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From an Irish Dictionary...

Posted by Bruce Kahl on March 21, 2001

In Reply to: Re: Carnival slang posted by R. Berg on March 21, 2001

: : : : Where does the word 'moniker' come from? (As in 'put your moniker on this(signature))

: : : One entry found for moniker.
: : : Main Entry: mon·i·ker
: : : Variant(s): also mon·ick·er /'mä-ni-k&r/
: : : Function: noun
: : : Etymology: probably from Shelta (language of Irish itinerants) munnik, modification of Irish ainm
: : : Date: 1851

: : I'm Irish and I've never heard of this (though admittedly I'm not an itinerant). Is this an American expression?

: It looks like it. From H. L. Mencken, chapter "American Slang" in "The American Language," first published 1919:

: "The line separating the criminal argots from ordinary slang is hard to draw, and in certain areas the two are mixed. Consider, for example, the language of showfolks. . . . on the lower levels, as with traveling carnivals, it coalesces with that of hoboes, Gypsies and thieves. . . . there are many circus and carnival terms that are identical with criminal terms, e.g., . . . 'mouthpiece,' a lawyer; 'to lam,' to depart hastily; . . . 'moniker,' a person's name or nickname . . . and the various names for money, ranging from 'ace' for a $1 bill to 'grand' for $1,000."

Irish Gaelic to English Lexicon:

aimsir: weather
aingeal: angel
ainimh: blemish
ainm: name
ainmfhocal: noun
ainmhí: animal