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 nickname for a gangster in America, something like Bugsy. Daniel Cassidy claims that it comes from the Irish muc saobh, which he claims would mean something like a twisted scowling face. As we said in the item on mug, muc does not mean a scowling face. Saobh does mean twisted and perverse. However, in Irish, muc is a feminine noun so it would have to be muc shaobh (mook heev) which sounds nothing like mugsy. Of course, Cassidy was completely ignorant of the Irish language and knew nothing about the way Irish words are put together in a genuine phrase or sentence.
While some of Cassidy’s supporters seem to think that grammar is a luxury enjoyed by the privileged and overeducated, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of what grammar is. Native speakers of Irish would always say muc shaobh, just as native speakers of Spanish would always say una mujer guapa and not un mujer guapo. It’s the way the language works at the most basic level and any speaker breaking these basic rules would come across as an idiot.