In good nick

Posted by ESC on July 21, 2003

In Reply to: In good nick posted by Christopher Wilson on July 21, 2003

: Can anyone give me the origin of this phrase? I know it means something like 'in good condition' but have never been able to to pin down it's original derivation.

Maybe someone else can sort this out. Here's what I found:

nick -- informal, shape. "...2. In the sense of 'physical condition.' Usually in the phrase 'in the nick,' sometimes 'in good nick,' meaning 'in the pink.'" From British English: A to Zed by Norman W. Schur (Harper Perennial, New York, 1987).

RE: in the pink. From the archives:
In the pink signifies a state of well being; good health. The pink here has nothing to do with colour, rather with the same source as pinking scissors. They are both based on the old English pynca meaning "point", hence "peak" or "apex". Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet (II, iv) speaks of "the pink of courtesy".