Sanas of Dude (without diacriticals)

Daniel Cassidy 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.  
Daniel Cassidy
The Irish Studies Program
New College of California
San Francisco

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