Posted by ESC on March 28, 2003

In Reply to: At a boy posted by kitty on March 28, 2003

: : Any suggestion as to the origin of the idiom 'At a boy'?

: Actually, this should be "Atta boy", a slangy, mutated form of "that's the boy"
: Sort of like, "you da man" (or "you go, girl")

: Merriam-Webster has the following entry:
: ''attaboy - (probably alteration of ''that's the boy'') - used to express encouragement, approval, or admiration''.

To access previous discussion, search archives under "attaboy."

ATTABOY -- Military and police. "a commendation. 1975 Wambaugh 'Choirboys,' 288 'There's a lot of vice sergeants in this town that'd...write you an attaboy.'..." From Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.