Tag Archives: bodach

Cassidese Glossary – Bud, Buddy

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 words buddy and bud are found in English from the middle of the 19th century. The most common explanation is that these words are childish versions of the word brother. However, it’s a little more complicated than that. There is a word found in the 19th century English dialects of England, the word “butty”. Apparently, this term derives from the word booty. A booty-fellow was a person who joined you on a journey or venture and shared the profit with you. Other people link it to the word ‘body’ in Scots or Lallans. Others think it is an acronym from the period of the American Civil War, which means Brother Until Death (linguists will tell you that most acronym-based etymologies are nonsense). Or that it is from the Raj and the Pashto word ‘badda’, which means a partner. Or from the word boetie in Dutch which comes from broer, meaning brother.

Daniel Cassidy, in his book How The Irish Invented Slang, says that the English buddy comes from the Irish bodach. He says that bodach means “a strong, lusty youth.” I don’t know where he got that definition, because according to the dictionaries, bodach means “a churl, a clown, a tramp”. (It’s another word, bodalach, which means “strong, lusty youth.”) Not only that, but if bodach were used with the same meaning as buddy, it wouldn’t sound the same as buddy in English. (Bodach is pronounced roughly bodda, while the vocative a bhodaigh is pronounced a woddy.) In fact, the claim of a connection between bodach and buddy predates Cassidy. It seems to have been suggested first by Robert McCrum in 1986.

 

Buddy/Bodach

 

Tá an focal seo pléite agam roimhe seo ar an bhlag, ach níor chaith mé mórán ama air. Tá an focal buddy le fáil sa Bhéarla ó lár an 19ú haois. An míniú is coitianta ná gur leagan páistiúil den fhocal brother atá ann. Ach tá an scéal giota beag níos casta ná sin. Tá focal i gcanúintí Béarla Shasana sa 19ú haois, mar atá, “butty”. De réir cosúlachta, is ón fhocal booty (creach) a tháinig an téarma seo. B’ionann booty-fellow agus duine a bhí le chéile leat ar eachtra nó ar fhiontar agus a roinn an brabús leat. Ach ní hé sin a dheireadh ach oiread. Síleann daoine eile go bhfuil baint aige leis an téarma ‘body’ san Albainis nó Lallans. Síleann daoine eile gur acrainm atá ann ó thréimhse Chogadh Cathartha Mheiriceá, a chiallaíonn Brother Until Death. Nó go bhfuil baint aige leis an Raj agus le focal Pashto ‘Badda’ a chiallaíonn páirtí nó céile. Nó ó fhocal boetie san Ollainnis a thagann ón fhocal broer, a chiallaíonn deartháir.

Deir Daniel Cassidy, ina leabhar bréagach How The Irish Invented Slang, go dtagann an Béarla buddy ón Ghaeilge bodach. Mar is gnách, déanann sé ransú ar na foclóirí lena chás a chruthú. Deir seisean go gciallaíonn bodach “a strong, lusty youth.” Níl a fhios agam cá bhfuair sé an sainmhíniú sin, mar de réir na bhfoclóirí, ciallaíonn bodach “a churl, a clown, a tramp”. (Focal eile, bodalach, a chiallaíonn “strong, lusty youth.”) Ach chomh maith leis sin, dá mbeadh bodach in úsáid leis an chiall chéanna le buddy, ní bheadh an fhuaim mar an gcéanna leis an dóigh a ndeirtear buddy sa Bhéarla, ar ndóigh.

Agus mar is gnách, bhí Cassidy chomh cinnte sin de féin nár bhac sé le féidearthachtaí eile a phlé. Deir sé go drochmheasúil go ndeir na foclóirí Angla-Mheiriceánacha ‘ar chúis éigin nach bhfuil míniú air’ go dtagann na téarmaí bud agus buddy ón fhocal Béarla brother.’ Cad chuige a ndeir sé nach bhfuil míniú air? Ar ndóigh, cionn is go raibh an ghealt thoirtéiseach Cassidy cinnte dearfa go raibh an fhadhb réitithe aige agus gur chóir do gach duine glacadh leis an amaidí nua-chumtha s’aige faoin fhocal bodach. Is é an rud atá deacair a mhíniú, i mo bharúil féin, go nglacfadh duine ar bith le raiméis an chaimiléara seo nuair is léir nach raibh ann ach gealt.

I have discussed this word before on the blog, but I didn’t spend much time on it. The word buddy is found in English from the middle of the 19th century. The most common explanation is that it is a childish version of the word brother. However, it’s a little more complicated than that. There is a word found in the 19th century English dialects of England, the word “butty”. Apparently, this term derives from the word booty. A booty-fellow was a person who joined you on a journey or venture and shared the profit with you. But that’s not all! Other people link it to the word ‘body’ in Scots or Lallans. Others think it’s an acronym from the period of the American Civil War, which means Brother Until Death. Or that it is from the Raj and the Pashto word ‘Badda’, which means a partner. Or from the word boetie in Dutch which comes from broer, meaning brother.

Daniel Cassidy, in his fake book How The Irish Invented Slang, says that the English buddy comes from the Irish bodach. As usual, he ransacks the the dictionaries to prove his case. He says that bodach means “a strong, lusty youth.” I don’t know where he got that definition, because according to the dictionaries, bodach means “a churl, a clown, a tramp”. (It’s another word, bodalach, which means “strong, lusty youth.”) Not only that, but if bodach were used with the same meaning as buddy, it wouldn’t sound the same as buddy in English. (Bodach is pronounced roughly bodda, while a bhodaigh is pronounced a woddy.)

And as usual, Cassidy was so sure of himself that he didn’t bother discussing any other possibilities. He says sniffily that the Anglo-American dictionaries say ‘inexplicably’ that the terms bud and buddy come from the English word brother. Why does he say ‘inexplicably?’ Of course, because this pompous liar was 100% certain that he had solved the problem and that everyone should accept his made-up nonsense about the word bodach. The inexplicable thing, in my opinion, is that anyone would accept Daniel Cassidy’s crap when it is obvious that he was nothing but a nut-job.

 

Squeal, Kid, Buddy

Time and again, Cassidy simply ignored easily understandable English derivations in favour of Irish explanations which are highly improbable or completely factitious.

For example, Cassidy denied that the word squeal, as in “he squealed to the cops”, has anything to do with the noise that a panicking animal makes. He derived it from scaoil, an Irish verb which means release, and can mean to divulge a secret, as in the phrase scaoil sé a rún. However, it is worth noting that squeal is often used as an intransitive verb – you can say “he squealed” and not “he squealed something”. With scaoileadh, you couldn’t do this. It requires an object. The fact is that when people borrow words, they generally use them in the foreign sentence in just the same way as they would be used in the original language. As far as I’m concerned, squeal is self-explanatory in English, and there is no need to regard it as loan from Irish or any other language.

Another silly one is kid, which Cassidy derives from the term of endearment, a chuid. A chuid does exist, but so does the English word kid meaning a young goat, and as far as I can see, this is a much better candidate. It fits far better with the way that the word is used in English (i.e. it is a noun meaning children, not primarily a term of endearment).

And then there is buddy, which is generally regarded as being a childish version of brother. This seems logical to me. Cassidy will have none of it. He dismissively says that all American dictionaries ‘inexplicably’ derive buddy from brother. He prefers a derivation from Irish bodach, which means ‘a clown, a churl, a strong lusty youth’.  I will freely admit that the phrase a bhodaigh is given by Ó Dónaill as ‘my lad’ but it is hardly a common phrase and the ‘brother’ explanation seems to me much more sensible.

The fact is that where there is a word in an English sentence which seems to have a reasonable derivation in English, it is not bigotry or intolerance to accept that English derivation in preference to a borrowed word or phrase. After all, it is quite clear that Irish has contributed very little to the English language, in spite of Cassidy’s assertions. The Irish were systematically bullied and starved and cajoled into regarding their language as inferior. When they came to the States and Canada, they wanted to learn English and forget where they came from. We have no right to condemn them for this. Where they came from was hunger and poverty and they wanted to get something better for their children, even if it meant turning their back on their heritage.