Sanas of Dude (without diacriticals)
DanCas1 at AOL.COM
Sun Dec 12 19:56:07 UTC 2004
Sanas of The Dude (I have had to leave out all the Gaelic diacritical
"Dude, 1883. The word came into vogue in New York and is of unknown origin."
(Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology, p. 305)
Du/d (pron. dood) was born in Ireland and raised on the sidewalks of New
The Sidewalks of New York.
By James W. Blake and Charles E. Lawlor , 1893
East Side, West Side, all around the town
The tots sang "ring-a-rosie," "London Bridge is falling down"
Boys and girls together, me and Mamie O'Rourke
Tripped the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York
That's where Johnny Casey, little Jimmy Crowe,
Jakey Krause, the baker, who always had the dough,
Pretty Nellie Shannon with a dude as light as cork;
She first picked up the waltz step on the sidewalks of New York
In Patrick S. Dineen’s foundational Focloir Gaeilge Bearla, published in
Dublin in 1927 and O’Donaill’s Irish-English Dictionary, 1995, Dud (pron.
dood) and Duid solve the mystery of the dude.
Dud (du/d, pron,. dood) al. Duid, m., a mopish, shy, foolish-looking fellow.
A craned neck.
Dudaire (pron dooder), m., A dolt; a long-necked person; an eavesdropper.
Dudalai (pron doodalee), a self-conscious, person. A stupid person
Dudach, adj. long-necked, rubber-necked; mopish; shy; foolish-looking,
queer. Dudaireacht, (act of) neck-craning, eavesdropping. (Dineen, pp.
377-378 O’Donaill, pp. 459-460).
A Dude is a du/d (pron. dood) is "a dolt, a numbskull, an eavesdropper, an
ogling, long-necked voyeur;” a derisive moniker that the Irish hung on the
rubbernecking "du/d" and slumming "swell" (souil, comfortable and prosperous)
who came down to the dance halls and saloons of the wild Irish-speaking
slums (saol luim, world of poverty) of 19th and early 20th century New York.
Until the duid-editors of American dictionaries put a Focloir Poca (Irish
pocket dictionary) in their poca (pocket), the Irish and Scots-Gaelic
contribution to the American hybrid tongue will remain an "Anglophile mystery".
Even after the mystery has been solved.
“Dude, a swell, a fop (1883), originating in U.S. The etymology is a mystery.
” (Eric Partridge, Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, London,
1984, p. 349)
Dude can be an angry word, as well as one of fun and derision. Eugene O’
Neill gets the last word on dude in his early play, Abortion, written in 1914.
The brother of a Connecticut-Irish working class girl, who has died during an
abortion, confronts the Yale dude who had dumped her, after giving her money
to go to a quack doctor.
MURRAY: “I’ve always hated your kind. Yuh come here to school and yuh think
yuh c’n do as yuh please with us town people. Yuh treat us like servants, an
what are you, I’d like to know? A lot of lazy no-good dudes spongin’ on
your old men.” (Abortion, Eugene O'Neill, 1914, p. 217)
Dude is from the Irish and Scots-Gaelic word du/d or du/id, dude.
The Irish Studies Program
New College of California
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