Tag Archives: caidéir

Cassidese Glossary – Cadger

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.

It is true that there is a similar word in Irish, as Cassidy claims, the word caidéir. However, caidéir is clearly a borrowing from English, not the other way around. The word cadger is attested in English more than a century before it occurs in Irish for the first time. Cadger may be related to the word codger and to the verb cadge, which have a longer history: https://www.etymonline.com/word/cadge


Cadger is derived from an ancient Scottish and English term meaning a peddler. The meaning of scrounger seems to be of fairly recent origin along with the verb form ‘to cadge’.

At some stage, this was borrowed into Irish as caidéir. This is given in Ó Dónaill, but not in Dinneen. Dinneen tended not to include words which were obviously borrowings from English. Cassidy cites this word and also another word which is given in Dinneen, ceaidé, which is obviously a completely different word. How cadger could come from two completely different words is not clear. It’s like a child having two fathers. However, we’re not dealing with reasoned arguments or evidence or facts here. We’re dealing with fantasies invented by a lunatic.

The fact is, cadger is an ancient English/Scots word. There is evidence for this. It was borrowed into Irish. It is not an Irish word. In relation to this word, Cassidy was doing what he did best – lying.