Tuesday, January 10, 2012

That Langer is Baloobas!

The Irish have a long history of service in the British Army. For centuries, in a country full of strife and upheaval, it was the one job you could count on-you could always count on her Majesty's Few bob.... if you lived long enough to benefit from it. One famous regiment of the British Army were "The Munster Fusiliers." Under that moniker, they were active for forty years, from 1881 to 1922. They had many run-ins with many foes, from German Kaisers to Ottoman Kings. While stationed in India the Munster Fusiliers faced one of their most unusual enemies, that being: the Langur Monkey.  The Langurs were so unpopular with the Munster Fusiliers, that they were the inspiration for the most famous of Cork slang words - Langer.

Langer - A fool, a really drunk person, or a penis. The etymology of Langer derives from the time of the Munster Fusiliers. When they were stationed out in India the Fusiliers were probably pestered to distraction by langur monkeys; soon enough they began using Langer as a term of insult amongst each other - "feck off you langer,"  "yer some langer,"  and so on. The term quickly spread back home to Ireland and eventually became the quintessential Cork slang term it is today.

A Young Langur Monkey
The Irish State, since its formation in the early 1920's, has been a neutral state; the only active service Irish soldiers see is on peace keeping missions with the U.N.  One of the most infamous missions of the Irish Army was when they were stationed out in the Congo in the late 1950's/early 1960's. It was during an engagement there that another colorful Hiberno-English word took flower-Baloobas.

Baloobas - A fool or a really drunk person. For example - "Yer man was baloobas altogether" or "He's some balooba."
The Baloobas are an African tribe of the Congo.  On Nov 8th 1960, although the Baloobas fought with bow and arrow, they almost wiped out one whole Irish Platoon.

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