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The Letters N, O and P

By the time I had finished the last batch of headwords from the glossary of Daniel Cassidy’s etymological hoax, How The Irish Invented Slang, I had covered 315 words in total. The letters N, O and P yielded a total of 29 new words. The new total stands at 344 words.

As in the other 315 words, none of Cassidy’s claims stands up to any scrutiny, with the exception of a handful of words like puss (face), phoney and pet, all of which have a convincing link to Irish or Scottish Gaelic but in every case, these links have been dealt with before in great detail by orthodox etymologists. It is interesting that the word nain for a grandmother seems to appear in Irish long before Nan appeared in this sense in English but it occurs in Welsh centuries before it appeared in Irish.

The majority of Cassidy’s claims in this section are utterly without merit and many of them show Cassidy’s characteristic dishonesty and lack of integrity. For example, Cassidy fails to share the information about the genuine origin of the hobo slang terms poultice and Poultice Route. In the case of the word puncher, he distorts the definition of the Irish word paintéar, removing the reference to its source, the English word painter. He claims that pusa can be used to mean vagina in Irish but in reality, this is an obscure and little-used term for the lips as in face. It is not used for labia or vagina.

In short, there is nothing in the 344 words discussed so far that constitutes evidence for anything but Cassidy’s dishonesty and lack of talent. Far from being a Copernican revolution or a paradigm shift, this book is a criminal waste of time and money, supported only by flakes, trolls and/or friends of Daniel Cassidy.

 

Over the next few weeks, I will deal with the letters Q and R. While I will keep an open mind, it seems unlikely that there is anything worth having in that section either.

Cassidese Glossary – Pussy (Weak male)

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 etymological hoax, how the Irish Invented Slang, the late Daniel Cassidy claimed that pussy in the sense of a vulva comes from the use of pusa in the plural to mean vagina in Irish. (He was unable to provide any proof that this expression pusa actually existed in Irish with the meaning of vagina.) Pussy in the sense of ‘Don’t be a pussy’ is apparently (according to Cassidy), nothing directly to do with vaginas and not directly linked to his imaginary word pusa, meaning vagina. It comes from pusachán or pusaire meaning a cry-baby or a whimperer. Not only is there no evidence at all in support of this theory, strangely, there is no reference to people being referred to as a pusser or a pussahawn in American slang, and the phrase ‘Don’t be a pussy’ was unknown in Ireland until Hollywood made us aware of it.

Pussy is an ancient English expression for a vagina, and in America males who are regarded as weak or effeminate are traditionally insulted by comparing them to a vagina. (In fact, in Irish the same is true – the term piteog, which literally means a little vagina, is used by ignorant Irish speakers of males considered effeminate or gay.)

Cassidese Glossary – Pussy (vagina)

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 term ‘pussy’ (in its slang sense of vagina) derives from the Irish word pus. Cassidy claims that in the plural the word pusa (lips) is used for the vagina. He cites no evidence for this claim. For Cassidy, it was unnecessary to prove that Irish speakers say something or even might say something. If it sounded reasonable enough to Cassidy (who spoke no Irish), it was a done deal.

So, is there any truth to this claim? Well, the word pus does exist in Irish and will be dealt with elsewhere. It is the origin of the American English slang expressions “a smack in the puss” and “a sourpuss”. It is defined by Ó Dónaill as: protruding mouth, sulky expression, pout, snout.

In other words, it is not a usual expression for lip or mouth because it has pejorative overtones. And it is not used in the plural to mean vagina. If it were, this meaning would have been mentioned in the dictionaries and especially in Ó Luineacháin’s excellent Ó Ghlíomáil go Giniúint, a dictionary of sexual terms in Irish. Furthermore, there is a very common word in Irish which does mean vagina, the word pit (pronounced roughly like the word pitch in English). It is this word which is used as the equivalent of the English pussy, not pusa.

As a final nail in the coffin of Cassidy’s theory, words like pussy are found in a number of Germanic languages: Old Norse pūss pocket, pouch, Low German pūse vulva, and Old English pusa, meaning bag. In other words, it is an ancient word of Germanic origin which is wholly at home in English, not a loanword from Irish.

You can find a discussion of the origins of the word on Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pussy.

Cassidese Glossary – Puss

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.

Puss (not the cat, which is of Dutch origin) but in expressions like a slap in the puss or a sourpuss comes from the Irish expression pus which means a pout or a pouting mouth. This is a phonological variant of an earlier word bus, meaning a lip. In general, no native Irish words begin with the letter p. Cassidy says that a few Anglo-American dictionaries derive puss from the Irish word pus. This is a lie. ALL of them derive it from the Irish pus and did so long before Cassidy came along with his fake etymologies.

Cassidese Glossary – Puncher

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 word ‘puncher’ meant a cowboy. The word punch means to strike or to prod or to poke. It derives from French and has been in common use in English for six hundred years.

Daniel Cassidy, in his etymological hoax How The Irish Invented Slang, doesn’t mention these facts in his discussion of the word. He chooses instead to trace the word to the Irish paintéar, which he says means ‘a tying cord or rope, a noose, a lasso, a snare for catching animals …’ He cites Dinneen’s Irish dictionary as a source. Strangely, this isn’t what Dinneen’s dictionary says. Dinneen’s entry for paintéar begins thus: ‘a painter or panter, a snare, noose, gin or trap, a binding cable …’

In other words, this is an Irish word, certainly, but it was borrowed from the familiar English word painter, which is a nautical term for a rope used to tie up a boat. This is also of French origin (i.e. the English borrowed it from French) but unrelated to the French term which is really the origin of punch. Cassidy doctored the evidence to hide these facts that were inconvenient for his case.

Cassidese Glossary – Punk

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 the word punk are quite mysterious, as the late Daniel Cassidy claimed in his etymological hoax How The Irish Invented Slang. However, it isn’t an American slang word derived from the word ponach. Why not? Well, firstly, the development of the word punk seems to have been from an English word meaning rotten wood used as tinder (dating to the 17th century and found all over New England), to anything rotten, to a prostitute, and thus to a male prostitute or a criminal’s apprentice.

Ponach does mean a boy, but it means a very young boy, as in a toddler. And it means that in Scottish Gaelic, not in Irish. (How much influence did Scottish Gaelic have on American slang, I ask myself?) It is pronounced ponna or ponnakh, which is not a great match for punk anyway.

In other words, this is so improbable it is really not worthy of consideration.

Cassidese Glossary – Pud

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.

Daniel Cassidy, in his work of pseudo-scholarship, How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that the word ‘pud’, a slang term for penis, derives from the Irish word bod, with the same meaning.

If pud had no meaning in English, this would be a reasonable enough claim. However, pud does have a meaning in English. It is a common shortened form of pudding, which is on record as having been used as a slang term for a penis in British English as early as 1719. Several types of sausage commonly eaten in Ireland are called puddings – black pudding (putóg dhubh) and white pudding (putóg bhán or drisín).

There is absolutely no sensible reason to suppose that pud is anything but English.

Cassidese Glossary – Puck, Pook, Pooka

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, in his etymological hoax, claimed that English terms like puck for a spirit (as in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) are derived from the Irish word púca, a name for a kind of spirit well-known in Irish folklore. While there is no doubt about the word puck and the word púca being related (and discussion of this goes back a long way before Cassidy) there is little room for doubt that the ultimate origin of these terms is the Norse puki, meaning an imp. Remember that there are no native Irish words beginning with the letter p about from pus, which is a corruption of an earlier word bus.

Cassidese Glossary – Policy

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 another very silly claim. Daniel Cassidy says that policy is a gambling term. He doesn’t define it and I haven’t been able to find a definition on the internet but it is clear from Cassidy’s claim that it means some kind of payout.

Cassidy’s fake source for the gambling term is pá lae sámh, which he translates as ‘easy payday’. This is a mistranslation. Payday would be lá pá (day of pay). Pá lae means ‘pay of day’, so it’s a day’s pay. There is also a massive problem with the word sámh. It does mean easy, but easy is a word with lots of meanings. Sámh is the easy of Sunday mornings, long summer afternoons, a good night’s rest. It is tranquillity and peace and lack of disturbance, so this phrase, insofar as it means anything at all, conjures up visions of a wad of cash lying on a sunbed drinking a cocktail. It is not the easy of easy money, which would be expressed in other ways, for example as gan dua or gan stró (without effort). And Cassidy was completely wrong on the pronunciation as well. Sámh is pronounced sow (like the female pig) in the north and sawv in the south, not as see.

Besides, why even suggest an Irish origin? What’s wrong with the slang word policy deriving from the mainstream word policy, which is ultimately of Greek origin and goes back to at least the 14th century in English? After all, the gambling term policy seems to mean some kind of payout. And insurance policies pay out when exceptional circumstances demand it.

 

Makes perfect sense to me!

Cassidese Glossary – Poultice Route

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.

Daniel Cassidy, in his etymological hoax, How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that in hobo slang, The Poultice Route was a term for the land of milk and honey or the southern route. This is a typical Cassidy distortion. In reality, a poultice was an hobo slang term for a dish of bread and gravy and the Poultice Route was any rail line going through Utah, where the inhabitants “are generally hospitable, and where bread and gravy is always to be had even though, on account of poverty, meat may be scarce.”

Cassidy’s claim is that the poultice of the Poultice Route is really from the Irish ball deas, which he says means “a nice place, a pretty spot, a southern place”. In reality, ball deas would simply mean a nice spot, which is vague. It is also completely unlike poultice in pronunciation. The explanation given above (and ignored completely by Cassidy) is far more convincing.