into Shape)

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 Daniel Cassidy in his insane book, How The Irish Invented Slang, the word lick, as in to beat someone soundly, comes from the Irish word leag, (pronounced lyagg) meaning to knock down, to lower (of a sail) or to lay. The word leag doesn’t sound much like lick and there is no evidence for an Irish origin.

The truth is actually far more interesting, as well as having the great advantage of being true. Lick comes from an earlier expression ‘to lick into shape’ and this comes from the fascinating Medieval tradition of the bestiaries, where moral and religious lessons were read into stories about natural history. A tradition about bears held that the bear cub was formless at birth and had to be fashioned into a correct bear shape by licking. Thus, licking a child into shape came to mean fashioning a child in a moral sense by punishing it and from this came the meaning of giving someone a sound thrashing. This expression is found in other languages. In French, people sometimes refer to a badly-behaved child as an ours mal léché, a badly-licked bear!

I really don’t need to point this out, but the expression leag, when it refers to fighting someone, means to knock them off their feet. Punching your children out and leaving them stretched on the ground is not regarded as good parenting in Ireland any more than it is in any other country, so the inappropriateness of this claim goes way beyond pronunciation and meaning.

Cassidese Glossary – Lam, On The Lam

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 origins of this slang term are fairly well-known. Lam meaning flight or escape comes from the word lam meaning to beat, which is found as early as the Middle English period. The modern slang term ‘on the lam’, which means on the run, is linked to expressions like to beat it for to escape.

Daniel Cassidy, in his work of false etymologies, How The Irish Invented Slang, claims that this comes from the Irish léim, which is pronounced roughly like English lame and means to jump.

There is no idiom in Irish “bheith ar an léim”, to be on the léim. The Irish for being on the run is ar a sheachaint (ar a sheachnadh) or ar a theitheadh, not ar an léim. Note also the casual dishonesty in Cassidy’s treatment of this word where he tries to pretend that the use of lam for beat in English can also be explained in terms of léim, as according to Cassidy, léim can mean to attack. In fact, just like English jump, you can say that someone or something leapt on a person to mean that they attacked them. That is very different from “lamming away at someone with both fists,” which has no Irish equivalent with léim.

In other words, this derivation is also nonsense, like nearly everything in Daniel Cassidy’s book.