Sanas of Skinny

Daniel Cassidy DanCas1 at AOL.COM
Mon Dec 13 03:26:51 UTC 2004

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

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