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.
In the article on the term Raspberry, I explained that Cassidy claimed that raspberry (as in to blow a raspberry, to make a farting noise) comes from the Irish roiseadh búirthí, which he says means a burst of enthusiasm. It doesn’t. Razz is a similar term, meaning to blow a raspberry or by extension to verbally abuse someone. The usual explanation for this term is that it is simply a shortening of raspberry.
Daniel Cassidy, in his work of etymological fantasy, How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that raspberry comes from roiseadh búirthí but razz comes from a different but related word, rois, which means a volley, a blast or a burst. Rois (pronounced roughly as rush) sounds nothing like razz either, of course, though it does have the considerable advantage of being a genuine Irish word rather than a made-up phrase.