Posted by ESC on March 28, 2003
In Reply to: Re: At a boy posted by kitty on March 28, 2003
: : Any suggestion as to the origin of the idiom 'At a boy'?
: Actually, this should be "Atta boy",
a slangy, mutated form of "that's the boy"
: Sort of like, "you da man" (or "you go, girl")
: Merriam-Webster has the following entry:
: ''attaboy - (probably alteration of ''that's the boy'') - used to express encouragement, approval, or admiration''.
To access previous discussion, search archives under "attaboy."
ATTABOY -- Military and police. "a commendation. 1975 Wambaugh 'Choirboys,' 288 'There's a lot of vice sergeants in this town that'd...write you an attaboy.'..." From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.