Posted by ESC on August 26, 2001
In Reply to: Johnny-on-the-spot posted by R. Berg on August 26, 2001
: : WHERE DID "JOHNNY ON THE SPOT" COME FROM?
: The Dictionary of American Slang says it's been around since about 1895 but gives no further explanation of its origin. The name John and its relatives (Jacques, Jack, Johnny . . . ) turn up in many phrases to mean an unspecified male, as in John Doe.
JOHNNIE -- "Johnnie meant fellow, chap in English by the 17th century and a man-about-town in the 1880s. 'Johnny-Come-Lately' was in use in America by the 1830s. 'Johnny-on-the-spot' by the 1890s and 'stage-door Johnny' by 1912.'" From "John and Mary:Common First Names," a chapter in "