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Posted by ESC on October 29, 1999

In Reply to: Dixie land posted by Christy on October 29, 1999

: Does anyone know the origin and original meaning of the phrase Dixie Land?

From Whistlin' Dixie: A Dictionary of Southern Expressions by Robert Hendrickson (1993, Pocket Books): "Dixie, Dixieland - It sounds incredible, but the first Dixieland or Dixie may have been in New York City, not the South. Some etymologists lean to the following derivation of the word given by the 'Charleston Courier' of June 11, 1885: 'When slavery existed in New York, one Dixie owned a large tract of land on Manhattan Island, and a large number of slaves. The increase of the slaves and of the abolition sentiment caused an emigration of the slaves to more thorough and secure slave sections, and the Negroes who were thus sent off (many being born there) naturally looked back to their old houses, where they had lived in clover, with feelings of regret, as they could not imagine any place like Dixie's. Hence it became synonymous with an ideal location combining ease, comfort, and material happiness of every description.' Although no slave 'lived in clover,' the explanation seems somewhat less doubtful than other theories about Dixie - that it derives from the 18th century Mason-Dixon line or that the word comes from the French Creole word 'dix' which was prominently printed on the back of $10 notes issued by New Orleans before the Civil War."

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