phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Jammy

Posted by Gary on October 12, 2002

In Reply to: Re: Jammy posted by TheFallen on October 11, 2002

: : Does anyone know where the expression adjective "jammy" comes from. I'm not sure how widely it's used but means lucky - as a kid it was lengthened to "jammy dodger" which is a biscuit - any ideas?

: Jammy is by now a slightly quaint and archaic slang term that's exclusively British, I believe. It means as you rightly say "lucky" - usually used in a tone of some grudging jealousy and/or admiration. It seems to have stemmed from a British colloquial usage of the noun "jam", meaning something easy. pleasant or fortunate - "money for jam" is clearly a related expression, though again outmoded.

Jam (like honey) has been used to symbolise pleasure and good times in UK English. The promise of good things to come is "jam tomorrow". I would have thought that jammy developed from the "do you want jam on it?" expression. That's used when someone appears unsatisified with some good fortune but wants even more. To receive something, especially when it is the result of good luck rather than hard work, is to get jam on it, i.e. to be jammy.