Tag Archives: etymology of razzamatazz

Cassidese Glossary – Razzamatazz

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 term razzamatazz, meaning showmanship, first appears in the 1890s. It seems to be linked to terms like razzle and razzle-dazzle.

The late Daniel Cassidy, in his etymological hoax, How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that it comes from the Irish phrase roiseadh mórtas, which he says means “a blast of high spirits and exultation; a burst of boastfulness and bragging.”

In fact, this phrase is completely unknown in the Irish language. It is ungrammatical, as mórtas would have to be in the genitive form mórtais, and it would not sound a lot like razzamatazz if it did exist. As for meaning, taking the first stated meaning of each word from Ó Dónaill’s dictionary, it would mean ‘ripping of pride’, which isn’t very similar to the meanings of razzamatazz.