Jim-dandy; Jim Dandy

Posted by ESC on September 16, 2001

In Reply to: A jim-dandy posted by Larry on September 15, 2001

: Am searching for the meaning and origin of "A Jim-Dandy". Any help greatly appreciated...and thanks.

JIM DANDY - "No particular Jim Dandy seems to be the eponym behind the century-old term 'Jim Dandy,' which is still heard for someone or something that is especially fine or admirable. 'The Dictionary of Americanisms' traces the term back to January 1887. Etymologist Gerald Cohen has cited a published sports usage of it some six months later in a New York Giants game, indicating a possible baseball origin. Certainly baseball helped popularize the phrase." From Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

".by the turn of the century, 'Joe Dandy' was a variant for 'Jim Dandy' referring to any remarkable or excellent person or thing," according to Listening to America: An Illustrated History of Words and Phrases from Our Lively and Splendid Past by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982). Other variants for "jim-dandy" were "jim hickey," "Jack-Dandy" and "Joe-Dandy," it says in the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 2, H-O by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.