Posted by Pamela on April 30, 2006
In Reply to: a real cracker jack posted by pamela on April 30, 2006
: : When someone says WOw he/she is a real cracker jack! What exactly does that mean.
: I was surprised to find that crackerjack is not Australian in origin. It's listed on a number of Australian slang sites as Aussie - but Baker's entry in the Australian Language has it as a US import. He says: "It matters not one whit that Australia should hear and absorb American slang ... but it is .. fundamental ... that children [should not] befoul every precept of grammar with slovenly distortions." Gosh. The Collins Australian Dictionary lists it meaning 1.excellent 2. A person or thing of exceptional quality or ability. They have the origin as C20 "From CRACK (first-class) + jack (man)". Real means genuine, but, if the person speaking was Australian, it would be more likely that "real" was being used as an intensifier i.e. the person is not just a crackerjack, but is very much a crackerjack. Pamela
For some reason I thought that the "wow" in your question might have implied sexual appreciation, so I did a search of Australian sites, and the most common use is referring to occasions rather than people (e.g. the upcoming game is sure to be a real crackerjack). I looked at some of the sites and didn't find it used to mean attractive. Also, "crackerjack" is commonly one word here, but sometimes written as two. As I said, its US in origin, so I'll leave the final word to the "befoulers" of our pure tongue. pamela