Tag Archives: jasm

Cassidese Glossary – Jasm, Gism

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.

This is a slang term derived from jizz, which seems to have originally meant spirit or energy. It first occurs in 1842 with that meaning. Then it took the meaning of semen, apparently for similar reasons to the use of spunk for both courage and semen.

Its ultimate origins are unknown. What we do know for a fact is that it has no connection with Daniel Cassidy’s claim that jasm comes from the Irish ‘teas ioma’, which according to Cassidy, means ‘an abundance of heat, passion, excitement; fig. semen.’ Cassidy thinks the word iomaí (or ioma) is an ordinary adjective which can follow a noun. It isn’t and it can’t. Iomai is used in phrases like ‘Is iomaí oíche’ (it’s many’s the night). See: https://www.teanglann.ie/en/fgb/iomaí

In other words, this is not just a non-existent phrase in Irish, it could not exist. Even if it could, and teas ioma did mean excessive heat in Irish, why does Cassidy think that overheating and semen are the same thing in Irish, when they aren’t the same thing in any other European language?

Certainty Creep and Accuracy Slip

To anyone studying pseudoscience and weird beliefs, the idea of certainty creep is an important one. I thought I had invented this term but when I looked it up on Google, I found that others have coined it before me. The idea is very simple. You start with a theory which is tentative. You claim, for example, that jasm comes from the Irish teas ioma, which means (according to you) excessive heat or ‘figuratively semen’. Then it enters cyberspace and people start to copy it. Do they copy the whole thing? No, they copy the most satisfying, wow-factor bit, so teas ioma becomes a phrase meaning semen. Then someone else copies it and it becomes ‘the Irish for semen’. And so on until all doubt and negativity have been removed and a silly made-up phrase is passed off as genuine Irish. 

Related to this is the useful concept of accuracy slip. This is basically what happens in Chinese whispers. Gradually, the claim gets further and further away from what was originally suggested. Of course, in a sense, certainty creep is a sub-category of accuracy slip. In some cases, the transformation of material will be fairly random, but in other cases it will be motivated by a desire to make the story ‘better’ – i.e. to make the facts fit the myth, and that is certainty creep.

Incidentally, in the example above, teas does mean heat. Ioma is a variant of iomaí, which means excessive but cannot be used the way Cassidy uses it, so teas ioma is just a meaningless piece of nonsense. Even if it did mean ‘excessive heat’, is this really going to mean the same as semen?

Hardly! This is yet another example of Daniel Cassidy’s bizarre fantasy world.