Cassidese Glossary – Scootch

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 says that scootch is a Brooklyn term meaning ‘a jerk’ and claims that it derives from Irish scuaid, which he defines as ‘a slob; an unkempt, sloppy person’. In fact, scuaid is defined by Ó Dónaill as:

Scuaid 1, f. (gs. ~e, pl. ~eanna).1. Spatter, splash. ~ láibe, spattering of mud. ~ chréafóige, sprinkling of earth. 2. Vet: Diarrhoea. 3. Sloppy, slovenly, person. (Var. of 2:scuadán m, scuadar m)

In fact, scootch is a Scots word and scuaid is almost certainly derived from it. The Dictionary of the Scots Language gives a number of meanings for scoot or scootch, including diarrhoea, squirting, and various terms for a worthless person, such as:

  1. Fig. a mean and utterly contemptible person, a scamp, a conceited boaster, a “squirt” (Bwk. 1825 Jam., a windy scoot; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd., Kcd., Ags., Bwk., Kcb. 1969); as applied to a woman: a trull, a loose or shameless female (Mry., Ayr. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1934, scootch), sometimes, jocularly, to a small girl (Kcd. 1969). Adj. scootie, -y, low, worthless in character, scruffy (Cld. 1882 Jam.; Per., wm.Sc. 1969), also scoutie-malourie, id. (Rxb. 1969).

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