Tag Archives: New College of California

More on the Irish dude

I have dealt before with Cassidy’s ridiculous claims about the word ‘dude’. If you have the stomach for it, you can listen to Cassidy spouting rubbish about this subject with his usual mixture of pomposity and incompetence to an adoring audience of sycophants and dimwits at the NY Tenement Museum: http://tenement-museum.blogspot.com/2008/10/danny-cassidy.html

If, like me, you find Cassidy’s self-satisfied nasal twang and utter lack of humility a real turn-off, perhaps you will prefer to read his nonsense in relation to this question instead of listening to it. Here is the way that Cassidy’s claims about the Irish origins of ‘dude’ appeared on CounterPunch:

Dude, n.,a dapper dandy; a ‘swell,’ an affected, fastidious fop; a city slicker at a dude ranch. “Origin unknown.” (Barnhart Dictionary of English Etymology, 305.)
Dúd, (pron. dood), dúd(a), al. dúid, n., a foolish-looking fellow; a dolt, a numbskull; a clown; an idiot; a rubbernecker; a long-necked eavesdropper. (Dineen, 377, 378; Ó Dónaill, 459, 460.)
Dúdach, adj., rubber-necked; foolish-looking, queer. Dúdaire, n., a clown, an idiot (Kerry); a long-necked person; a dolt; an eavesdropper. Dúdálaí, n., a stupid person; an idiot; a self-conscious person. (Dineen, 377, 378; Ó Dónaill, 459, 460, Foclóir Póca, 349, 350)
Dúd (pron. dood, a dolt) was a moniker Irish Americans slapped on slumming, dapper, wealthy, young “swells,” out on a “spree” (spraoi, fun, sport, frolic, a drinking bout) in the concert saloons, dance halls, and theaters of old New York.

So, anyone reading Cassidy’s account would think that there is a complex of Irish terms like diúid, dúid, dúdaire, dúdálaí, dúidín and dúdóg, all of which apparently refer to people. That’s Cassidy’s version. Let’s have a look at the truth instead of Cassidy’s version.

There seem to be at least two separate words here. Diúid is an obscure adjective meaning 1. Simple, uncomplicated. 2. Straightforward, sincere. 3. Simple-minded, silly. (According to Ó Dónaill’s dictionary) It doesn’t seem to have any relationship to the word dúid, which seems to be the origin of all the other words given above. Dúid is a noun. It sometimes occurs in older texts as dúda. Here are its meanings (again from Ó Dónaill):

dúid, f. (gs. ~e, pl. ~eanna).1. Stump. Rud a ghearradh (amach, aníos) ón ~, ó bhun na ~e, to cut sth. right down to the stump. Chuir an tarbh an adharc go bun na ~e, go filleadh ~e, ann, the bull stuck his horn right into him. 2. (a) Stumpy object, protuberant part; (short) horn, (cropped) ear, tail. (b) Short-stemmed (clay) pipe. 3. (Craned) neck, throat. ~ a chur ort féin, to crane one’s neck; to turn one’s head shyly away; to eavesdrop; to mope around. Greim ~e a fháil ar dhuine, to grasp s.o. by the neck, to fasten on s.o. Rud a chur ar do dhúid, to swallow hard at sth., to gulp sth. down one’s throat. 4. (a) Stumpy person. (b) Mopish, shy person; numbskull. (Var:~eán m)

Unfortunately, the field of Irish-language etymology has been neglected down the years. We don’t even have a basic etymological dictionary in Irish for common words. When I have searched for it in Irish texts and also on Google, I have come across many instances where duid is a misspelling of duit (for or to you), or of dóid (a fist or hand).

These terms are not primarily about people. Terms like dúid and dúidín seem to refer to stumps, stump-like objects, tubes, the neck, the ear, small trumpets or smoking pipes. It is used in phrases like gearrtha go dúid, (cut down to the stump) and the secondary words like dúdaire and dúdálaí (which mean things like rubbernecker or eavesdropper) acquired these meanings from the notion of someone craning their neck to hear or see things that are none of their business.

What about dúid being used as an insulting term for a person? Is there any evidence of this? Well, Ó Dónaill in his Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla gives it as having the meaning stumpy person or shy person or numbskull, though this is the fourth and final meaning given. And both Dinneen and Ó Dónaill give the word galldúda with the definition of an ignorant, clownish person. (The first bit is presumably gall, meaning foreign, non-Gaelic.)

Apart from these two sources, I have not come across any instance of dúid or dúda being used as a dismissive term for people in Irish texts. In other words, its use in this way is very rare, and because of this, we have to ask ourselves if this is the, or even a word, that Irish-speaking people would have used when they saw some dandy strutting through their area. After all, the implication of Ó Dónaill’s definition is that a dúid is someone who is stumpy, shy, awkward, who doesn’t do much. The primary meaning of dude in English is an exhibitionist, someone who flaunts their wealth and their style.

Add to that the appropriateness of the usual etymologist’s derivation from Yankee Doodle and its clear association with dandyism, and Cassidy’s claim starts to look like what it is – a load of ignorant, distorted flim-flam from a loud-mouthed, narcissistic con-man with no skills and no qualifications.


Duke and Dukin’

The word duke (meaning hand or fist) dates back to the mid-19th century in English. There are several theories about its origin. The most reasonable is that it is rhyming slang. The word fork was used as a slang term for hand in the 19th century and is also found in phrases like ‘put up your forks’, just as ‘put up your dukes’ was a familiar phrase. It is believed that the phrase Duke of York gave rise to the link between fork and duke. Another (less credible) theory holds that duke came from dookin, a Romani term for palmistry (though the Romani word for hand is vast).

The verb duking developed as a derivative of the noun duke in the 20th century.

Daniel Cassidy, phoney scholar and fake etymologist, ignored these known facts and claimed that duking comes from the Irish tuargain, meaning pound, batter, which Cassidy in various interviews mispronounced as dookin, and that the noun duke for hand developed from this verb. As usual when the facts conflicted with Cassidy’s insane theories, Cassidy simply pretended the facts didn’t exist.

Taifeadadh an focal Béarla duke (leis an chiall lámh nó dorn) den chéad uair i lár an 19ú haois. Tá roinnt teoiricí ann faoina bhunús. An ceann is réasúnta ná gur béarlagair na rímeanna atá ann. Bhí an focal fork in úsáid mar théarma béarlagair ar lámh sa 19ú haois agus faightear é i bhfrásaí ar nós ‘put up your forks’, go díreach mar a bhí an frása ‘put up your dukes’ coitianta céad bliain ó shin. Creidtear gurbh é an frása Duke of York a chruthaigh an nasc idir fork agus duke. Tá teoiric eile ann, nach bhfuil leath chomh hinchreidte, gur tháinig duke ó théarma Romainise ar an dearnadóireacht, dookin (cé gurb é vast an focal Romainise ar lámh).

D’fhorbair an briathar duking ón ainmfhocal duke san 20ú haois.

Rinne Daniel Cassidy, scoláire gobáin agus bréagshaineolaí teanga, neamhshuim de na fíricí mar is eol do scoláirí iad, agus mhaígh sé gur ón Ghaeilge tuargain a tháinig duking, focal a chiallaíonn bualadh. In agallaimh a rinne Cassidy, bhí nós aige tuargain a rá mar dookin, agus mhaígh sé gur fhorbair an t-ainmfhocal duke (lámh) ón bhriathar seo, cé go bhfuil an fhianaise ar fad ina éadan. Mar ba ghnách, nuair a bhí an fhírinne ag teacht salach ar a chuid teoiricí mire, lig Cassidy air féin nach raibh na fíricí ann.

An Update/Nuashonrú

 I have been really busy recently, so I have had little time to devote to this blog. Last week, Eoin Ó Murchú, an old friend of CassidySlangScam, wrote a piece about Cassidy’s nonsense in the Irish supplement to the Irish Independent. He discussed the list of words the RubberBandits put out last year.

The RubberBandits also put up a piece on Twitter. They said that they wanted to speak to people who have Irish and ask them questions about the language. One person raised the question of cultural appropriation and Dennis King (an American who speaks good Irish) replied with another piece about Cassidy’s book.

I think it’s worth mentioning these two things. Although I am the most determined and most vitriolic critic of Cassidy and his stupid book, I am not alone. There are plenty of people out there who have a knowledge of Irish, of Irish history, of linguistics or of English slang who also hate Cassidy and his garbage.


Bhí mé thar a bheith gnóthach ar na mallaibh agus mar gheall air sin, is beag am a bhí agam leis an bhlag seo a scríobh. An tseachtain seo caite, scríobh Eoin Ó Murchú, seanchara le CSS, píosa faoi raiméis Cassidy i bhforlíonadh Gaeilge an Irish Independent. Phléigh sé na focail a chuir na RubberBandits amach anuraidh.

Chuir na RubberBandits píosa suas ar Twitter fosta. Dúirt siad go raibh siad ag iarraidh labhairt le daoine a bhfuil Gaeilge acu agus ceisteanna a chur orthu faoin teanga. Thóg duine ceist na leithghabhála cultúrtha agus d’fhreagair Dennis King (Meiriceánach a bhfuil Gaeilge mhaith aige) le píosa eile faoi leabhar Cassidy.

Is fiú an dá rud seo a lua, dar liom. Cé gur mise an duine is díograisí agus is binbí maidir le Cassidy agus a leabhar bómánta, níl mé liom féin. Tá neart daoine amuigh ansin, daoine a bhfuil cur amach acu ar an Ghaeilge, ar stair na hÉireann, ar an teangeolaíocht agus ar bhéarlagair an Bhéarla, a bhfuil an ghráin fáiscthe acu ar Cassidy agus ar a chuid amaidí fosta.






Amadáin na Míosa – Eagraithe agus Urraithe an Irish-American Crossroads Festival

I gceann cúpla lá, cuirfear tús leis an Irish American Crossroads Festival in San Francisco. Ba é Daniel Cassidy agus cuid dá chairde agus leantóirí a bhunaigh an fhéile. Sin an fáth a mbíonn eagraithe na féile ag insint bréag faoi Cassidy go fóill.

Níl aon amhras faoi na fíricí a bhaineann le Cassidy. Ní raibh céim aige, mar gur theip air céim a fháil ó Cornell in 1965 cionn is go raibh sé i dtámhshuan mar gheall ar na drugaí. Ní raibh céim aige ó Cornell agus níor fhreastail sé fiú ar Columbia. Bhí saol corrach lán teipeanna aige agus ansin, d’éirigh leis post a fháil mar ollamh ag ollscoil bréige darbh ainm New College of California trí bhréaga a insint faoin taifead acadúil aige. I ndiaidh dó tuarastal léachtóra nach raibh tuillte aige a fháil ar feadh dhá bhliain déag, d’fhoilsigh sé leabhar aiféiseach darbh ainm How The Irish Invented Slang. Sa leabhar sin, chum Cassidy (fear nach raibh Gaeilge ar bith aige) na céadta frása bréige i ‘nGaeilge’, leithéidí béal ónna agus gíog gheal agus gearról úr agus pá lae sámh, ionas go dtiocfadh leis cur i gcéill gur tháinig a lán cora cainte i mbéarlagair Mheiriceá ón ‘Ghaeilge’ nuachumtha seo.

Ba bhréagadóir cruthanta é Cassidy, duine a chum a lán raiméise faoina shaol agus a shaothar – ní a chuid céimeanna amháin – agus duine ar bith a léann an blag seo go cúramach, tuigfidh siad láithreach cé chomh bréagach a bhí sé.

Ar an drochuair, tá cinneadh déanta ag eagraithe na féile seo nach maith leo an fhírinne agus gur chóir dóibh leanúint leo ag moladh Cassidy mar eiseamláir agus gur chóir plé leis an chur i gcéill mhailíseach a chum sé (cur i gcéill a bhfuil an Ghaeilge agus cultúr na hÉireann thíos leis go mór) mar a bheadh fíorléann ann. Tá an raiméis seo faoi Cassidy go fóill ar shuíomh gréasáin na féile.

Sin an fáth a bhfuil mé lánsásta an teideal Amadáin na Míosa a bhronnadh ar eagraithe agus ar urraithe na féile seo. Duine ar bith a bhfuil ciall dá laghad aige, nó duine ar bith a bhfuil náire ar bith ann, coinneoidh sé glan amach ón bhastard seo agus a chuid cairde.

Twits of the Month – The Organisers and Sponsors of the Irish-American Crossroads Festival

In a couple of days time, the Irish American Crossroads Festival will begin in San Francisco. This festival was founded by Daniel Cassidy and a number of his friends and enablers. That is why the festival’s organisers continue to lie about Cassidy.

The facts about Cassidy are well-known. Cassidy had no degrees, having flunked out of Cornell in a narcotic haze in 1965. He had no degree from Cornell and he never even attended Columbia. He had a life full of failures and then managed to bluff his way into a job as a professor at a diploma-mill called New College of California by lying about his lack of qualifications. After drawing a lecturer’s salary which he was not entitled to for twelve years, he published an absurd book called How The Irish Invented Slang, in which Cassidy, who didn’t speak any Irish at all, invented hundreds of fake Irish expressions such as béal ónna and gíog gheal and gearról úr and pá lae sámh so that he could pretend they were the origins of American slang expressions.

Cassidy was a pathological liar who invented all kinds of nonsense about his life and work – not just his fake degrees – and anyone who reads this blog carefully will quickly realise what a humungous liar the man was.

Unfortunately, the organisers of The Irish-American Crossroads have decided that the truth isn’t what they are about and that Cassidy should continue to be promoted as a role model and that his malicious hoax at the expense of the Irish language and Irish culture should continue to be treated as a valid piece of scholarship. This nonsense is still in the In Memoriam section of the festival’s website.

This is why I am happy to bestow the title of Twits of the Month on the organisers and sponsors of this festival. Anybody with any common sense or decency would avoid Cassidy and all his works like the plague.


(This is another piece which I have republished, edited and translated into Irish because of The Year of the Irish Language 2018. Seo píosa eile atá athfhoilsithe agam anseo, maraon le roinnt athruithe agus aistriúchán i nGaeilge, in ómós do Bhliain na Gaeilge 2018.)


Daniel Cassidy, in his crazy book How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that the word goon, meaning an idiot (and later, a muscle-bound henchman) derives from the Irish word guan, meaning ‘a fool’. There are several problems with this. Firstly, Cassidy states that the English word is ‘origin unknown’, while most dictionaries (including the OED) regard it as a contraction of an earlier word goonie or gooney, which is known since the 16th century and means a fool or a large bird like an albatross. This seems perfectly reasonable and I can see no reason to prefer an Irish derivation to this English origin.

Secondly, guan is not a common word in Irish. It is not given at all in Ó Dónaill’s dictionary, and in Dinneen’s dictionary it is ascribed to Ó Neachtain’s manuscript dictionary of 1730. It is not found in the 7 million word Corpas na Gaeilge. The word guanach for silly or fanciful is certainly common and is given in all dictionaries but guan itself isn’t.

In other words, this is as stupid and unlikely as the rest of Cassidy’s nonsense.

Mhaígh Daniel Cassidy, ina leabhar craiceáilte How The Irish Invented Slang, go bhfuair an Béarla an focal goon, a raibh an chiall ‘amadán’ leis fadó (agus a fuair an chiall cúlaistín matánach ina dhiaidh sin), ón fhocal Gaeilge ‘guan’, a chiallaíonn amadán. Tá roinnt fadhbanna leis an mhíniú seo. Sa chéad áit, deir Cassidy go ndeir foclóirí an Bhéarla gur focal ‘origin unknown’ atá ann. Is bréag lom é sin. An chuid is mó de na foclóirí Béarla (an OED san áireamh), tá siad ar aon intinn gur giorrúchán é ar an tseanfhocal gooniegooney, atá ar taifead ón 16ú haois agus a chiallaíonn amadán nó éan mór cosúil leis an albatras. Tá an míniú seo iomlán réasúnta, dar liom féin, agus ní thuigim cén fáth a roghnódh duine ar bith an tsanasaíocht Ghaeilge in áit an chinn seo ón Bhéarla.

Ar an dara dul síos, ní focal coitianta guan sa Ghaeilge. Ní luaitear i bhfoclóir Uí Dhónaill é agus i bhfoclóir an Duinnínigh, deir sé go bhfuil sé i lámhscríbhinn fhoclóir Uí Neachtain a scríobhadh in 1730. Níl sé luaite i gCorpas na Gaeilge, corpas 7 milliún focal. Tá an focal guanach (amaideach) coitianta go leor, cinnte, ach níl an focal guan coitianta ar chor ar bith.

Lena rá i mbeagán focal, tá an ceann seo chomh bómánta neamhdhóchúil leis an chuid eile de raiméis Cassidy.

Cultural Appropriation/Leithghabháil Chultúrtha


There was an interesting little article in NósMag recently about leithghabháil chultúrtha, or cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is basically the misuse of a minority culture by a majority culture. The NósMag article asked the question, where do we draw the line? There was an immediate response by Dennis King, who wrote this on Twitter with a picture of Cassidy’s ludicrous book: An leithghabháil chultúrtha é nuair a scríobhann duine ar bheagán Gaeilge leabhar a bhfuil a lán cacamais faoin nGaeilge ann? (Is it cultural appropriation when someone with little Irish writes a book which is full of crap about Irish?)

There have been a lot of arguments about what is or is not cultural appropriation. I don’t think anyone would argue about the most extreme cases – the Black and White Minstrel Show, or the writings of Asa Earl Carter are definitely inappropriate. Others are more dubious. Is it wrong for Anglo children to use a piñata? Should non-African Americans play the blues? Is it cultural appropriation when people get tattoos in bad Chinese or even worse Irish?

Wherever we draw the line, there is no doubt that Dennis King is right and that Cassidy is on the wrong side of it. After all, Cassidy’s book is basically a collection of made-up rubbish by a man who couldn’t even be bothered learning any Irish. Like Dennis King, I find Cassidy’s smugness and arrogance deeply offensive. It makes me angry to hear someone claiming that baloney comes from the Irish béal ónna, when there is no Irish phrase béal ónna – Cassidy invented it and then pretended it was Irish. Or that crony comes from Irish comhrogha, which exists but never had the meaning of friend or companion. Or that giggle comes from gíog gheal, which (if it existed), would mean a bright squeak. It’s all insulting, arrogant, stupid nonsense from a man with no degrees or qualifications who managed to con his way into a university job. Cultural appropriation or not, it’s a pack of lies.



Bhí alt beag spéisiúil ar NósMag ar na mallaibh faoin leithghabháil chultúrtha, nó an cultural appropriation, mar a thugtar uirthi i mBéarla. Is é atá i gceist leis an leithghabháil chultúrtha, lena rá i mbeagán focal, ná mórchultúr ag baint mí-úsáid as cultúr mionlaigh. Cuireadh an cheist san alt ar NósMag, cá háit a dtarraingítear an líne? Bhí freagra ann láithreach ó Dennis King, a scríobh seo ar Twitter maraon le pictiúr de leabhar bómánta Cassidy: An leithghabháil chultúrtha é nuair a scríobhann duine ar bheagán Gaeilge leabhar a bhfuil a lán cacamais faoin nGaeilge ann?

Bhí a lán argóintí ann le blianta beaga anuas maidir le cad is leithghabháil chultúrtha ann agus na rudaí nach leithghabháil chultúrtha iad. Ní dóigh liom go mbeadh amhras ar dhuine ar bith faoi na cásanna is measa – is cinnte nach bhfuil The Black and White Minstrel Show nó scríbhinní Asa Earl Carter inghlactha ar chor ar bith. Tá rudaí eile níos éiginnte. An bhfuil an ceart ag páistí nach bhfuil acu ach Béarla piñata a úsáid? Ar chóir do Mheiriceánaigh nach bhfuil de bhunús Afraiceach na gormacha a sheinm? An leithghabháil chultúrtha é nuair a fhaigheann daoine geala nach Gaeil iad tatúanna i ndrochShínis nó i nGaeilge uafásach?

Cibé áit a dtarraingítear an líne, is cinnte go bhfuil an ceart ag Dennis King agus go bhfuil Cassidy ar an taobh mhícheart den líne sin. Níl i leabhar Cassidy, i ndiaidh an tsaoil, ach bailiúchán de raiméis a chum duine nach dtiocfadh leis bheith gaibhte Gaeilge ar bith a fhoghlaim. Go díreach cosúil le Dennis King, cuireann féinsástacht agus ardnósacht Cassidy olc an domhain orm. Cuireann sé fearg orm nuair a chluinim duine ag rá gur ón Ghaeilge béal ónna a tháinig an focal baloney, cé nach bhfuil a leithéid de fhrása ann – chum Cassidy é agus lig air gur Gaeilge a bhí ann. Nó gur ón ‘Ghaeilge’ gíog gheal a tháinig giggle an Bhéarla, in ainneoin go bhfuil fianaise chuimsitheach leis an bharúil sin a bhréagnú. Níl ann ach raiméis mhaslach, ardnósach, amaideach ó fhear nach raibh céimeanna ná cáilíochtaí ar bith aige ach ar éirigh leis post ollscoile a fháil trí chaimiléireacht. Níl sa bhrilléis seo ach deargbhréaga, bíodh sí ina leithghabháil chultúrtha nó ná bíodh!