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.)