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DAN CASSIDY: How the Irish Invented American Slang Word origin AND Etymology of Jazz

Find the Word origin of Jazz, Irish American Vernacular English and the hidden influence of Irish and Scots-Gaelic on what we call American English, and the history of Jazz.

Jazz: Book

How the Irish Invented Slang 9781904859604
Subtitle: The Secret Language of the Crossroads
2007 American Book Award

Jazz: What is the origin of the word Jazz? The Irish word Teas is pronounced jazz, jass, chas, or t'as.

American Book Award Winner Dan Cassidy explains gig, juke, boogie woogie, Irish Slang and Irish American Vernacular English.

Learn about Irish American Vernacular English and the hidden influence of Irish and Scots-Gaelic on what we call American English.

Daniel Cassidy at the NYS Writers Institute in 2008



"Danny Cassidy knows
the sanas of the pizzazz of jazz. Which is to say,
the secret etymology."

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Professor Dan Cassidy
Founder and Co-Director

Irish Studies Program
An Léann Éireannach
New College of California
San Francisco, CA

Crossroads Conference 3/06

Sacred Fire - St. Brigids Fire Pit
Ellis goes to Kildare and finds the jazz called St. Brigid's Fire

The House of Fire - St. Bridgid's Teas (Jass) Heat: The pagan Goddess Brigid's feast day and theXtian St. Brigid's Day The Day of the Gin-i-ker

Daniel Cassidy, founder of the Crossroads Festival, was lost to us in 2008. The following information about his work is dedicated to the memory of Danny, a great advocate of the importance of remembering and honoring our stories, histories, and our passions. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.

all love and respect,
Karen Ellis

2007 American Book Award Winner Hear Speech

How the
Irish Invented Slang

ISBN: 9781904859604
Subtitle: The Secret Language of the Crossroads

New York Times Dan Cassidy

Ar dheis
Dé go raibh a anam dilis.

RIP October 10, 2008
Danny Cassidy left our world tonight from pancreatic cancer. He said how grateful he was to have had the support of so many (his words) "extraordinary friends." It was a privilege to know him; a great grace to have had his friendship. His legacy to the Irish-American community is inestimable. May perpetual light shine upon him. ~ Peter Quinn

Reclaiming the knowledge
back from a time long forgotten:
Irish Claim The Word Jazz.

READ the Book Reviews
Daniel Cassidy flings down the gauntlet to all those compilers of dictionaries who fled to the safe haven of origin unknown when confronted with the challenge of American slang. The originality and importance of the argument makes this an exciting contribution to both American and Irish Studies. This is a landmark book, at once learned and lively and quite enthralling as to how American English acquired so vibrant a popular vocabulary.

~ Professor J. Joseph Lee, Director, Glucksman Ireland House, Professor of History and Irish Studies, New York University; Professor of History, University College Cork.

Irish Americans especially will be delighted to know, they have been speaking Irish all along in their slang and American English, while believing and bemoaning that they had lost their native tongue many years ago. With imagination and scholarship, Cassidy has restored this hidden treasure to us in a book that is filled with revelations, wit and humor.
~ Bob Scally, Professor Emeritus, New York University, author, The End of Hidden Ireland

New York Times Review "Humdinger of a Project:Tracing Slang to Irelan 11/ 6/07 Permanent link



What's the Origin of the word Jazz? The Irish Word Teas Means Heat.
In a series of lively essays, this pioneering book proves that US slang has its strongest wellsprings in nineteenth-century Irish America. "Jazz" and "poker," "sucker" and "scam" all derive from Irish. While demonstrating this, Daniel Cassidy simultaneously traces the hidden history of how Ireland fashioned America, not just linguistically, but through the Irish gambling underworld, urban street gangs, and the powerful political machines that grew out of them. Cassidy uncovers a secret national heritage, long discounted by our WASP-dominated culture.
Professor Dan Cassidy had already published "The Sanas of Jazz as Teas" ©2002 in the poet David Meltzer's Jazz Magazine Shuffle Boil.

Trace the etymology and sanas of the word JAZZ.
Ellis makes the research available to you in PDF files showing The Etymology of Jazz and many other words that originally come from Irish American Vernacular English.

Irish Guys Writing with Irish Words.

Karen Ellis told Danny about an independant scholar and Folklorist named Peter Tamony who lived in San Francisco and did research that landed in a University library that Danny then researched that subsequently uncovered the Irish American Sports Reporter "Scoop" Gleason's San Francisco Bulletin in 1913 article that showed the first uses and explaination of the word "JAZZ".

Ellis locates Tamony's research papers, emails the "GINIKER" citation to Cassidy who searches the San Francisco Main Library ( which happens to be located only about mile away from where Tamony lived all those years ago) and now locates the newspaper microfiche finding those original sports page articles.

Give them plenty of outdoor exercise plenty of pep and "GINIKER" which means excitement - something exciting to do that is full of energy - that produces combustible energy - makes them sweat, produces heat, full of fire! It does not mean respect authority! That was theprincipal of the school sharing his classroom management advice with the teacher.

GINIKER The Great American Pastime 1956
A mild-mannered lawyer gets more than he bargained for when he takes over a little league team.
Nathaniel Benchley Writer Born in Newton, Massachusetts to a literary family, he was the son of Gertrude Darling and Robert Benchley (1889-1945).


"GINIKER" - THE MISSING LINK that explains the new word "JAZZ"
in the San Francisco Bulletin March 1913.

ARTICLES AND PICTURES trace and explain what Jazz means.

These first Published Examples S.F. Bulletin, March 3, 1913 of the new word Jazz have nothing to do with music, but refer to an intangible quality possessed by baseball players; what another writer in the S.F. Bulletin, Ernest Hopkins, described in April 1923 as “life, vigor, energy, effervescence of spirit, joy, pep, magnetism, verve, virility, ebullience, courage, happiness oh, what's the use? Jazz. Nothing else can express it”.
The San Francisco sports reporter Scoop Gleeson claimed he heard the word Jazz from fellow Irish American newspaperman, Spike Slattery, while they were at the training camp of the local baseball team, the San Francisco Seals. Slattery said he had heard it in a crap game.
Dan Cassidy Meets Spike Slattery's Grandson in Sonoma CA at the book reading 11/07.

Irish American Vernacular English Baseball Words used by Scoop Gleeson in the Sports pages. Jazz appears in print 25 times in the month of March 1913, 24 times in Scoop's articles.

Karen Ellis returns from the Fire Pit in Kildare Ireland to Boyes Springs CA to complete the journey of JAZZ.

© 2006 Boyes Hot Springs is 10 miles away from this hot spring that I visited at the last mission built in Sonoma, CA. ~ KE

Where was the game?
In Boyes Springs, CA

What do you find there?

Art Hickman an unemployed local San Francisco Irish Jazz musician had also been to Boyes Springs and to the baseball training camp looking for contacts. Dan Cassidy can elaborate on this story. The Boyes' Hot Springs' water was in a state of natural 135 degree natural JAZZ (teas, pron . Jass, Heat) Using the word as a Gaelic incantation to the gambling "gods of the odds."

Essays, References, Citations, Resources, Definitions

Find out what Scoop Gleeson meant - when he said: 'Its members have trained on ragtime and `jazz'.'

Irish American Vernacular English words used by Scoop Gleeson in the Sports pages to talk about baseball.

  1. Jasm & Gism as a Source for the Word "Jazz" - From the Work of Peter Tamony
  2. The Irish and Scots Gaelic Sanas of Fizz, Fizzle, and Sizzle and Teas. - Like a lexical star the Irish and Scots Gaelic fizz and fizzle are perpetually losing their Teas (pron. chass, jass, or jazz depending on your dialect) means heat, excitement, and high spirit.
  3. The Big "Butter an' Eggman" - The King of Teas (Jass, Heat)
  4. The Sacred Secret Tongue of the Saol Luim - (Slum, World of Poverty)
  5. Boogie Borrowing from Irish into English we used the words boogie and boogaloo to mean move fast or depart quickly with no reference to music. Also see Boogie Woogie Music. What Does Boogie Mean? 1941 Ball of Fire - Billy Wilder, Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyk. Slang is words that takes off his coat, spits on it's hands and gets to work!
  6. Irish American Vernacular English gave us Gambling Slang. Learn The Sanas (Irish Etymology) of Faro, Poker and the Secret Flash Words for the Brotherhood of American Gamblers and more Irish American Vernacular English Origin of Hoodoo and Juke Joint

TRACING when words first get "BORROWED" from the vernacular into the standard. IRISH LANGUAGE WORDS GET BORROWED

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary." ~James D. Nicoll 1990

No one can dispute that the Irish word 'teas' (pronounced jazz) means "heat, warmth", and the notion of borrowing from Irish into English happened every day since the Irish came to America. Language contact covered the entire United States and Caribbean. [see Boogie] Ireland, boasts family ties with 15 U.S. presidents. Four have direct ties to Northern Ireland. And there are 34.3 million people in the United States who claimed some Irish heritage in the last census.

TRACING happens in many ways including songs. A word can exist for numerous years even centuries before it gets into print.

[". . .Rhymes that have been rubbed clean and hard against the bone of life, whose stories are rooted in an eternity of time."][ ". . . Jingles, riddles, silly ballads, wistful lullabies, jiggy tunes and game songs"] belong to the children of America and reflect a composite character of the common people residing in the United States. ~ Lomax

Words that were spoken and spelled by non Irish speakers, (like Lomax) who had no training in Irish as a Second Language spelled out what they thought they heard pronounced, and didn't bother to write the Irish words correctly, and couldn't pronounce the Irish words in the first place. This is how you end up with so called "nonsense syllables" now termed "vocables."


The first wagon train
was led west by an Irish Scout

Paddy Works On The Railway Retranslated

At the hour of rising I return to work upon the railway...
Sla/n agus beannacht

Why Does the Cowboy Sing - Starts off with Ramblin Jack Elliott 58 minutes
The cowboy's job has always been dangerous, lonely, dusty, gory and low-paying. So why do cowboys make music, and why do they need to tell their story? Why the Cowboy Sings is a journey across the open West to explore this unique genre of folk art.

Archie Green Helped to collect the information also see The Moonshiner Drinking song by Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makum The Dubliners.

Down By The Glenside This song was written by Peadar Kearney, who also wrote the national anthem of Ireland. Brendan Behan, the Irish playwright, poet and singer was Kearney's nephew. The song was used in the film West of the Rio Grande (1944). Fenians were an Irish revolutionary organization, formed in New York in on March 17, 1858. Many Irish-American soldiers who fought on both sides in the American Civil War went home to Ireland to fight for Irish independence in 1916. (Reference: album: Brendan Behan Sings Irish Folk Songs & Ballads)

Whoopie Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Doggies

** Whoopie Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Doggies


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THE SECRET IRISH TRAVELLER Bain-Fhile (Woman-Poet) of "Whoopie Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Doggies" PDF explains the how the Irish language was borrowed and written down by english speakers to sound like something they could say. And the Doggy is not a dog but Irish for the poor misfortunate starving pathetic person who has only misery in their life.

In 1910 John Lomax concluded the first edition of his now canonical Cowboy Songs and Frontier Ballads, {introduction by President Theodore Roosevelt} with a song he called "the quintessential cowboy song, unlike others known to have been imported and adapted in the West," Whoopie Ti Yi Yo, Git Along Little Doggies collected from black cowboy informants. The enigmatic phonetic lyrics of this world-famous, foundational American cowboy song have puzzled scholars and American folklorists for a century. were collected from .

Band COWBOY SONG Whoopee-Ti- Yi- Yo (Oh my little darling txt)
John I.White, vocalRoy Smeck, guitar and harmonica. Recorded April , , in New York. Originally issued on Perfect .Many classic cowboy songs-such as “The Strawberry Roan”-are so recent that we can trace them to their authors and their first appearance in print in turn-of-the-century western newspapers and magazines.
“Whoopee-Ti-Yi-Yo” is an exception, a genuinely anonymous folk song that is first mentioned in Owen Wister's diary of written in central Texas. Alan Lomax in The Folk Songs of North America provides a provocative theory of the song's genesis. The dogie, an orphan calf weaned too soon and with belly swollen from a premature diet of grass, needed sometimes to be carried on the cattle drive, slung across the cowboy's saddle. Perhaps in the mind of some nineteenth-century cowboy, Lomax says, the dogie seemed like the child lulled by the cuckold of the old Irish song, “rocking the cradle and the child not his own,” and thus was created of ancient elements a new folk song. Beyond the tender “fathership” of the Irish song lies the archetype of Joseph of Galilee. Lomax concludes that the origin of the trail song may be the re-creative use of an old theme on the part of the northern cowboy who made the original dogie song- yet who can deny the kinship between the carpenter, Joseph, and the cowboy tenderly carrying the tired dogie across the pommel of his saddle?

Cowboys were also called BUCKAROOS.

Jesse Chisholm, for whom the Chisholm trail was named, was a Scots-Cherokee, His father was a Scots Gaelic speaker. Chisholm is also reputed to have spoken a number of Indian languages. Also see: Cowboy Poetry Explained by Hal Cannon.

Casey Jones Remembered
Hal Cannon of the Western Folklife Center tells the story of legendary train engineer Casey Jones. Many consider him a mythic figure, celebrated in verse and song. But Casey Jones was in fact, real; he died 100 years ago in 1900 when his train collided with a freight train near Vaughn, Mississippi.

A glance at the folk songs and ballads of The Wild Wild West.

Folksong & Storytelling makes Wyatt Earp a legendary figure of the Wild West.

Professor Daniel Cassidy Biography

Professor Daniel Cassidy Director of Irish Studies at New College, CA is a writer, film maker, and musician.

Cassidy has toured with his music all across North America, playing Carnegie Hall, The Tonight Show, and The Los Angeles Civic Auditorium, as well as dive bars and juke joints from Brooklyn to San Francisco. He has written for films and television and has worked with director Francis Ford Coppola and actor Danny Glover on feature film projects. He has also written and produced six films. His documentary Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs was nominated for an Emmy in 1997. Cassidy's prose and poetry have been published in The NY Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Atlantic Monthly, The NY Observer, Ireland's Hot Press magazine, and many other newspapers and scholarly journals in English and Irish.
50 Fantastics and 50 Personalities Filmed: 1964-66
The Stephen Koch filmography credits the cast as: Allen Ginsberg, Ed Sanders, Jim Rosenquist, Zachary Scott, Peter Orlovski, Daniel Cassidy, Harry Fainlight. (SG145) 50 Fantastics and 50 Personalities included Screen Test footage. Allen Ginsberg, Ed Sanders, Jim Rosenquist, Zachary Scott, Peter Orlovsky, Daniel Cassidy, Harry Fainlight, "and others". 16mm/BW/silent/16fps. (SG146) Note: The following films are listed in 1964 in the Victor Bockris filmography: The End of Dawn, Messy Lives, Apple, Pause, Lips.
His book The Secret Language of Poker & The Pizzazz of Jazz was published by New College Press 2005. Daniel Cassidy was born in Brooklyn, NY, and lives with his wife Clare in San Francisco.
Daniel writes: "My Fathers family spoke Donegal (Irish dialect), which pronounces teas like Jass, or chass, or t'ass). My father was born in Brooklyn on March 2, 1913. The next day, March 3, 1913, teas spelled teas makes an appearance in print! Jazz appears in print 25 times in the month of March 1913, 24 times in Scoop's articles, and once in his fellow sports reporter Francis Mannix's column."
About Professor Cassidy's father, Daniel Patrick Cassidy PDF


21st Century Linguistic Rights

The origin of Tory is an Irish word for thief/brigand #true

A people without a language of its own is only half a nation.

Peter Tamony
Peter Tamony 1902-1985

Western Historical Manuscript Collection
23 Ellis Library
University of Missouri
Columbia, Missouri
65201-5149 USA.
(573) 882-6028

St. Bidghids Fire copyright 2006 All rights reserved worldwide.

The Day of the GINIKER

(tine caor, lightening,
holy of flame)

Karen Ellis Guest Lecturer author and publisher brought St. Bridgit's Fire to the

Crossroads Conference 3/8/06 Honoring the work of Scholar Peter Tamony and Linguistic Rights.