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 may well be right about the fact that there is no evidence of cards ornamented with an image of a pharaoh in France or Britain but there is no doubt that pharaon is the French for pharaoh and that there was a game played in 17th and 18th century France called Pharaon:
As for the claim that pharaon derives from the Irish fiar araon, meaning turn over together, this is nonsense. Fiaradh doesn’t mean to turn as in to turn a card over, of course, (that would be tiontaigh or iompaigh) and fiar araon is pretty much meaningless, and fiaradh is pronounced feeroo, but Cassidy wouldn’t have known that because he didn’t know any Irish.