Sanas of Skinny
DanCas1 at AOL.COM
Mon Dec 13 03:26:51 UTC 2004
"Myron “Bub” Marrs, a sergeant on the Jefferson County, Kentucky, police
force until he was suspended for providing me (the author, reporter Hank
Messick) with evidence of internal corruption had a colorful vocabulary. One word
he used often in those days (early 1970s) was “skinny.” By it he meant the
naked, sometimes ugly, truth, as contrasted with the combination of whitewash
and animal manure supplied to public about activities outside the law.
"For a long time I assumed the term was Bub’s creation, but one day in Las
vegas I heard it used again. (A) rather prominent individual announced he would
give me the “skinny” about casino skimming operations. When I asked where
he learned the word, he shrugged. It had just come naturally, as part of his
education – like learning to shoot craps and bribe cops.
"...It therefore seems appropriate to use it in introducing a book that
tells the hard, sometimes ugly truth – the skinny – about the private lives of
assorted killers, gamblers, prostitutes, and philanthropists...
"Much of this book (The Private Lives of Public Enemies, Hank Messick with
Joseph L. Nellis, NY, 1973, pp. 9-12, “The Skinny”)...comes from official
court records, wiretaps, files of federal, state, and local agencies, and
people, such as Jospeh L. Nellis, who for one reason or another have provided me
with their versions of the “skinny.”
Skinny, n phr Information; facts, the scoop, the “lowdown.” Probably from
skinny “naked bare” as in skinny dipping. Origin unknown, perhaps an
alteration of the naked truth. (American Slang, Robert Chapman, p. 402).
Scéith (pron. Skeeh, “th” = “h”), v. (Verbal nominative, Scéitheanna),
Spew, give away, divulge, betray, spread, disseminate, leak. (O’Donaill, p 1050)
Scéitheanna (pron skeehanny or skinny, “th” aspirates to “h”), Vn., (Act
of) divulging, betraying, giving away, revealing, leaking, making known (as a
Scéitheann meisce mí rún, drunkeness divulges ill-secrets. (Dineen, p. 968.
Rún a scéitheanna (pron. Roon a skinny) , Divulging secrets. (O'Donaill, p.
The “Skinny” on the American Language is that Irish is the Secret Tongue
(teanga rúnda) of America.
Teanga, tongue, language.
Rúnda, adj., mystical, mysterious, secret, confidential.
That's the real Scéitheanna; whether modern Anglo-American English cultural
nationalists like it - or not.
The Irish Studies Program
New College of California
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