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.
Hunky is an American term for a central European immigrant. It is linked to the term Bohunk. A hunky was someone from Hungary or from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Bo part of Bohunk refers to Bohemia, which is now part of Czechia. In other words, there is nothing mysterious about this word, nothing that needs to be explained.
Which, of course, didn’t stop Cassidy from mansplaining it. According to him, this is (like hinky and honky and honky-tonk) derived from the Irish aingí, which basically means peevish or bad-tempered. Because, apparently, people from central Europe, and white people from anywhere, are notoriously irritable and it is this characteristic, rather than their conspicuous paleness, that Irish-speaking African-Americans decided to focus on. Hmm.