Redwolf wrote:As far as I can discover, however, "smack" has solidly Germanic roots, so unless they're related back at the Proto-Indo-European level, it's probably just a coincidence.
A loan-word could have gone the other way, like fluit.
I've often wondered if there's a connection between cratur/craytur/craythur/creithur meaning booze, and the greek word 'kratur', which is literally the wide, flat bowl that wine was drunk from*, but is also by extension the wine itself and the act of drinking. This first time I heard the song The Humours of Whiskey (below) krater is what I thought I was hearing.
Irish monks and scholars have been classically learned since the dark ages, and in the period when English was being stuffed down their throats, Latin and Greek were attractive alternatives to english for irish scholars. You can't call someone uneducated if he can speak latin, greek, and irish, even if he can't (or refuses to) speak english to you
Borrowing an ancient greek word for partying might initially have been a way to demonstrate erudition, and then was eventually assimilated as a part of the language. Being literate in Latin was also a way for irish scholars to get access to a pan-european culture and to the church, again without having to go through english.
Anyway, that's been my theory. While googling a minute or so ago, I found this claim on wiktionary
From Irish, craythur, the origins of the word date back to large Iron Age bowls from which alcohol was served. It is cognate to the ancient Greek Κρατερ. [Κρατερ=krater]
Which accepts the link that was intriguing me, but has an alternate explanation of the actual connection. It also doesn't identify a source or any authority for the statement.
The Humours of Whiskey
Let your quacks and newspapers be cutting their capers
About curing the vapors the scratch and the gout
With their medical potions, their serums and their lotions
Upholding their notions, they're mighty put out.
Who can tell the true physic to all that's pathetic
And pitch to the divil, cramp, colic and spleen
You'll know it I think if you take a big drink
With your mouth to the brink of a jug of poteen
So stick to the cratur'
the best thing in nature
For sinking your sorrows and raising your joys
Oh what botheration, no dose in the nation
Can give consolation like poteen me boys.
*the greek understood fermenation, but hadn't worked out how to get rid of the sediment. A wide bowl made it easy to seperate out the solids.