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Like nobody's business

Posted by Ted Scambos on June 29, 2011 at 07:30

What is the origin of 'like nobody's business'? Here is a theory: it comes from the Depression, especially near New York City or the northeastern corridor. As a student in the 1970s on Long Island, we used it when we meant 'really well', 'excellently'. "He knew the class notes like nobody's business." or "She could play the piano like nobody's business'. The theory is simple: in the Depression, 'nobody's business' was doing well. In a past post, it was noted that the earliest reference was in 1938.