Tag Archives: yell

Cassidese Glossary – Yell

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.

Daniel Cassidy, in his etymological hoax, How The Irish Invented Slang, claimed that the word yell comes from éamh oll, which Cassidy defines as ‘a great cry, a loud shout, a loud call.’ This is ridiculous for several reasons.

Firstly, éamh oll is not a real Irish phrase. The word oll is only used as a prefix in modern Irish and éamh is a fairly obscure word, much more obscure than words like scairt, gairm, scread, glaoch and liú.

Cassidy, with his customary lack of rigour, misquotes the English dictionaries too. Here is what Cassidy says:

“The OED derives yell from Middle Low German gellen, gillen, weak, Old English galan, to sing.”

This is what the Oxford English Dictionary really says about the origins of yell:

“Forms: OE gellan, giellan, gillan, gyllan, ME ȝeolle, ME ȝelle, ME ȝel, ȝele, yhelle, …

Etymology: Old English (Anglian) gellan , (West Saxon) giellan , gyllan , gillan strong verb, past tense geal , plural gullon = Middle Low German gellen , gillen weak, Middle Dutch gellen strong (Dutch gillen ), Old High German gellan strong (Middle High German, German weak gellen ), Old Norse gjalla , past tense gall (Swedish gälla , Norwegian giella ); < gell- , extended form of gel- : gal- , whence Old English galan to sing, gale v.1, -gale in nihtegale , night- + -gale (in nightingale n.1), Old Norse -gal in hanagal cockcrow, Old Saxon, (Middle) Dutch, Old High German galm outcry.”

It is quite clear from all this that yell had exactly the same meaning and a fairly similar form in Middle and Old English. The OED does not say that the word comes from Middle Low German because Middle Low German came after Old English chronologically and the word was already in use in English in the Old English period. And the reference to strong and weak is nothing to do with the meaning of the word, it refers to it being a strong or weak verb (i.e. one which forms the past tense by a vowel change or by adding –ed respectively: write/wrote is strong, work/worked is weak.)

In other words, Cassidy’s claim here is nonsense. The origin of yell is well-known and of impeccable Germanic origin, éamh oll does not exist and his claim of an Irish derivation is laughable.

Yell

Another crazy and stupid claim in Cassidy’s dreckfest How The Irish Invented Slang is the one about yell being of Irish origin. Cassidy claims that it comes from éamh oll, which The Great Fraud defines as ‘a great cry, a loud shout, a loud call.’ This is ridiculous for several reasons.

Firstly, éamh oll is not a real Irish phrase. The word oll is only used as a prefix in modern Irish and éamh is a fairly obscure word. If any of Cassidy’s supporters thinks it is a real Irish phrase, fine. They can find an example of its use in an Irish text and get back to us with the reference!

Secondly, Cassidy’s handling of the English demonstrates both his dishonesty and his stupidity. His dishonesty, because he omits most of the relevant information and his stupidity because he fails even to understand what the dictionaries are saying.

Here is what Cassidy says:

“The OED derives yell from Middle Low German gellen, gillen, weak, Old English galan, to sing.”

This is what the Oxford English Dictionary says about the origins of yell:

“Forms:  OE gellan, giellan, gillan, gyllan, ME ȝeolle, ME ȝelle, ME ȝel, ȝele, yhelle, … (Show More)

Etymology:  Old English (Anglian) gellan , (West Saxon) giellan , gyllan , gillan  strong verb, past tense geal , plural gullon  = Middle Low German gellen , gillen  weak, Middle Dutch gellen  strong (Dutch gillen ), Old High German gellan  strong (Middle High German, German weak gellen ), Old Norse gjalla , past tense gall  (Swedish gälla , Norwegian giella ); < gell- , extended form of gel- : gal- , whence Old English galan  to sing, gale v.1, -gale  in nihtegale , night-  + -gale  (in nightingale n.1), Old Norse -gal in hanagal cockcrow, Old Saxon, (Middle) Dutch, Old High German galm outcry.”

It is quite clear from all this that yell had exactly the same meaning and a fairly similar form in Middle and Old English. The OED does not say that the word comes from Middle Low German because Middle Low German came after Old English and the word was already in English in the Old English period. And the reference to strong and weak is nothing to do with the meaning of the word, it refers to it being a strong or weak verb (i.e. one which forms the past tense by a vowel change or by adding –ed respectively: write/wrote is strong, work/worked is weak.) Somebody who is as big an idiot as Cassidy would look at the claim in the book and scoff at it – Ha! The dictionary dudes in their ivory towers think it comes from a German word for weak and an Old English word for sing! What a bunch of mugs! In fact, it is Cassidy’s supporters who are the mugs. The origin of yell is absolutely certain and his claim of an Irish origin is laughable.