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Posted by Bruce Kahl on February 06, 2001

In Reply to: Smack-dab posted by ESC on February 06, 2001

: : Hello,

: : I'm doing research for a class, and we were assigned to find the origins of the phrase "smack-dab." If anyone has any information regarding the phrase, I'd love to be let in on it!
: : Thanks, kat

: SMACK-DAB - "adj. Exactly. 'She threw the mess down smack-dab in the middle of the parlor.'" From "Southern Stuff: Down-home Talk and Bodacious Lore from Deep in the Heart of Dixie" by Mildred Jordan Brooks (Avon Books, New York, 1992).

: Sometimes it is said this way: "right smack-dab."

Your phrase is adverbial--it answers the question "where".

It means squarely, directly or exactly as in what ESC posted--"She threw the mess down smack-dab in the middle of the parlor."

DAB is a chiefly British word meaning clever or skilled, as "a dab-hand at it", a person with a high degree of knowledge or skill in a particular field: ace, adept, authority, dab hand, expert, master, past master, professional, proficient, wizard. It is a corrupt contraction of the Latin adeptus (adept). "Dabster" is another form. Apt is a related word.

SMACK is a transitive verb meaning to strike sharply and with a loud noise.