Word of the Week (167): BUCKEEN (probability 27457), by David Sutton

A BUCKEEN is an Irish word for a poor man who acts as if wealthy. It makes an appearance in the beautiful Irish song, 'The Bantry Girl's Lament':

'And won't you thrash the buckeens that show us much disdain
Because our eyes are not so bright as those you'll meet in Spain'.

You may find it convenient to remember this along with its companion words ending in -EEN: SHONEEN, an Irishman who imitates the ways and manners of the English, JACKEEN, a person from Dublin, especially one with a parochial attitude, SLEEVEEN, a crafty, smooth-talking person, and SPALPEEN, a scamp, a good-for-nothing fellow.

Irish has plenty of other derogatory words, which on the whole have not made it across the water and so tend to be little known to outsiders. OMADHAUN is an Irish word for a fool, from the Irish amadan; and such a person might be said to be DAWNEY. A BOSTHOON is a boor. A BOWSEY or BOWSIE is a mean person. A LOUSER is a mean, nasty person. A SKANGER or SPIDE is derogatory for a young working-class person who wears casual sports clothes (no, I don't know what's so bad about wearing casual sports clothes). And an OANSHAGH is a foolish girl or woman, from Irish oinseach, pronounced something like onshach with the ch as in loch.


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