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.
A shebeen is an unlicensed tavern in Ireland. The term is also used in other countries such as South Africa and in the Caribbean. I had always believed that the Irish síbín derives from a variant of sipín, or little shop. Apparently, its genuine origin is from séibe, meaning mug. A diminutive of séibe, séibín, meant little mug or illicit whiskey and this name was then applied to the places where illicit whiskey was sold. The Irish origin of this word is completely uncontroversial and was in the public domain long before Daniel Cassidy.