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Jim-dandy; Jim Dandy

Posted by Masakim on September 16, 2001

In Reply to: Jim-dandy; Jim Dandy posted by ESC on September 16, 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.

Jim Dandy An admirable person, thing, or feat; a prime example; something of superior quality. 1st Use. 1887. The term, which the Oxford English Dictionary_ traces in a nonbaseball context to 1887, shows up quickly in baseball writing. In fact, Gerald Cohen has written that his work on the baseball columns of _The World_ (New York) "provides the startling indication that 'jim-dandy' either arose in baseball speech or was spread into standard English by it." His earliest published example from _The World_ (June 19, 1887): "The Giants gave the local patrons of the game a couple of surprises during the past week, and whereas on Wednesday night they were proclaimed 'Jim Dandy' players, they were on Thursday declared to be 'no good.'"
From _The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary_ by Paul Dickson.

1887 _Courier-Journal_ (Louisville, Kentucky) 12 Jan.: Dear Sir: Though a stranger to you (yet a Democrat), let me say you are a "Jim Dandy".
1888 _Inter-Ocean_ (Chicago) 14 Feb: George C. Ball came upon the floor yesterday arrayed in a jim-dandy suit of clothes.
1891 _0uting_ July: He's a dandy second-base, a Jim dandy.
1894 S. Crane, _The Red Badge of Courage_: Well, he was reg'lar jim-dandy fer nerve, wasn't he?
1902 O. Wister, Virginian: He must have been a jim-dandy of a boy.
1919 H. L. Wilson, _Ma Pettengill_: I bet you made a jim-dandy good report.

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