One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An ancient secret language used by Irish and Welsh gypsies, based largely on altered Irish or Gaelic words.
- ‘Their 7,000-10,000 descendants still speak the secret Traveler language, a dialect alternately known as Shelta, Gammon, or Cant, which includes elements of Irish Gaelic, English, Greek, and Hebrew.’
- ‘Words from Romany (originally an Indian dialect), Shelta (the cant of the Irish tinkers), Yiddish, back slang, rhyming slang and other non-standard English are interspersed with words of Italian origin.’
- ‘American Travellers' Cant was originally also Shelta but is now largely Anglicized.’
Late 19th century: of unknown origin.
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