Cassidese Glossary – Racket (Noise)

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, derives racket from raic ard, a high noise. As we have said many times here, phrases are only ever borrowed between languages when they are clichés or stock phrases, things like bête noire or je ne sais quoi. Raic ard is not a familiar stock phrase, and it doesn’t sound much like racket (it is pronounced rack ard).

In fact, racket is an English expression, a version of an earlier term rattick. The word raic in Irish is probably a borrowing from some related English word or perhaps from (w)rack, a dialect version of wreck (as in the ‘rackers’ who used to break into people’s houses and smash them up during agrarian disturbances in Ireland), or the similarity could just be coincidental.

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