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How the Irish Invented American Gambling Slang into Irish American Vernacular English.

The Sanas (Irish Etymology) of Faro, Poker and the Secret Flash Words for the Brotherhood of American Gamblers.


Jazz: Book

Notes from Page 4

1.Sanas, g., -ais, aise, m. & f. (orig. neut.), lit. Etymology; a gloss, a dictionary, glossary; Sanas Cormaic, the name of a celebrated glossary; Dia na Sanaise, Annunciation Day; special knowledge, occult knowledge, a secret, san fhios. Patrick S. Dineen Foclóir Gaeilge Béarla, Irish-English Dictionary,, Dublin, 1927, p.939-40.

2. H.L. Mencken, The American Language , NY, 1937, p. 160; Terence Patrick Dolan, compiler and editor, A Dictionary of Hiberno-English, Dublin, 1999, pp xx-xxi; Herbert Asbury, Sucker's Progress: An Informal History of Gambling, N.Y., 1938; p. 295; Dineen, Sách úr: Lit. A new well-fed person; a fresh self-satisfied fellow. Sách, m. (gs. & npl. sáigh, gpl. ~). Well-fed person. pred. adj. & adv. Full, sated, satisfied. Happy, comfortable, in easy circumstances. Úr, gsf,. úire, adj., fresh, new, recent, moist, tender, raw, noble. p. 1081; p. 1299)

3. T.J. English, Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster, N.Y. 2005, pp. 1-9; Kerby Miller. Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America, 1985, Oxford, N.Y., p. 315, 329.

4. T.J. English, p. 28; Sucker, pp. 419-428; Kevin Kenny, The American Irish: A History, NY, 2000, pp. 108-109; Lewis Yablonsky, George Raft, pp. 36-39)

5. T.J. English, pp. 43-69; Asbury, Sucker, p. 235.

6. T.J. English, pp. 13-19; Kenny, pp. 108-109; Sucker, pp. 114, 382-7, 427-434 )

7. T.J. English, pp. 73-83; Kenny, pp. 160, 210; Herbert Asbury, Chicago, Gem of The Prairie,, NY, 1940, Ch. V)

8. Leo Katcher, The Big Bankroll, NY, 1959, p. 73; Ronald H. Bayor, Timothy J. Meagher, The New York Irish, Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, Baltimore, p. 223, 227; T.J. English, pp. 105-109)

9. Richard J. Butler and Joseph Driscoll, Dock Walloper, The Story of Big Dick Butler, NY, pp. 189-190; George Yablonsky, George Raft, NY, 1974, pp. 34-40; Bayor and Meagher, p. 2; T.J. English, pp. 113-124)

10. Mary Ellen Glass, Lester Ben "Benny" Binion: Some Recollections of a Texas and Las Vegas Gaming Operator, Univ. Of Nevada, 1976; Ed Reid and Ovid Demaris, Green Felt Curtain, Ch. 10, NY, 1963.
11. Asbury, Sucker, pp. 3-19; Herbert Asbury, The French Quarter, Ch. VII, p. 197

12. John O'Connor, Wanderings of a Vagabond, An Autobiography, 1868, Making of America, pp. 60-66; Sucker's Progress, N.Y. 1936, pp. 3-19.
13.. Dineen, p. 452; Niall Ó Dónaill, Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla, p. 541. Fiar, crooked, Early Irish fiar, Welsh gwyre, Greek goar, gwar, *veiro-; root vei, wind as in féith, English wire, Anglo Saxon wir. MacBain's Gaelic Etymological Dictionary, Online version, p. 3, Sec. 18.

14.. Maurice N. Hennessey, The Wild Geese: Irish Soldiers in Exile, Conn., 1973, pp. 17-19, 49-50, .63, 177; Thomas O'Connor, ed., The Irish in Europe, 1585­1815.

15. Hennessey, p. 176; T.J. English, pp. 46-49; Asbury, French Quarter, pp. 23-24; Albert Phelps, Louisiana, NY, 1905, pp. 601..

16. T. J. English, pp. 47-55; Sucker, pp. 44-50; U. S. VIII Federal Census, 1860 ,Louisiana.)

17. Sucker, pp. 170; 235; T. J. English, pp. 47-55.

18. T.J. English, pp. 54-55; Asbury, French Quarter, pp. 205; quote, Asbury, Sucker, p. 6).
19. Albert H. Morehead, Official Rules of Gambling, pp. 285-85; John O'Connor, pp. 60-66; Asbury, Sucker, pp. 7-19)
20. Dineen, p. 1080; O'Donaill, p. 1129

21. Asbury, Sucker, pp. 7-9. O'Connor, p. 60).

22. Eugene O'Neill, Hughie, pp. 270-71.

23.. O'Donaill, pp. 195-195.

24. O'Donaill, p. 541; pp 618-619; Dineen, p. 452..

25. O'Connor, pp. 60-66; Sucker's Progress, p. 5, Ch. 1

26..David Brittland and Gazzo Phantoms of the Card Table,, NY, 2003, pp. 21-35; Clarke, p. 34.

27. MacBain's Gaelic Etymological Dictionary, Sec. 13, p. 2; John Strachan, Old Irish Paradigms & Selections from Old Irish Glosses, Dublin, 1949, p. 178..

28.. O'Connor, pp. 366-70.; Sucker's Progress, p.p.20, 189-91, 270-1, 372, 432.; Brittland, pp. 21-23.

29. OED, I. xv. p. 128. American Heritage Dictionary Online. No pg.

30. Dineen, p. 851. Sucker's Progress, pp. 20-23.

31.James McManus, Fifth Street, p. 159; Phantoms of the Card Table, pp. 21-8; Sucker's Progress, Ch. 11.
32. John Findlay, People of Chance. Oxford University Press. New York. 1986. 47-58, pp. 63-67, pp.100-101.)

33. O'Donovan, ed. Annals of The Four Masters, 1632, 1848, 1851; MacBain's Gaelic Etymological Dictionary, Sec. 29, p. 7, Online edition..

34.Mc Manus, pp. 155-160, 158-61; Sucker, pp. 25-38); úr is from the Old Irish húrde, the Welsh ir, meaning "fresh, green" and the Latin puros. MacBain, Sec. 42, p. 2.

35. Albert Morehead, Official Rules of Card Games, pp. 78-111; Asbury, Sucker', p. 28 .

36.Brittland, pp. 32-38.

37. Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology, p. 824; Partridge, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, NY, 1984, p. 914; MacBain, Sec. 28, p. 8). Ard, top. High. Early Irish árd, Gaulish ardvenna, Latin arduus. (Ibid, Sec. 2, p. 2) (27)

38. O'Neill, The Iceman Cometh, p. 702.

39. O'Neill. Hughie, p. 284.

40. Ramon Williams, Dictionary of American West, Univ. Of Oklahoma Press, p. 2; a Loo Loo, Sucker's Progress, Asbury, p. 32.

41. Sucker's Progress, pp. 20-1; Barnhart, brag, p. 122.

42. George Matsell, Vocabulum: The Rogue's Lexicon, NYC, 1859, p. 20;. Dineen, p. 119, O'Donaill, pp. 135-136; Dwelly, p. xxx; MacBain's Gaelic Etymological Dictionary, Sec. 5, p. 2.

43. Sucker's Progress, pp. 20-23.;. O'Donaill, p. 788-789.;. Oxford Dictionary English Etymology, p. 102; Barnhart, p. 102

44.Arthur and Barbara Gelb, O'Neill, pp. 20-25.; Eugene O'Neill Long Day's Journey Into Night,, p. 53.

45. James McManus, Positively Fifth Street, NY, 2004, p. 410; Patrick S. Dineen, Foclóir Gaeilge Béarla, Irish-English Dictionary,, Dublin, 1927, p. 903; Ó'Donail, Foclóir Gaeilge Béarla, p.1002, Dwelly, Faclair Gaidhlig Gu Beurla, Gaelic to English Dictionary, p. 762.

46. Fifth Street, p. 22, "Poker Terminology," pp. 404-412.; O'Donaill, p. 908.

47. McManus, p. 408; O'Donaill, p. 908.
48. O'Donaill, p. 1126; Dineen, p. 1076.

49. Dineen, pp. 280-1.

50. Dwelly, p. 721, O'Donaill, p. 951, Dineen, p. 841.

51. O'Donaill, p. 1199.

52. Dineen, p. 85, O'Donaill, p. 93.

53. Hughie, p. 293.

54. Donald Henderson Clarke, In the Reign of Rothstein, NY, 1929, p. 34; Canfield quote.


What Does Boogie Mean? The Linguist is taking notes.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!


Giniker - Irish American Vernacular English: The Sunday Times Ireland July 9th 2006
IT SOUNDS like a load of bunkum, or in this case buanchumadh, but according to an American academic the Irish language has been a huge influence on American slang.
Buanchumadh, meaning a long made-up story, is just one of hundreds of Irish words that have made their way into American conversation according to Daniel Cassidy, a lecturer in Irish studies at the New College of California in San Francisco. The 63-year-old has spent six years compiling an etymology of American slang words and has written a book claiming Gaelic was absorbed from the poorest Irish immigrants into American English. <snip>
“Asbury in fact based a lot of his research on a dictionary compiled by George Matsell, warden of the Tombs prison in New York, in 1859. About 65% of the inmates were Irish. He developed a dictionary called the Vocabulum, including a section on criminal slang. Many of the same words that are in Matsell's dictionary were merely phonetic English spellings of common Irish words,” he said.
From there, Cassidy has attempted to compile etymologies — histories of use and origin — of each word in newspapers, books and plays. Cassidy, who spoke no Irish until six years ago, said he gets speakers fluent in each of the language's three major dialects — Ulster, Munster and Connaught — to “vet” each word.
“Snazzy, for example, I believe is from the verb snas in Irish meaning to polish, gleam. The adjective is snasach. In Munster they pronounce that ch hard like snassak, but in Donegal it's soft, snassay.”
Cassidy cites other examples such as moolah, which he claims comes from moll oir, a pile of gold, or buckaroo from bocai rua, meaning wild playboys or bloody bucks.

Other words such as dude also emerged in the Five Points, said Cassidy. Dud in old Irish, appearing in the Irish-English dictionary by Father Patrick Dineen published in 1927, means “dolt, a numbskull, a rubbernecker; a mopish, shy, foolish-looking fellow”, he said. In the Five Points, says Cassidy, richer classes would come for the booze and the girls, and the working-class Irish used to look at them with their monocles and top hats and derogatorily called them “dud”.


Irish American Vernacular English

Jazz: from teas, meaning heat, warmth, passion, enthusiasm. The common adjective associated with jazz is “hot”. Cassidy attributes its emergence in New Orleans to Irish immmigrants.

Fluke: Fo-luach — fo a prefix meaning below, occasional, rare; luach value, result, reward. Together means a rare reward or payoff.

Sucker: sach ur — sach a well-fed person; ur new, fresh, tender. A fresh well-fed fellow, a new “fat cat”.

Cop: ceap — Irish noun means “a protector, a leader, a chief”; Irish verb ceap seize, stop, catch, put into custody.

Patter for Three-Card Monte - thanks to Whit Haydn School for Scoundrels

“Here you are, gentlemen, this Ace of Hearts is the winning card. Watch it closely.
“Follow it with your eye as I shuffle. Here it is, and now here, now here, and now—where?
“If you point it out the first time, you win; but if you miss, you lose.
“Here it is, you see; now watch it again. This Ace of Hearts, gentlemen, is the winning card.
“I take no bets from paupers, cripples or orphan children. The Ace of Hearts.
“It is my regular trade, gentlemen, to move my hands quicker than your eyes. I always have two chancesto your one. The Ace of Hearts.
“If your sight is quick enough, you beat me and I pay; if not, I beat you and take your money.
“The Ace of Hearts; who will go me twenty? It is very plain and simple, but you can't always tell. Here you are, gentlemen; the Ace, and the Ace. Who will go me twenty dollars?”
— Albert D. Richardson, Beyond the Mississippi, 1869.

“All right, folks, this is a playing game, not a watching game. Ten will get you twenty and twenty will get you forty. I don't get sore when I lose and I'm glad when you win.”
“Hi diddle diddle, the Queen is in the middle. When the money goes down, the lady can't be found!”
“Red you choose, black you lose!”
“You bet too fast—You'll never last.
You bet too slow—You got to go.”
—Frank Garcia, Don't Bet On It, 1978.

“Up today, down tomorrow;
Poor man's luck and rich man's sorrow…
Maybe you win, maybe you lose—
It all depends on what you choose.
If you pick the queen, then you win…
If you pick a black card—you play again…
Find the Lady! Find the Lady!
Cherchez la femme!”
—Black monte-tosser who worked Sportsman's Park and Race Track
on the outskirts of Chicago as related by Johnny Thompson, Jan 98.

“Chase the Ace, don't ride the Bee.
Only a little fool would ride a bee like that.
He's gonna get stung.
The Ace—that's where the hive is.
That's where the honey is, that's where the money is…”

“This is the sugar, this is the honey.
This is the one that gets you the money.
Sometimes it creeps, sometimes it crawls;
Sometimes it's not where you think at all…”
—Gary Norsigian, Las Vegas, 1999.

Hey, diddle, diddle, the Ace is in the middle
When the money goes down, the honey can't be found!
My hands are faster than your eyes.
Not one man in ten can follow the Ace.
I've got two chances to your one.
I only take one bet at a throw,
And that the highest wager…
Place your bet, I pay on the Ace;
Not on the Jokers.
Chase the ace—
It's a walk in the park
With a smile on your face.
No bet counts, no card is read—
Until there's money on the barrelhead.
We're playing a game called Chase the Ace,
You have to guess from the back what's on the face.
Once I mix the cards around,
You tell me where the Ace is found
Hey! Step this way!
Come here and play!
This is the game for the sporting fan,
Try your luck with the Monte Man! — Whit Haydn

Money comes and money goes;
You must adopt a sanguine pose…
You drop a buck; here comes a fin.
I don't cry when I lose;
I don't laugh when I win.
Place your bet, take a chance again.
I don't cry when I lose;
I don't laugh when I win.
You never gain if you don't start,
You've got the eyes but not the heart.

Easy come, easy go—
You get up in the dark,
You stub your toe…
when a woman loses:
It's another case of smart women, and bad choices… —Whit Haydn

I didn't start tossing the monte until I was ten,
I pretty much wasted the first nine years of my life.
—old magic line

When shill and sucker keep raising each other:
First day on the job and I hit the big time!
—monte player in the movie The Super, 1991.

Holding up a $100 bill:
Oh, filthy lucre! What crimes are committed in your name?
If you pick the Ace you walk away with this suitably engraved memento of the occasion.
—Clarke Gable, in the movie Honky Tonk, 1941

By the hoodoo, voodoo, hindoo
Ancient and noble art of prestidigitation…
—Riverboat gambler in Disney's Adventures of Davy Crockett, 1955.
Great line from the thimble-rig sequence at the Alamo.

Ladies and gentlemen, you will notice I have three cards crimped vertically so as to be indistinguishable. I mix the cards up. I mix you up. I don't get mad when I lose, I get happy when I win. You sweatin', or bettin'? I say you can't find the queen. You might think you can. And if you can, I suggest you do, and make yourself a little moola.
Black you win, red you lose, It all depends on the card you choose. Who sees it?
—Galperin, Jeffrey, What it Takes to Win at Three-Card Monte, Esquire Magazine, October, 1979.

A little game from Hanky Poo, the black for me the red for you - all you have to do is to keep your eyes on the little lady - ten gets you twenty, twenty gets you forty ... now here we go ... keep your eyes on the lady."
Dai 'The Professor' Vernon / Further Inner Secrets of Card Magic

"The nines are mine and the ace is the place.
Bet on the black, wipe the smile from my face."