Quick and dirty

Posted by ESC on November 24, 2000

In Reply to: Meaning of phrase Quick and Dirty posted by John on November 23, 2000

: What is the meaning of the phrase Quick and dirty?

: What is the origin of that saying?

Doing a task "quick and dirty" means the person doesn't have time for perfection. The end product may not be pretty but it's finished on schedule. I am fairly certain that this was first a sexual expression meaning a "quickie," no hearts and flowers and "I love you truly," just "wham bam, (thank ye ma'am)." If I may be so crude.

And while we're on the subject: "Quickie" was "...originally late 1920s Hollywood slang for a Grade B movie, a film comparatively cheap and quick to produce. By the 1930s the term was being used to mean a quick act of sexual intercourse." From the Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

"Wham bam (thank-ye-ma'am)," Mr. Hendrickson tells us, "...is an American courtship term that dates back to the 19th century" when people traveled over bad roads. When the passengers were being bounced around "...the gentleman could steal a kiss and usually express his gratitude with a 'Thank-ye-ma'am,' that expression becoming synonymous for a quick kiss or for any hole in the road that caused riders to bump up and down. It wasn't long before some wit took this innocent phrase to bed, or to the side of the road somewhere, and elaborated on it, for in 1895 we find recorded the related expression 'wham bam (thank-ye-ma'am) for quick coitus. As a matter of fact, the first recorded use of both expressions occurs in that year."