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 the same word as queer. It is a regional variant found in the South West of England as well as in Ireland. As we have said before, forms like say for sea and tay for tea that are found in Irish English are not innovations. Standard English originally pronounced them that way but there was a sound change about two hundred years that affected the standard varieties of English but did not affect many dialects like Irish English and West Country English.
Queer is of Germanic origin. It is related to the German quer meaning oblique, perverse or odd, and seems to have entered English via the Scots language (i.e. the Scottish cousin of English, not Scottish Gaelic).
Cassidy’s claim that it derives from the Irish corr is ludicrous because its real origins and known and because corr is pronounced something like cor in the English word coral. It sounds nothing whatsoever like the English words queer or quare.
Here is a link to sound files of the word corr in the major dialects of Irish: