Posted by James Briggs on December 24, 2002
In Reply to: You don't know jack . . . posted by Elkins on December 23, 2002
: Does anyone know where the phrase "you don't know jack" or you don't know jack shit" originated. I know what the phrase "means" -- I just wanted to know where it came from.
: And, please, please, don't send the joke about Jack Schidt and his family Dip Schidt, etc.
'Jack' is a catch-all English name for almost anyone - Jack of all trades, Jack Tar etc. It comes from the French 'Jaques' a traditional name for a peasant centuries ago. It spead to things other than people, as your examples illustrate.