Posted by James Briggs on September 18, 2003
In Reply to: Jimmy the lock posted by Gary Martin on September 18, 2003
: : We were watching a crime thriller, when one of the clues was that the 'perp' 'jimmied the lock'. OK, I know what that means, but when I asked my partner how the term originated, he knowledgeably informed me that the 'perp' use a 'jimmy bar' to break in.
: : Fine. So I asked him what a 'jimmy bar' was and why it was so named - and he gave me that embarrassed, drop kick, oops - wish I'd never spoken look, and I realised he had no idea what the term meant or where it came from.
: : So does anyone know, either how the term 'jimmy the lock' originated, or what a 'jimmy bar' is?
: : Thanks for any answers.
: Over here in the UK it's jemmy rather than jimmy. A jemmy/jimmy is a short crowbar. That's just their name - don't know why, although I expect there was a real or imaginary bad guy called Jimmy involved.
My book of Etymology says 'Jemmy: burglar's crowbar. XIX. dim. name of James'
Thus, Gerry was right.