Cassidese Glossary – 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.

We have already dealt with this above. Cassidy’s explanation is that it comes from grian suite, which he claims means ‘a sunny site, a sunny spot; fig. a gravesite.’

Grian suite makes no sense in terms of Irish grammar, as it would mean ‘of a sunny site’ (genitives cannot stand along in Irish) or ‘sun-situated’, in which case it would have to be one word. There is no evidence of sunny site or any similar phrase being used for a grave in Irish or in Ireland. This seems to be based on American cemetery names like Sunnylands – if it’s based on anything at all.

In fact, a ground sweat refers to the liquefaction of the body in the grave.

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Cassidese Glossary – Grouch

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 claims that grouch comes from the Irish cráite (kraw-cha or krah-cha), which means tormented. This is not a good match in terms of sound or meaning.

Back in the real world, grouch is believed to be a version of the ancient word grutch:

https://www.etymonline.com/word/grutch

 

Cassidese Glossary – Grifter

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 claims that this is another version of grafadóir. As we saw with the words Graft and Grafter, grafadóir means someone who digs over a garden or field and has no connotations of scrounging, money-grubbing or corruption. These meanings were invented by Cassidy.

Cassidese Glossary – Graft, Grafter

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.

This is one of Cassidy’s claims that I found completely incomprehensible at first. Cassidy claims that the terms graft (as in corruption) and grafter (corrupt politician) come from the Irish words grafadh and grafadóir.

He claims that grafadh (which is pronounced graffa or graffoo) means “grubbing, scrounging; hoeing” and that grafadóir means “a grubber; a scrounger, a moocher; fig. a professional politician.”

In reality, grafadh means to hoe or dig or grub, while a grafadóir is a grubber or a hoer, someone who uses a hoe or a mattock to break up the top surface of a garden or a field.

So where does all the stuff about scrounging and professional politicians come from? Well, the only explanation I can think of is that because in English the term grub has connotations of scrounging and corruption, then the fact that the terms grafadh and grafadóir are linked to the English word grubbing (only in the sense of digging), then Cassidy felt it was justified to attach all the meanings of grub in English to these Irish words, even though it is quite clear that they refer only to digging gardens and fields. Applying this to other words, capall is the Irish for horse and must also mean heroin or any kind of opiate because the English word horse can mean heroin. Giota is the Irish for piece, but it must also mean gun because the English word piece means gun. Of course, this is nonsense. Capall doesn’t mean heroin, giota doesn’t mean gun, grafadóir doesn’t mean a money-grubbing politician.

Back in the real world, graft is probably linked to the British English graft meaning work, which is probably of Dutch origin.

Cassidese Glossary – Gopher

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.

The Gopher Gang was a group of New York Irish gangsters in the early twentieth century. Their name traditionally derives from their habit of hiding out in cellars, like a bunch of subterranean gophers.

Daniel Cassidy, in his book How The Irish Invented Slang, ignored this explanation and claimed that the word gopher is really a corruption of the Irish comhbhá, which he claims is pronounced gofa (it isn’t) and means “alliance (gang), close alliance.”

In fact, comhbhá comes from bá, which means sympathy and is defined as follows:

comhbhá1, f. (gs. ~). Fellow-feeling, sympathy; close friendship, alliance. (Var:~idh f)

In other words, comhbhá is more something you feel than an organisation or group and it sounds nothing like gopher. The origin from gopher (as in the animal) makes perfect sense.

 

Cassidese Glossary – Goon

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.

Daniel Cassidy, in his book How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that the word goon, meaning an idiot (and later, a muscle-bound henchman) derives from the Irish word guan, meaning ‘a fool’. There are several problems with this. Firstly, Cassidy states that the English word is ‘origin unknown’, while most dictionaries (including the OED) regard it as a contraction of an earlier word goonie or gooney, which is known since the 16th century and means a fool or a large bird like an albatross. This seems perfectly reasonable and I can see no reason to prefer an Irish derivation to this well-known English origin.

Secondly, guan is not a common word in Irish. It is not given at all in Ó Dónaill’s dictionary, and in Dinneen’s dictionary it is ascribed to Ó Neachtain’s manuscript dictionary of 1730. It is not found in the 7 million word Corpas na Gaeilge. The word guanach for silly or fanciful is certainly common and is given in all dictionaries but guan itself is not.

Cassidese Glossary – Goof

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.

The late Daniel Cassidy, in his book, How The Irish Invented Slang, claims that the English slang terms goof and goofy derive from Irish gáifeach, which according to Cassidy means ‘exaggerated, given to wild exaggeration, flamboyant, ostentatious, loud, loud-mouthed, querulous.’  This is pronounced guy-fah or gaw-fah depending on the dialect. It is an adjective. There is no noun gáif (the adjective comes originally from gábh, which means danger), so it is hard to explain where the basic word goof would come from if Cassidy were right (which he isn’t).

According to the most reliable Irish dictionary, Ó Dónaill, gáifeach is defined as ‘1a dangerous, terrible 1b (of sound) wild, loud, fierce 2a exaggerated, sensational, given to exaggeration 2b flamboyant, ostentatious’.

None of which really fit the bill of what goofy means, which is ‘foolish or harmlessly eccentric.’ Meanwhile, back in the real world, goof comes from an English dialect term goff, which in turn comes from the Middle French goffe meaning awkward or stupid.