Tag Archives: Cassidese Glossary

Cassidese Glossary – Tantrum

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.

In his work of etymological fiction, How The Irish Invented Slang, the late Daniel Cassidy claimed that the word tantrum in English derives from the Irish word teintrighim (tintrím as it would be in modern spelling), which would be pronounced chen-chreem. This is a real word from Dinneen’s dictionary. Dinneen defines it as ‘I flash forth, lighten, brighten, glisten’.

I need hardly point out that while this word exists (it’s in a dictionary) it is hard to think of any circumstance where it would actually be used, as storms rarely speak, even in stories. As usual, Cassidy does not simply copy the meanings given by Irish scholars, so his definition of the word is: ‘I flash-forth; fig. I have a tantrum or fiery fit’.

Back in reality, the origin of tantrum is almost certainly traceable to the name of a devil in English folklore, Tantrum-Bobus. This was used as a nickname for a boisterous child and eventually, it came to have the meaning of a fit of anger. For example, in the 1810s, in his diary, Henry Monro gives a list of his brother Tom’s rows with family members, including “a tantrum bobus with my mother”. Monro was a Londoner.

Cassidese Glossary – Jizz

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 links this word to jazz and claims that it derives from Irish teas. There is no evidence of this. See the article on Jazz above.

Cassidese Glossary – Caca

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.

In his work of fake etymology, How The Irish Invented Slang, Cassidy claimed that the word caca (used as a childish euphemism for shit in English since the 19th century) derives from the genitive of the Irish word cac, meaning shit. This is how Cassidy tells it:

Caca, n., excrement, shit; often used as euphemism in presence of children.

Caca, gen. as attrib. adj. of cac, excrement, filth; fig. shit; rud caca, a dirty, shitty thing. (Dineen, 145)

The Irish cac and caca are probably derived from the Latin caco, to void excrement. (Cassell’s Latin-English Dictionary, 76.)”

This is completely wrong. It is believed that caca was borrowed into English (probably from Spanish) in the 19th century: https://www.etymonline.com/word/caca

Cac is the Irish for shit or excrement. There is nothing figurative about it. As Douglas Harper says, this is an ancient Indo-European word that is found in dozens of languages throughout Europe and Asia. The Spanish for shit is caca, the Irish have cac, cack is used in English dialects in phrases like cack-handed, a cacophony is literally a shitty sound in Greek, and even in Hindi the word khaki means dust-coloured or shit-coloured. Cassidy’s claim that the Irish cac is a borrowing from the Latin caco is also nonsense. Anyone with the most basic knowledge of historical linguistics would realise this.

In other words, there is absolutely no evidence that the English caca came from the genitive of Irish cac.