Posted by ESC on February 06, 2000
In Reply to: Re: Jump Street posted by ESC on January 30, 2000
: : I've heard the phrase "Right from Jump Street". I take it
to mean 'Right from the beginning'
: : Does anybody know its origin?
: The first person I heard use the expression was African-American. It's similar to "from the word 'go,'" meaning from the beginning of the race. My guess is that it was a reference to the beginning of a board game. That's the image I get when I hear the phrase. Here's what it says in "Black Talk: Words and Phrases from the Hood to the Amen Corner" by Geneva Smitherman (Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, N.Y., 1994): "jumpstreet -- the start; the beginning point of something. Also 'Giddyup! Giddayup,' 'Git-Go,' 'Jump,' 'Rip.' See also from 'jumpstreet.'"
PS I was browsing through "Whistlin' Dixie: A Dictionary of Southern Expressions" by Robert Hendrickson and found this: "from the jump -- From the very beginning. "I'll give you a history of Henry Clay, from the first jump of him." (Maysville (Kentucky) Eagle, July 12, 1831).