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.
In American English, the word sore is used to mean angry or upset. This is a natural extension of the original meaning of sore, which is ‘in pain’ or hurt. Daniel Cassidy, in his work of etymological fantasy How The Irish Invented Slang, ignores this obvious and reasonable explanation and claims that sore comes from the Irish word sár, which he claims means ‘outrage, bitterness, humiliation’.
This is not correct. In Ó Dónaill’s dictionary, sár is described as Lit., which means that it is an obsolete, literary term. And Ó Dónaill defines it as ‘violation, outrage, humiliation’.
Cassidy has completely changed the meaning here with a subtle change of language. You can feel outrage, or you can carry out an outrage. You can feel humiliation or you can inflict a humiliation on someone else. A violation is fairly unambiguous, so Cassidy dropped it and replaced it with the inappropriate word ‘bitterness’. In other words, sár is something bad done to you by someone else or their negative attitude to you, so it doesn’t correspond to sore in English. You don’t say ‘I was an outrage’ when someone makes you cross!
The association between sore and sár is contrived and improbable.