flannagan has looked up 1 word, created 6 lists, listed 655 words, written 63 comments, added 0 tags, and loved 14 words.

Comments by flannagan

  • I fully understand the prejudice against these sort of books—the title of this one is kind of embarrassing. But there is some genuinely interesting stuff inside. When you look at all the old American slang words listed as "origin unknown" in the great English dictionaries, then take into account the millions of Irish-speaking immigrants who poured into American, British and Australian ports in the 19th and 20th centuries, then look at the striking phonetic and semantic similarities of the slang words with common Gaelic words and phrases in use at the time, then research the first published use of the slang words in question—a case starts to be built up that isn't easily brushed aside. And in most of the examples given in the book, the case for the Gaelic origin is a lot stronger than the alternative.

    One example: the phrase "mind your own bee's wax," which first became popular in American slang in the 1920s. No one knows where it came from, and many wacky theories have been proposed. Meanwhile béasmhaireacht (pron. beeswəract) = morality, manners, habits.

    The book's worth picking up and flipping through if you see it in the bookstore, if for nothing else than to look up the supposed Gaelic origins of the word "gimmick."

    November 9, 2007

  • sionnach: the Gaelic equivalents of the words you cited: bas (boss; best, very good), áilteoir scaoilte (a run amok clown; an unconstrained wild prankster; a loose-limbed trickster), teas (pron. j'ass; heat, passion, excitement), roiseadh mórtas (a blast of high spirits and exultation; a burst of boastfulness and bragging).

    But you really gotta pick up the book for the full explanation.

    November 8, 2007

  • An alcoholic drink made from sweet potatoes.

    July 31, 2007

  • Hatred of strangers.

    July 31, 2007

  • A hatred of the unknown.

    July 31, 2007

  • Hatred of wisdom.

    July 31, 2007

  • A hater of beauty.

    July 31, 2007

  • A war-hater.

    July 31, 2007

  • Hatred of everything.

    July 31, 2007

  • One who hates to practice the piano.

    July 31, 2007

  • A hater of tobacco smoke.

    July 31, 2007

  • Hatred of anything new or strange.

    July 31, 2007

  • Aversion to sex.

    July 31, 2007

  • A person who hates authority.

    July 31, 2007

  • Childlessness.

    July 31, 2007

  • (A low roar; a deep murmur or humming.)

    July 31, 2007

  • A small reading area in the stacks of a library.

    July 31, 2007

  • A neurotic preoccupation with one's youth.

    July 31, 2007

  • Inwardly, within (Scottish).

    July 31, 2007

  • A photograph of a child.

    July 31, 2007

  • A devotee of oral intercourse; a licker.

    July 31, 2007

  • A supple-jointed person; figuratively: a fawning or servile person.

    July 31, 2007

  • Gingerbread with raisins.

    July 31, 2007

  • Sharp, eager, greedy.

    July 30, 2007

  • 1. an unorthodox person. 2. one who practices unorthodox sex.

    July 30, 2007

  • A male whore.

    July 30, 2007

  • A lazy person.

    July 30, 2007

  • Fish eggs; roe.

    July 30, 2007

  • Just before death.

    July 30, 2007

  • A stew made mostly from potatoes and greens (Irish).

    July 30, 2007

  • A gloomy person; a pessimist.

    July 30, 2007

  • The external genitals.

    July 30, 2007

  • To melt irregularly and drip, as a candle.

    July 30, 2007

  • Pertaining to the dawn or the east.

    July 30, 2007

  • The theory that existence is a single principle.

    July 30, 2007

  • 1. to incline, to be favorable. 2. to decline or droop. 3. to yield. 4. to turn away.

    July 30, 2007

  • To order a dog forward.

    July 30, 2007

  • To snap the fingers; a snap.

    July 30, 2007

  • A word maniac.

    July 30, 2007

  • Capable of being easily penetrated.

    July 30, 2007

  • A male homebody.

    July 30, 2007

  • A twelfth-century patronymic for royal bastards.

    July 30, 2007

  • Obsolete form of ashes

    July 30, 2007

  • To live off someone; to have a friendly chat.

    July 30, 2007

  • Awkward (slang).

    July 30, 2007

  • The mob or rabble (Scottish).

    July 30, 2007

  • A weak drink, fit only for cats to lap.

    July 30, 2007

  • Eldest.

    July 30, 2007

  • Writer's cramp.

    July 30, 2007

  • Like a siren: fascinating and dangerous.

    July 30, 2007

  • To whistle with a hissing sound.

    July 30, 2007

  • Diagonally.

    July 30, 2007

  • Medley, confusion.

    July 30, 2007

  • Abuse, insolence.

    July 30, 2007

  • Slang for dog.

    July 30, 2007

  • To speak through the nose.

    July 30, 2007

  • A sly person.

    July 30, 2007

  • Ass-worship.

    July 30, 2007

  • Reading everything.

    July 30, 2007

  • I'm obsessed with this list!

    February 20, 2007

  • As in Wilhelm.

    February 17, 2007

  • Popularized by Rebecca Sealfon.

    January 17, 2007

  • According to legend, when Rhode Island founder Roger Williams landed on the shore of Providence in 1636, Narragansett Indians bade him a friendly "What cheer, netop?" ("how goes it, friend?")

    January 15, 2007

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