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Posted by ESC on August 18, 2000

In Reply to: Whistlin' Dixie posted by Tom on August 17, 2000

: : : does any one know what " just ain't whistling dixie" means?

: : YOU AIN'T JUST WHISTLIN' DIXIE -- "You're not just talking or making small talk, you're saying something important, worthwhile. 'Dixie' refers to the popular song." From "Whistlin' Dixie: A Dictionary of Southern Expressions" by Robert Hendrickson (Pocket Books, New York, 1993).

: and Dixie(s) refers to Southerners who, before there was a national currency, often carried around $10 dollar notes from the souths strongest bank, bank of New Orleans' Dix (French) note.

And there's a couple of other theories:
DIXIELAND -- From "Whistlin' Dixie: A Dictionary of Southern Expressions" by Robert Hendrickson (1993, Pocket Books): "Dixie, Dixieland - It sounds incredible, but the first Dixieland or Dixie may have been in New York City, not the South. Some etymologists lean to the following derivation of the word given by the 'Charleston Courier' of June 11, 1885: 'When slavery existed in New York, one Dixie owned a large tract of land on Manhattan Island, and a large number of slaves. The increase of the slaves and of the abolition sentiment caused an emigration of the slaves to more thorough and secure slave sections, and the Negroes who were thus sent off (many being born there) naturally looked back to their old houses, where they had lived in clover, with feelings of regret, as they could not imagine any place like Dixie's. Hence it became synonymous with an ideal location combining ease, comfort, and material happiness of every description.' Although no slave 'lived in clover,' the explanation seems somewhat less doubtful than other theories about Dixie - that it derives from the 18th century Mason-Dixon line or that the word comes from the French Creole word 'dix' which was prominently printed on the back of $10 notes issued by New Orleans before the Civil War."