Tag Archives: origin of noogy

Cassidese Glossary – A Noogy

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.

Noogy (or noogie) is an American term, first recorded in the 1960s. It refers to a kind of playground punishment, where a child grabs another in a head-lock and then rubs their victim’s scalp with the knuckles. Its origin is unknown, though there are several theories.

Cassidy’s claim is that the basic phrase is not noogy but ‘a noogy’, which is why he put it under A rather than N. There is no logical reason for this, apart from the fact that Cassidy’s Irish candidate for the origin of noogy is the word aonóg, an obscure dialect word for ‘a nip, a pinch’ recorded in County Monaghan. The usual word for a nip or pinch is liomóg.

Cassidy’s fictional definition of aonóg is ‘a nip, a pinch, a little whack, fig. affectionate, rough-house play.’  Only the first two meanings are genuine and a noogie or noogy is not a nip or pinch. Cassidy’s ‘phonetic’ transcription is also incorrect. He transcribes it as ænóg, where the æ is being used wrongly (it does not reflect the way aonóg is pronounced) and ó is Irish, not part of any recognised system of phonetic transcription.