Joe Biden says malarkey others say mullarkey what’s all this about?
Yes, the word does spring from an Irish source -- but a surprising one
There has been much hue and cry over where the world “malarkey” that Joe Biden used in the Vice Presidential debate came from.
It was the most searched word on Google for the past 24 hours and trended as hashtag on Twitter.
Some have claimed it was a Bostonian pronunciation of the Irish name “Malachy”, phonetically as in “malaki”
Biden said it was Irish but the Oxford Dictionary sniffed that it was of unknown origin.
According to the Oxford Book of Slang, it can be spelled Malarky, Malarkey or Mullarkey, just like the surnames.
But thanks to NPR we have established the Irish provenance of the name.
NPR reports "We can likely thank a cartoonist of Irish descent, Thomas Aloysius Dorgan ('TAD' for short), for popularizing the word. You might recall Dorgan's name from previous discussions of hot dog ... [he] helped to circulate some other words in the American lexicon, among them malarkey, hard-boiled, and kibitzer.
"When Dorgan began using the word, its spelling wasn't settled. In a cartoon of his that appeared on Mar. 9, 1922, the word Milarkey was used as a fictitious place name. Two years later, on April 2, 1924, he used the word Malachy, apparently with its nonsense meaning ('Malachy — You said it — I wouldn't trust a lawyer no further than I could throw a case of Scotch')."
Dorgan who signed himself off as “Tad” was an Irish American from San Francisco who was famous for his illustrations and sports cartoon in the late 19th century. He later moved to New York where he died in 1929.
According to Wikipedia, “Dorgan is generally credited with either creating or popularizing such words and expressions as "dumbbell" (a stupid person); "for crying out loud" (an exclamation of astonishment); "cat's meow" and "cat's pajamas" (as superlatives); "applesauce" (nonsense); "cheaters'" (eyeglasses); "skimmer" (a hat); "hard-boiled" (a tough person); "drugstore cowboy" (loafers or ladies' men); "nickel-nurser" (a miser); "as busy as a one-armed paperhanger" (overworked); and "Yes, we have no bananas," which was turned into a popular song.”
And obviously malarkey too.
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