From Helen Brown’s latest Telegraph diary entry:
A new guide to English published this month by Oxford University Press reveals that writers’ names are edging their way into the vernacular in the most unexpected ways. According to The Language Report, by Susie Dent, “Seamus Heaney” is now rhyming slang for “bikini”.
(Via Maud Newton.)
Now, it occurs to me that rhyming slang usually drops the actual rhyming word, leaving the connection mysterious to the uninitiated: thus china plate = ‘mate’ was quickly reduced to china. If this happens here, the word for ‘bikini’ will be seamus, pronounced exactly like shamus ‘private eye,’ leading to yet more trans-Atlantic misunderstanding and adding to the lexicon available to hard-boiled mystery writers: “The shamus was leering at the seamus on the sheila selling sea-shells by the seashore…”