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Peachy Keen

Posted by ESC on October 07, 2000

In Reply to: Peachy Keen posted by Maddog on October 05, 2000

: Anyone know the origin of "Peachy Keen"? I always thought it meant swell or great (with conotations of wonderful). I also believe that it is used somewhat sarcasticly? "Well ain't that just Peachy Keen"

PEACHY KEEN - The "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997) has a long passage about the sexual connotations of the noble peach. "Peaches were the 'Percian apples' of the ancient Romans. Their name, 'Persicum,' became 'pessica' in Late Latin, 'peche' in French, and finally came into English as 'peach.' The fruit, luscious to look at, touch, and taste, has been described as a pretty young girl at least since the ancient Chinese used it as slang for a young bride." And so forth. "Listening to America" by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982) says: "A peach, something or someone wonderful, 1870 (a pretty girl has been called 'a peach' since the Civil War, from a peaches and cream complexion'). 'A peach of a'.1896; 'peachy,' fine, wonderful, around 1900; 'peacherine', also around 1900; 'peacherino,' 1905; peachy keen, humorous for 'peachy,'' 1955."