One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounIrish English, Newfoundland
1Irish English and Newfoundland (informal and derogatory). A foolish, ignorant person, especially a female one; a dunce.
2Newfoundland. Any of a number of men, usually dressed in women's clothes, who participated in a mummers' parade at Christmas. Now historical.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in John Banim (1798–1842), novelist and playwright. From Irish óinseach foolish woman, clown from the first element of Irish óinmhid fool (Early Irish óinmit, of uncertain origin) + -seach, feminine suffix, now often used in derogatory expressions. Compare Scottish Gaelic òinseach.
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