gurrier

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

Uncertain. Suggestions include:

The word “gurrier” is a misspelling of a word used in the West of Ireland, “gorier” for a hatching hen. The Irish word for “hatch”, as used in reference to hatching birds, is “gor”. The translation of, “the hen is hatching” is “tá and cearc ar gor”. The word is pronounced, “gorrier”, with the “o” sounding as the “o” in the irish word, gorm (blue) or poll (hole). In view of its derivation, this would be a more appropriate spelling. The “u” spelling is the result of the Dublin working class, known as a “Dub” accent, which has a tendency to pronounce the “o” as a “u” sound, for example, world is pronounced wurld, working is pronounced wurking, etc. A rapid “Dub” accent interruption for an explanation would often consist of, whah, whah whah, whah’s thah, whah’s thah, and would sound like the bock, bock, sound of a hatching hen when disturbed.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

gurrier (plural gurriers)

  1. (slang, Ireland, pejorative) spiv, rascal; lout, ruffian; street urchin
    • [1954] 1967: transcript of Patrick Kavanagh's libel action; reprinted in Collected pruse, MacGibbon & Kee, p.172:
      "At the beginning of our encounter I want a definition. What is a gurrier? —It is a euphemism for the word 'gutter'.
      At all events it is part of your verbal currency? —It is not. It is currency in Dublin."
    • 1966, Seamus De Burca, The Irish digest, Vol. 86, p.25:
      'The Garda sergeant wanted to know the distinction between a Gouger and a Gurrier. Mr. Howard, who was a true-blue Dubliner, supplied the answer: "A Gurrier is a little man cut short, a mickey dazzler. He cuts a dash among the girls and is always willing and able to strike a blow for a pal. But our Gurrier, unlike the Gouger, never gets into trouble with the police."'
    • 29 November, 1967, Committee on Finance. - Vote 6—Office of the Minister for Finance (Resumed)., Dáil Éireann - Vol.231,col.1076:
      Mr. Dillon: Oh, I am not referring to the Minister as a gurrier. I am only expressing amazement that a resident of Clontarf, who has graduated to Portmarnock, should use the language of the gurrier.
      Mr. Haughey: You are wrong on both counts and I do not resent the title “gurrier” at all.
    • [1970] 2001, Edna O'Brien, A Pagan Place, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN 0618126902, p.121:
      "She said the gentleman in question was nothing but a gurrier. She went into details over his garb and his accent. He wore a blazer with brass buttons and his trousers were gray flannel. He was the sporting type. His accent she said had to be heard to be believed, likewise his impertinence. She called him a pup. Then she said gurrier. Then she reverted to pup."
    • 1980, Padraic O'Farrell, How the Irish speak English, Mercier Press, p.22:
      "A 'gouger', 'gurrier', 'cowboy' or 'gink' is a bad type of fellow."
    • 1983, Benedict Kiely, Dublin, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0192141244, p.3:
      "People from other parts of Ireland refer to Dubliners as Jackeens or Gurriers. Jackeen in the city always meant a cunning, loudmouthed, ignorant youth: while Gurrier was a term of approbation. In the Thirties and Forties to be a Great Little Gurrier was to be a bosom friend, a fine fellow, a taproom companion: but today it has been debased and is the equivalent of a bowsey or a gouger."
    • 1994, Joseph O'Connor, The secret world of the Irish male, ISBN 1874597146, p.149:
      "The old man told me that James Joyce was nothing but a dirty little pup who had never done a decent day's work in his life, a dirty little gurrier who had run Ireland down for money"
    • 1998, Kevin Corrigan Kearns, Dublin voices: an oral folk history, p.201:
      "A gurrier means a fella that was rough and tough and would pick a fight quite easily and his language wasn't the best"
    • 31 January, 2002, Paul Bradford, Private Members' Business. - Crime Levels: Motion Resumed., Dáil Éireann - Vol.547,col.870:
      "Some weeks ago I was a victim of crime within 150 yards of the gates of Leinster House. I was approached or set upon by a little gurrier with a syringe."

Usage notesEdit

  • Originally and mainly restricted to Dublin

SynonymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

External linksEdit

Last modified on 19 February 2014, at 22:23