Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Too Good to Be True, Acushla? 

So, I was reading a Sherlock Holmes book last night (The Valley of Fear) and I came across the following passage:
"For God's sake, Ettie, let it stand at that!" he cried. "Will you ruin your life and my own for the sake of this promise? Follow your heart, acushla!*"
Following the asterisk, I found this helpful footnote:
* Conan Doyle's mangled attempt to recreate an Irish endearment; what this word actually means is "O diarrhea"
I went online to see if I could find other uses of this word, and was surprised to see that actually, acushla defined as diarrhea seems to be limited to Sherlock Holmes scholarship, whereas there are thousands of cases of the word being used as an endearment. Is "O diarrhea" a good endearment? Did the scholars make a mistake? Who can solve this mystery (besides Sherlock Holmes)?

If anyone has a good answer, let me know, and I'll print it upside-down at the end of the blog.

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