Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Letters Q and R

There are 22 new headwords in the Q and R sections of the glossary in Daniel Cassidy’s How The Irish Invented Slang: 4 in the Q section and 18 in the R section. With the 344 words covered in previous sections, we now have 366 words. As with the other sections, there is no evidence that Cassidy got it right in any case. There are no words that are ‘smoking guns’, irrefutable evidence that stands up to all scrutiny and reverses the previous orthodoxy. Rather, what we see is more and more sloppy research, definitions rewritten, words drawn from Irish and from Scottish Gaelic willy-nilly, made-up phrases that no Irish speaker would ever use.

The next section will cover the words in the S section of the glossary. This will be quite a long section but it will also contain many interesting words.

The Letters N, O and P

By the time I had finished the last batch of headwords from the glossary of Daniel Cassidy’s etymological hoax, How The Irish Invented Slang, I had covered 315 words in total. The letters N, O and P yielded a total of 29 new words. The new total stands at 344 words.

As in the other 315 words, none of Cassidy’s claims stands up to any scrutiny, with the exception of a handful of words like puss (face), phoney and pet, all of which have a convincing link to Irish or Scottish Gaelic but in every case, these links have been dealt with before in great detail by orthodox etymologists. It is interesting that the word nain for a grandmother seems to appear in Irish long before Nan appeared in this sense in English but it occurs in Welsh centuries before it appeared in Irish.

The majority of Cassidy’s claims in this section are utterly without merit and many of them show Cassidy’s characteristic dishonesty and lack of integrity. For example, Cassidy fails to share the information about the genuine origin of the hobo slang terms poultice and Poultice Route. In the case of the word puncher, he distorts the definition of the Irish word paintéar, removing the reference to its source, the English word painter. He claims that pusa can be used to mean vagina in Irish but in reality, this is an obscure and little-used term for the lips as in face. It is not used for labia or vagina.

In short, there is nothing in the 344 words discussed so far that constitutes evidence for anything but Cassidy’s dishonesty and lack of talent. Far from being a Copernican revolution or a paradigm shift, this book is a criminal waste of time and money, supported only by flakes, trolls and/or friends of Daniel Cassidy.

 

Over the next few weeks, I will deal with the letters Q and R. While I will keep an open mind, it seems unlikely that there is anything worth having in that section either.

Nollaig Shona agus Bliain Úr Faoi Mhaise Daoibh

Ba mhaith liom an deis a thapú anseo míle buíochas a ghabháil le gach duine a lean nó a léigh an blag seo i rith na bliana. Go raibh bliain den scoth agaibh sa bhliain 2020!

Seo daoibh carúl galánta sa teanga s’againne, Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBgcClx2wnM

Ba é Aodh Mac Cathmhaoil (Aodh Mac Aingil) a chum an t-amhrán galánta seo. Rugadh Mac Cathmhaoil sa bhliain 1571 i gContae an Dúin, níos lú ná 30 míle ar shiúl ón áit a bhfuil mise ag scríobh an bhlaig seo sa teanga a shaothraigh seisean ar feadh a shaoil. Bhí saol lán eachtraíochta agus léinn aige in Éirinn, sa Bheilg agus san Iodáil. Fuair sé bás sa bhliain 1626 sa Róimh agus is in Eaglais San Iseadór a cuireadh é.

Baineann an leagan seo úsáid as an tseaniolra thabharthach –aibh (col ceathrair –ibus na Laidine, mar shampla, sa tseanfhocal ‘e pluribus unum.’) Níl sin le fáil sa teanga nua-aoiseach. Agus is minic a bhíonn ‘faoin ghrian’ nó ‘faoin ngrian’ sna leaganacha nua-aoiseacha, cionn is nach dtuigeann Gaeilgeoirí an lae inniu an frása ‘ar grian’ a chiallaíonn ‘ar domhan.’ Níl baint ar bith aige leis an fhocal bhaininscneach grian (‘sun’ an Bhéarla).

Don oíche úd i mBeithil

beidh tagairt ar grian go brách,

don oíche úd i mBeithil

gur tháinig an Briathar slán;

tá gríosghrua ar spéarthaibh

‘s an talamh ‘na chlúdach bán;

féach Íosagán sa chléibhín,

‘s an Mhaighdean Á dhiúl le grá

 

Ar leacain lom an tsléibhe

go nglacann na haoirí scáth

nuair in oscailt gheal na spéire

tá teachtaire Dé ar fáil;

céad glóir anois don Athair

sna Flaitheasaibh thuas go hard!

is feasta fós ar an talamh

d’fhearaibh dea-mhéin’ siocháin!

 

Yon Night In Bethlehem (English translation of the above)

I would like to take the opportunity here to thank everybody who has followed or read this blog during the year. Have a great year in 2020!

 

Here is a beautiful carol in our language, Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBgcClx2wnM

This beautiful carol was composed by Aodh Mac Cathmhaoil (Aodh Mac Aingil). Mac Cathmhaoil was born in 1571 in County Down, less than 30 miles away from where I am writing this blog in the language that he cultivated throughout his life. He had an eventful and studious life in Ireland, in Belgium and in Italy. He died in Rome in 1626 and he was buried in St. Isidore’s Church in that city.

 

Yon night in Bethlehem

will be talked of on earth forever

yon night in Bethlehem,

the night the Word was born;

there is a glow in the skies

and the earth is covered with white;

behold Jesus in the cradle

and the Virgin feeding Him with love.

 

On the bare stones of the mountain

where the shepherds take their shelter

when in a bright opening of the sky

God’s messenger is there;

a hundred glories to the Father,

in the Heavens above so high!

and forever after on the earth

peace to men of good will!

Cassidese Glossary – Jackpot

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 his work of false etymology, How The Irish Invented Slang, Daniel Cassidy claimed that the word jackpot derives from the Irish word tiach along with the English word pot. As we have seen with the word jack, tiach does not mean money and it sounds nothing like the English word jack.

Furthermore, it is widely accepted that jackpot is a poker term derived from the card, the jack. Follow this link for further details: https://www.etymonline.com/word/jackpot

Cassidese Glossary – Hip, Hep

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.

There is no agreement about the origins of the word hip (in the sense of cool, trendy, not as in the thing at the top of your leg). You can find a discussion of the word here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_(slang)

The late Daniel Cassidy, in his work of fake etymologies, How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that hip and its earlier form hep derive from the Irish word aibí (or abaí). Cassidy defines this word as:

Aibí (pron. h-abí; contraction h-ab’), adj., mature, quick, clever, quick-witted; fig. wise.

As usual, this is arrant nonsense. The word is defined by Ó Dónaill as ‘ripe, mature; quick, clever; crisp’. Its primary meaning is ripe. Dinneen defined it as ‘ripe, mature, quick-witted’. It does not mean wise, it is not pronounced with a h-, and while it is conceivable that a short vowel at the end of a word would be lost in speech, there is no reason to suppose that this would ever happen to a long vowel like the -í at the end of this word. The word is pronounced abbey or appee or abwee, depending on dialect (this is why it is sometimes spelled abaí). Why would appee or abwee become hip or hep? Wherever the word hip came from, it didn’t come from Irish and as it’s associated with African-American culture, it seems more likely that its roots, whatever they are, lie there.

Cassidese Glossary – Flogging Ground Sweat

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 the phrase ‘ground sweat’ is an old slang expression for a grave, and the phrase ‘to flog ground sweat’ means to speak ill of the dead.

There is no mystery about the origin of these expressions. A ground sweat is a reference to the liquefaction of the body when it’s buried, as in the proverb ‘a ground sweat cures all diseases’. (In other words, death puts an end to all sickness.)

Daniel Cassidy, in his book of false etymologies, How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that this comes from an ‘Irish’ phrase fliuchadh grian-suite, which he claims means ‘wetting a sunny place,’ or pissing on someone’s grave. Cassidy claims that suite is the Irish for a site (it isn’t, though it is the genitive of suí meaning site.) This would be appropriate in the grammar of fliuchadh griansuite (wetting of a sunny place), if such a term existed, but would make no sense without the fliuchadh. There, it would have to be griansuí, which does not resemble ground sweat.

However, while many American cemeteries have names like Sunnylands, there is no evidence that griansuí (sunsite) has ever been used in the Irish language to mean a grave, though Cassidy states this imaginary definition as established fact. This is yet another example of Cassidy’s apparent inability to distinguish between the truth and his own inventions.

In short, this phrase is completely comprehensible in terms of English. Cassidy’s Irish candidate is pure fabrication and completely lacking in evidence.

Cassidese Glossary – Doozer, Doozy

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.

Among the many claims made by Daniel Cassidy in his book, How The Irish Invented Slang, is one which is a real doozy, the claim that doozer comes from Irish duaiseoir, meaning a prizewinner, while the slightly different alternative version, doozie, apparently comes from the adjectival version duaiseach. If you don’t know any Irish, this sounds like a perfectly reasonable claim.

Both these Irish words are given in dictionaries. They are both derived from duais, the primary meaning of which is prize or award. However, duaiseoir was probably invented in the mid-twentieth century as the equivalent of English prizewinner. There is no evidence it existed before it appeared in Ó Dónaill’s dictionary in the 1970s. As for duaiseach, this is an adjective, not a noun (Cassidy conveniently gives its primary meaning as ‘a gift’, but this is his own invention – it is not supported by the dictionaries.)

Where does ‘It’s a doozie’ really come from? You can find a genuine and honest discussion of its origins here: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-doo2.htm.

Cassidese Glossary – Bubba

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.

 

Bubba and its shortened form bub are believed to be 19th century American English terms representing a childish mispronunciation of brother. (Though there are other theories – the Anglo-Romani linguist Ian Hancock claimed an African origin through Gullah, though this theory has not met with general acceptance.)

Cassidy claims that the bubba of the poor American south and a 17th century slang term bubber meaning ‘a drinker’ are the same, thus defining the term bubba as meaning ‘a thief, a trickster, a drinker’. In fact, if you look at cant dictionaries, bubber is defined as ‘a large drinking bowl; a drinker’ and there is no logical reason to link bubba with the earlier cant term.

Cassidy derives bub and bubba (and bubber) from the Irish words bob (meaning ‘a trick’) and its derivative bobaire, (meaning ‘a trickster’, though Cassidy claims that it figuratively means ‘a wise guy’.). As these Irish expressions have nothing to do with the meanings of bubba or of bubber, there is no reason to suppose a connection.

 

Cassidese Glossary – Bannock

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.

While Cassidy gives the word bannock, this seems to be in the book for no other reason than as an excuse to mention his mother-in-law’s cooking, as this is not a word of Irish or of Gaelic origin. While there are similar words in both Irish (especially in Scottish-influenced northern dialects like Donegal and Rathlin) and in Scots Gaelic, according to the Oxford Concise Ulster Dictionary, page 15, this word is from ‘Old English bannuc, itself from Latin panicium, “bread”’.

Cassidese Glossary – Baloney

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.

Another oft-quoted piece of Cassidese is the phrase béal ónna. According to Cassidy, béal ónna is the origin of the American slang word baloney, meaning nonsense or rubbish.

Béal ónna (pron. bæl óna), silly loquacity, foolish talk; blather; blarney; stupid gossip.

The phrase béal ónna is not an Irish phrase. It does not exist. It is composed of two words: béal, which is very common and means mouth, and ónna, which is so uncommon and obscure that it doesn’t even get a mention in Ó Dónaill’s 1300 page dictionary of Modern Irish. Corpas na Gaeilge, a searchable database of over seven million words, shows that ónna was used up to the early 18th century in poetry. If we look up béal ónna on Google, we find that all the references are to Cassidy and his theories. This is not the case with genuine terms for nonsense in Irish like seafóid or raiméis. (Try it yourself!) Of course, we cannot prove that béal ónna never existed and as the old maxim says, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. That much is true – but absence of evidence IS absence of evidence. You cannot prove that baloney comes from béal ónna if there is no evidence for the existence of béal ónna in Irish.

The truth is, the phrase baloney almost certainly derives from an anglicised version of Bologna, and was used of a sausage resembling luncheon meat that was originally made in that city. By the 1860s, people were referring to Bologna sausage as baloney in America. The earliest reference to its metaphorical use to mean ‘rubbish’ was in the 1920s. This extension seems to be an example of an interesting linguistic phenomenon called the minced oath. This is quite common. A minced oath is simply where an obscene or blasphemous or unpleasant word is disguised by cutting bits off it, or by saying a word which sounds a bit like it. In other words, people probably said baloney instead of balls, bollocks or bullshit.

Cassidy’s ‘pronunciation guide’ is also very strange. There are basically two ways to construct a pronunciation guide in books on language. The usual way is to use an ad hoc system based on English. For example, you could transcribe béal as bayl or seafóid as shaffoyj. The other way is to use the International Phonetic Alphabet, which is more precise but harder for people without a background in linguistics to interpret and understand. Cassidy mixed up bits of the IPA, bits of Irish orthography and bits of English in a random mess which could hardly be described as a system at all. For example, in this case, he used bæl óna as his version of the phonetics of this (invented) phrase. The æ is from the IPA but Cassidy assumed that it was pronounced as in the vowel of aesthetic, as the ay of bay or the ee of tree. In reality, it represents the vowel sound of ‘cat’. The ó is found in Irish orthography but it is not found in any version of phonetic transcription that I have ever encountered.