Tag Archives: Ó Ghlíomáil go Giniúint


Another really stupid claim from Daniel Cassidy in his absurd book, How The Irish Invented Slang, is that the American slang term cooze derives from Irish. Cooze is a crude term for the vagina which first surfaces in American slang in the 1950s. It doesn’t really exist in Ireland, apart from among fans of the Sopranos and the Wire. There is no definite explanation for its origin, though apparently there is an Arabic word with a very similar sound and meaning, so it has been speculated that it derives from GIs returning from North Africa at the end of the Second World War.

Daniel Cassidy observed that there is a word cuas in Irish. He says that:

Cuas, anat. n., a cavity; an orifice; a hole; fig. a vagina. “Cuas” is an utterly neutral anatomical term in Irish.

This looks quite convincing, as long as you accept Cassidy’s Do-It-Yourself definition at face value and don’t look at the original sources, the Irish dictionaries. Here’s what Ó Dónaill says:

1. Cavity; hollow, recess. ~ crainn, hollow of tree. ~ aille, hole in cliff. 2. Cove, creek. 3. Anat: Sinus, cup. ~ coirp, sróine, body, nasal cavity.

Dinneen is pretty much the same, though it does say that cuas means ‘an orifice in physiology’.

There is an excellent book of Irish-language sexual slang which I have mentioned before. It is Ó Ghlíomáil go Giniúint by D. Ó Luineacháin (Coiscéim, 1997). In this 76 page treatise, Ó Luineacháin gives a huge number of slang terms. Yet he fails to mention the use of cuas to mean vagina. The reason for this is quite clear. It doesn’t mean vagina. Its usual meaning is a shallow alcove or inlet or recess. There is no evidence apart from Cassidy’s invented quotes and nothing Cassidy said is worth a nine-dollar note.

I don’t know where cooze comes from, but it doesn’t come from cuas.

More lies, more distortions, more nonsense.