Tag Archives: bain as

Cassidese Glossary – Bounce

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 work of creative etymology How The Irish Invented Slang, claims that bounce, as in the job that a bouncer does, is given in the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘of uncertain origin’. This is very strange, as my copy of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary was published in 2008 and it says that bounce comes from the Middle English bunsen, meaning to beat or to thump.

Cassidy’s Irish candidate for the origin of bounce is not a recognisable phrase. It is a dictionary entry: https://www.teanglann.ie/en/fgb/bain_as

If you look at this, you will see that it is found in phrases like bhain sé na cosa as amach, he made off, or caithfidh muid fad a bhaint as, we’ll have to make it last. But it is very hard to see when or how (or if) you would use the phrase bain as. And in any case, the idea that bain as is appropriate to describe the job of a bouncer is nonsense. Bouncers don’t extract. They keep people out, or they throw them out. Or, they throw people onto the street, where they bounce a couple of times before coming to a stop. Bouncer makes sense as a description or what doormen do. Bain as does not.

Bounce

According to Daniel Cassidy’s lunatic work of fake linguistics, How The Irish Invented Slang, the word bounce, as in to throw someone out of a bar, and bouncer, a doorman, derive from the Irish phrase bain as, which Cassidy defines as ‘to extract out of; to remove from, to eject, to extract from’. As we have said before, Cassidy frequently ignored the logical and obvious origin of words and went off on a wild goose-chase looking for some bizarre speculative Irish origin. That is exactly what Cassidy did here.

He says that the OED gives the word bounce as origin unknown. While I don’t have a full copy of the OED handy, I found a pocket OED online which suggests a connection with German bunsen or Dutch bons, both meaning to beat or thump. What is not in any doubt is that bounce is an old word in English, dating back to the 13th century. Furthermore, bain as might have these meanings but would be used of a tooth or something like that. An Irish speaker would talk about throwing somebody out (duine a chaitheamh amach as an áit).

From the Irish side, the claim is inherently improbable. When we add the fact that bounce is an ancient word in English and that its meaning is entirely appropriate in the context, Cassidy’s claim is revealed as the barking mad nonsense it really is.