Tag Archives: fíor a éimiú

Cassidese Glossary – Frame

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.

There is really not much point in taking Cassidy’s claim in relation to the word frame seriously. Cassidy says that to frame (as in ‘he was framed by the cops’) derives from the ‘Irish’ phrase fíor a éimiú, which (if it really existed) would mean something like ‘to refuse the truth’. Both fíor (as a noun) and éimiú would be quite uncommon words. If you asked an Irish speaker how to say ‘deny the truth’ they would almost certainly say an fhírinne a shéanadh. As we have already said, it is very uncommon for phrases like this to be borrowed between languages anyway, even when they’re genuine phrases!

Then again, the word frame is so easy to understand and completely appropriate. The crime and its circumstances are the frame and the authorities take one particular mug and put him into that frame. Thus they frame him. It is a simple, easily-understood metaphor.

Frame

Another ridiculous Cassidy claim is that to frame (as in ‘he was framed by the cops’) derives from Irish. According to Cassidy, it derives from the phrase fíor a éimiú, which means something like ‘to refuse the truth’, though both fíor and éimiú would be quite uncommon words. If you asked an Irish speaker how to say ‘deny the truth’ they would almost certainly say an fhírinne a shéanadh or diúltú don fhírinne. As we have already said, it is very uncommon anyway for phrases like this to be borrowed between languages, especially unfamiliar and unattested phrases which don’t sound much like the target phrase and don’t mean the same (does ‘to frame someone’ really mean the same as ‘to deny the truth?’)

And then again, the word frame is so easy to understand and completely appropriate. The crime and its circumstances are the frame and the authorities take one particular mug and put him into that frame. Thus they frame him. Anyone who pretends that this isn’t the origin of the term and chooses instead to believe Cassidy’s absurd and creaky explanation should be kept away from sharp objects and forced to seek medical help as soon as possible.