Cassidese Glossary – Snakin’ The Deck

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.

Apparently, snaking the deck is a slang term for marking a deck of cards in gambling. This is presumably an English term based on the legendary untrustworthiness of snakes. By snaking the deck, you make it dishonest.

Daniel Cassidy, author of the etymological hoax, How The Irish Invented Slang, chose to attribute the origins of this phrase to the word snoíochán, which he defines as: “marking, clipping, cutting, meddling with (a deck of cards).

When you look on page 1076 of Dinneen’s dictionary (as per Cassidy’s reference), you find that the word referred to by Cassidy is spelled snoidheachán (pre-reform spelling) and is defined as ‘act of carving, whittling or planing.’ There is no reference to marking or clipping, nothing about decks of cards. I wonder how far someone would get in Las Vegas if they tried to mark the cards by carving, whittling or planing them?

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