The Wild Sanas (etymology) of Buccaneer
DanCas1 at AOL.COM
Sun Dec 12 19:25:10 UTC 2004
The hundreds if thousands of exiled Irish soldiers, sailors, mercenaries,
and rebels of the 17th and 18th century Atlantic world called themselves the
"Wild Geese" and "Playboys of the Western world."
Boc aniar (sounds like buccaneer)
Playboy from the West. Fig. A playboy of the western world.
Boc, a buck, a playboy, a rake, a wild young man.
Aniar, from the west.
One of the great early 20th century classics of the theater is “The Playboy
of the Western World,” by the Irish playwright, John Millington Synge, who
lived among the Irish speakers of the west of Ireland, where he learned the
The current etymology of the Irish word phrase boc aniar spelled "buccaneer"
in English is a "lulu" (liú luath, a "wild howl," a "scream") ludicrously
echoed in every English dictionary of the western world. This world-class
"wingnut" word history, involving "perhaps Tupi," a native American language of
the Caribbean, as well as French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English has to be
read not to be believed. Occam's Gaelic Razor has clipped its wings.
“Buccanner, n. 1661, a French settler employed as a hunter of wild oxen on
the Spanish Coast of America, borrowed from the French boucanier one who dries
and smokes meats on a boucan, a barbecue, after the manner of the Indians
(sic), from an Indian (sic) word of the Caribbean area, (perhaps Tupi, mocaem,
transcribed as mukem in a Portuguese travel account, 1587); for suffix see
-eer. By 1690 the word was applied to French and then to British piratical
rovers who were driven from their business of hunting wild oxen by the Spanish
authorities and turned to plundering goods. In the 1800s it was extended to any
pirate or sea rover”. (Barnhart, p. 122).
A Boc aniar is a "playboy of the western world."
Related Irish and Scots-Gaelic compounds with Boc.
Boc áigh (pron buck aahoo)
A brave valiant buck. A dashing young playboy.
Boc: a he-goat, a buck, a wag, a playboy.
Ágh, áigh or ágha, (pron. aah-oo, final aspirated “gh” = “oo” or “ow”)
m., valor, success, triumph, good-luck. Scéal áigh, a great story. Craobh
an áigh, palm of the joust, a fair lady. (Dineen, p. 10).
This term "Bucko" is often used as a “put-down” in both Irish and
Irish-American dialect. Here Matt Burke, an Irish born sailor in Eugene O'Neill's
play, Anna Christy, uses it deprecatingly.
BURKE: “Is it giving me orders ye are, bucko? Let you look out, then!”
(Anna Christy, p. 39).
A perverse buck is a boc saobh (pron. boc seeh)
Boc saobh (pron boc seeh, "bh" aspirated to "h" or "w" ).
A crooked, perverse, twisted buck or playboy.
Chicago's Bugsy Moran of St. Valentine's fame was a true boc saobh. The NY
Boc saobh ("Bugsy") Siegel hated the moniker all of his life.
Wild, fierce playboys. Wild young rakes.
Rua, adj., wild, fierce, rough, strong. (O'Donaill, p. 1012)
There was a wild Irish American gang in the old Fourth and Seventh wards of
NYC that called themselves Buckaroos in the mid nineteenth century. (See
Asbury, Gangs of NY). Billy the Kid was a buckaroo that turned into a boc saobh
(a perverse playboy or buck). Biloly the Kid was born "McCarty or McCarthy" in
the 7th or 10th wards near the East River of NY, ca. 1859.
The Irish Studies Program
New College of California
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