July 24, 2009

cashier t.v.


Cashier, as a transitive verb, means to "dismiss from a position of command or authority, esp. with disgrace."* Late 16th C.

Shorter Oxford English Dictionary cites this example from W. S. Maugham:
He'd been kicked out of the Officer's Club at Warsaw and cashiered because he he'd been caught cheating at cards.
The word recently made an apt appearance in a Time magazine movie review of Joel and Ethan Coen's 2008 film, "Burn After Reading":
In the suburbs of Washington — the city of spies — lust, greed and chance trip up a cashiered CIA analysis (John Malkovich), his doctor wife (Tilda Swinton), a federal marshal (George Clooney), a lovelorn gym employee (Frances McDormand) and her oafish accomplice (Brad Pitt, in the sharpest, sweetest comic role of his career." ("The Coen Brothers' Post-Oscar Thriller," Movies, Sept. 8,2008.)
Synonyms for cashiered include dismiss, boot, bounce, can, discharge, drop, free, sack, eject, expel, oust.**

Common command verbs that do the authoritative work of cashiering a subordinate are scram, beat it, piss off (mainly British), f--- off, and my favorite, a nautical term from the early 17th century: Avast!

As a noun, cashier means something else entirely. It refers to a person, "one who has charge of cash or money, esp. one who superintends monetary transactions, as in a bank."**

The noun phrase
cashier's check designates "a check drawn by a bank upon its own funds and signed by its cashier."**

Since the noun and verb share the same spelling, one might wonder whether these
cashiers derive from the same source and thus share some sort of affinity? The answer is "No," as phrase etymologists William and Mary Morris explain in their usual clear, simple, personable style:
The two words are not the same, since they come from different routes into English. The first cashier — the one you'll see at your friendly local supermarket, where she's more likely to be called a "check-out clerk"— gets her name from the French cassier, meaning "money box." The second cashier — ("As the result of the court-martial, the colonel was cashiered from the service") comes from Old French casser, "to discharge or annul," and that came from the Latin quassare, "to shake or break into pieces. (115-116)***

The noun version of cashier is cashierment, as in "Mr. Trump makes all decisions concerning staff: recruitment, development, retirement, cashierment."


* Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Fifth Edition, 2002.
** The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000.
*** Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, New York: Harper & Row, 1977.